"Two sisters. One Secret."
We Are the Golden's is the story about the relationship between two sisters, 17-year old Layla and 15-year old Nell. Nell tells the story as though she is speaking plainly, and directly to the sister she loves, and protects because she truly feels that their lives are forever intertwined. What happens to one, affects the other. After learning that Layla has gotten herself into an inappropriate situation that can only lead to problems, Nell finds that protecting Layla may not be the easiest answer.
"I am your sister, I'm here to help, we're close, our lives are intertwined, you can trust me."
I have to say I really appreciated Reinhardt's determination not to make the main male character who is best friends with Nell, gay in order to appease the politically correct who continue to cry out for more diversity in books. Felix de la Cruz is an awesome secondary character without the need to make him anything more than he already is. He has parents who adore each other, and Nell, and I wish that I had a friend like him when I was growing up and struggling with friendships and school. Felix and Nell have a fundamental relationship that really doesn't cross into kinkiness or being disturbing. It is sweet, it is adorable, and if this weren't a standalone story, I would expect that Felix and Nell would definitely become a whole lot closer over time.
An an older reader/reviewer/blogger, there are times that I just want to scream out in frustration at today's generation of authors, and the characters they write about, and the fact that sometimes, they use uncomfortable situations to tell a story. I get frustrated when the story hits close to reality, and it makes me cringe to know that young girls, teenagers really, continue to allow themselves to be put into situations where the outcome can only lead to pain & suffering, and years of psychological care because they TRUSTED the wrong people. I get frustrated by a society who should know more about what is happening in their own schools but don't. I also understand that some authors are using hard subjects so that it can be discussed, and not buried between the classified sections of the newspapers.
As an older sister myself, I really didn't get into any trouble in H.S. until a girl slapped me across the face for no reason whatsoever, and I retaliated without caring about being suspended or not. I can't say that I've experienced anything that Layla goes through, nor would I get on Nell's case for trying hard to protect her older sister from her own actions. I tried to protect my younger sister (3 years difference) from disgusting boys, drugs, and alcohol abuse, but she has always been a free spirit who didn't really care what I thought about her actions. I was even ostracized and blamed for all of her problems after I left home at Eighteen to enter the Navy. To this day, our relationship is somewhat tenuous, but I know that she loves me and would help me if I ever needed her.
As I stated above, We Are the Golden's is a standalone novel that I finished over the course of 4 hours. You probably guessed that there is plenty of foreboding to this story since Nell is working up her courage to help Layla, but still has to deal with her own H.S. problems with boys, and playing sports, and having a best friend who never seems to let you down, and parents who while being protective, are also from an age where things were done differently.
The ending is one that I don't much care for. I don't like interpretative endings that you have to sit there and imagine what happens next. It is like watching a TV show that ends on a cliffhanger with your favorite character hanging in the balance between life and death, and then finding out the next day that your show has been CANCELLED due to low ratings, or something silly. No. If you write 200 pages, you can write another 50 pages and let the readers know what happens next to Layla, and Felix's father, and whether or not Nell is forgiven for trying to help.
Author - Dana Reinhardt
Title - We Are The Goldens
Publisher - Wendy Lamb Books via Random House
Released: May 27, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Coming of Age
Format: E-Book 208 pages