As always, here is the disclaimer, telling you that this review and ramblings post will be filled with spoilers, feels, points of view and things you may not agree with. Here is your trigger warning also, this book and review contains triggers for parental abuse, religious abuse, foster homes, sexual abuse and divorce. So please look away if any of those things are going to make you feel anxious or unsafe.
My spoiler free review can be found on GoodReads HERE
More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
Published March 6th 2018 by Bloomsbury Children’s
I have been a fan of Brigid Kemmerer since I read the Spark series, her writing style is right up my alley and I love how she works in controversial subjects with grace and ease, yet lets them be as weighted and raw as they need to be. I am desperately hoping that this book is no exception to her incredible writing style.
I only learned after I started this book that it was a sequel to Letters to The Lost, so hopefully it can be read as a standalone and I don’t miss too much back story.
This book is so deep and emotionally loaded, but it is also incredibly raw and real. I thought maybe it would feel forced, like Rev and Emma’s stories were being thrust in our faces, then their romance would bloom and it would end up being something light and fluffy. Boy was I wrong.
I love Rev as a character. He is raw, and is filled with confusion and longing for some sense of normalcy. But he is also incredibly caring. The introduction of a foster brother doesn’t give him dis ease, it makes him want to help. Even though he has suffered so much growing up, and has made a family for himself, he wants Matthew to relax at his home, to feel safe and to feel accepted. I think that speaks volumes about Rev.
I also like Revs’ past. Now don’t take this the wrong way, I don’t like that he suffered abuse at the hands of his father. But I do like how Kemmerer has made his fathers abuse, not just a drunk who beats up his kid, she has made him completely religious and so firm and totally wrapped up in his beliefs, that he sees his words and the gospels themselves. I like this because it adds depth to Rev, it allows us to see into his character more and see how he can be so confused when it comes to his father and working out what is right and wrong.
Emma’s character however feels a little more cliché, although her issues are not light by any standards. She is facing a career in a male dominated field and is already copping abuse and threats on the daily. Her family is splitting up and she is drifting away from her best friend. Emma’s problems may seem to pale in comparison to Rev’s, but hers are the problems that we are more likely to hear about in our day-to-day lives.
Their controversial comparisons are what makes this book so emotionally charged. There is something for everyone to relate to within this book. It is well written and easy to read, the pacing is just right, allowing the reader to process the horrors of Rev’s child hood, but then speeding up for the scenes at school. This book has been so carefully written.
I am loving Emma and Rev’s relationship, in that it is purely innocent. Yes, each of them are telling the audience that they are feeling sparks, but neither of them are acting on it yet. They are learning to trust each other, learning what they need from each other. Taking the comfort that the other is giving. They are such a good fit, Emma pushes Rev to speak out about his problems, to face them head on. Rev makes Emma see that she doesn’t need to feel alone, that she has people in her corner that she can trust.
No Ethan! You will not ride on in here on your white horse! I’m not having it! This book is already so loaded, we don’t need a love triangle too! And yes, Ethan seems like a good guy, but he is no Rev!
Oh no, it’s happened, their individual baggage is causing them to implode. We see Emma so desperately wanting Rev’s support, his comfort, but she just pushes and pushes until he can’t stand it. He is such a kind and compassionate soul, watching the happiness leave him is painful to read.
Rev’s adopted family are so amazingly supportive and perfect. They are the family that everyone dreams of. They are exactly what he needs. Geoff gives Rev just the right amount of freedom but knows when he needs him to push back. He knows Rev so well that he knows what he needs, before Rev admits it.
Declan. This guy is my hero. What a strong and caring guy. He is there for Rev at all hours of the day, takes care of him, comforts him and never asks for anything other than friendship in return, he is gentle and kind and everything Rev needs. Even when Rev is protecting Matthew, gets worked up and accidentally punches Dec and gets suspended. Declan doesn’t get pissed off, he gets worried and goes to see Rev to make sure that he is okay. Rev has so much support in his life, so much good. I am a little bit jealous!
Holy shit, poor Matthew, this book is ruining me, I am literally a sobbing mess. These kids have to deal with so much, and they are just kids. Learning who they are and what they want to do with their lives, while dealing with the physical and mental trauma of their childhoods. What a horrible thing to experience. Those of us who are lucky enough to have grown up in safe and loving homes take it for granted that’s for sure.
Aww the little cuties, Rev and Emma finally fixed their implosion and made up. Literally. Rev says it himself, Emma makes him want to be brave. She gives him the courage he needs to face his reality. Their kiss scene wasn’t awkward, nor did it feel forced. It felt natural and so innocent. Emma goading herself for her suggestive language, Rev not wanting to hurt her with his jui jitsu. Too cute!
Woah, Rev is really doing it. Going to see his dad. I can’t help but feel some foreboding about it, like his dad is going to get inside his head and Rev will end up hurt or being kidnapped or something equally as horrible. But then I think of the man he is now and maybe he will have the strength to stand up to him, to tell him who he is and just what kind of a man his dad truly is…
No, no, no ,no. I have a terrible feeling about Ethan… I am totally with Rev on this one. Emma doesn’t even know who he is! Why is she telling him where she is and to come and get him! I know her world is falling down around her, but come on girly, be safe! Stressing to the max!
Oh I usually like to be right, but not in this instance. Oh Emma what have you done! We are constantly warned about people we meet through the internet and here you are completely forgetting all of the things! He is a crazy psycho! He went from all round good guy to absolute psychopath in 3 lines! Come on Rev, you’ve gotta find her!
And of course he found her and of course he was incredible and dreamy and so heroic! But as always Rev put Emma first, he was doing something for himself, ending his long and traumatic relationship with his father. But when he knew Emma was in danger, everything changed. He needed her to be safe, she has become his safe place. The person he values more than himself.
I love the growth of Matthew, we see him change from a vulnerable walking foster kid cliché, into a wonderful, honest young man who just wants a family. His own people to care for. He and Rev have such a special relationship, based on mutual experiences and being able to relate to each others pasts.
This book, although as I mentioned above, is a sequel to Letters to the Lost, it is completely fine as a standalone. If anthing it has made me want to read LTTL more. This book is about Rev, and LTTL is about Declan, so naturally I want to know more about the boy next door!
This book was an emotional rollercoaster, It had me laughing, crying (well, sobbing) and in states of shock. It covers everything and you will feel everything. Incredibly well written, engaging and moving. This book is confronting, so please be aware of that, but it is definitely one of my favourite reads for 2018.
Have you read this beauty?
As always, thanks for reading!