I may be a bit obsessed with books and reading. So when I dove in to the Words Between Us by Erin Bartels, I was hooked. This story takes place in the current time, but about half of it goes back to the youthful days of the two main characters. Robin and Peter had an intense but short-lived friendship in high school. During that time they exchanged books and poems with each other. Their love of books grows with their friendship. However both teens have hurt and loss in their past leading to rash decisions on both their parts.
Twenty years later we find Robin managing a used book store in the same town that she attended high school, however the store is struggling to stay open. That is when the books start arriving by mail from Peter. Same books, same poems written by Robin in the cover. However, Robin is not ready to deal with Peter and her past any more than she is ready to deal with her present.
I really enjoyed this story. This is the second novel by Erin Bartels, the first We Hope for Better Things was reviewed HERE. Erin really gets to the heart of her characters and writes in a way that you connect and adore them immediately. Both Peter and Robin have seen their share of struggle, but despite what they face they really desire to do the right thing and be their best.
I loved the way Erin Bartels took us back and forth between today and the past, their high school years, to really grasp a deeper level of the story and its characters. I thoroughly loved her connection to many wonderful young adult books and their value to both Robin and Peter. This story makes you want to dig each of those books out and dust them off to read again!
I really enjoyed The Words Between Us, and I am certain that Erin has a long career as a writer in front of her!
NOTE : I received a copy of The Words Between Us in exchange for an honest review.
More about the book:
Robin Windsor has spent most of her life under an assumed name, running from her family’s ignominious past. She thought she’d finally found sanctuary in her rather unremarkable used bookstore just up the street from the marina in River City, Michigan. But the store is struggling and the past is hot on her heels.
When she receives an eerily familiar book in the mail on the morning of her father’s scheduled execution, Robin is thrown back to the long-lost summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. That book—a first edition Catcher in the Rye—is soon followed by the other books she shared with Peter nearly twenty years ago, with one arriving in the mail each day. But why would Peter be making contact after all these years? And why does she have a sinking feeling that she’s about to be exposed all over again?
With evocative prose that recalls the classic novels we love, Erin Bartels pens a story that shows that words—the ones we say, the ones we read, and the ones we write—have more power than we imagine.