When We Were Bright and Beautiful

When We Were Bright and Beautiful

Thank you, Harper Books, for the gifted copy of this book. {partner}

Genre: Fiction
Format: ๐ŸŽง
Pub Date: 8.2.2022
Star Rating: โ˜†โ˜†โ˜†.5


“Cassie Quinn may only be twenty-three, but she knows a few things. One: money can’t buy happiness, but it’s certainly better to have it. Two: family matters most. Three: her younger brother Billy is not a rapist.

When Billy, a junior at Princeton, is arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Cassie races home to Manhattan to join forces with her big brother Nate and their parents, Lawrence and Eleanor. The Quinns scramble to hire the best legal minds money can buy, but Billy fits the all-too-familiar sex-offender profile–white, athletic, and privileged–that makes headlines and sways juries.

Meanwhile, Cassie struggles to understand why Billy’s ex Diana would go this far, even if the breakup was painful. And she knows how the end of first love can destroy someone: Her own years-long affair with a powerful, charismatic man left her shattered, and she’s only recently regained her footing.

As reporters converge outside their Upper East Side landmark building, the Quinns gird themselves for a media-saturated trial, and Cassie vows she’ll do whatever it takes to save Billy. But what if that means exposing her own darkest secrets to the world?”

My Thoughts:

“Secrets never die; they’re self-sustaining organisms.”

In complete honesty, I’m still not sure how I feel about this book. Did I read it in one day? Yes. Why? Because I had to know what I was reading and where the story would go. Did I enjoy it? Yes..No. I really don’t know. I do know that I think it falls somewhere between a 3.5-4 star and, in my opinion, here is why ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ

I loathed these characters – they were entitled, overbearing, spoiled, and overwhelmingly obnoxious. They did nothing to change my opinion of the 1% of American society, nor did I feel sympathy for them.

I struggled on several occasions with knowing where I was in the story โ€” was this a past memory? Or was it something currently happening? This caused me to reread paragraphs or, in some cases, an entire chapter as I was hoping for more clarification on what I had read.

Now, for the part causing wishy-washy feelings on When We Were Bright and Beautiful. At the halfway mark, I had settled on knowing precisely the direction of the story and felt comfortable in my prediction. But then the screen was lifted, and the author revealed what was happening behind the scenes, and I felt such a mixture of emotions – shock, confusion, disgust.. just to name a few. I realized that the author had hinted at this reveal early on, but I hadn’t picked up on it, making me jump from a 3-star to a 4-star. But, I’m still torn on my final thoughts (why I settled for 3.5).

๐Ÿ˜’ Highly unlikeable characters
โ‰๏ธ Confusion between past & present
๐Ÿค‘ Lifestyles of the rich & powerful
๐Ÿคฏ Shocking twist
๐Ÿ˜ตโ€๐Ÿ’ซ Difficult to process

I usually try to lay out triggers for a book, but I think if I list them all, it will give away the book’s twist. However, I will say (and it doesn’t give anything away) that this story does deal heavily with rape. If you want to know the other triggers, please feel free to message me so we can discuss them.

As always, please do not let my feelings on this book dissuade you from picking it up to read. My feelings on this book are only my feelings and there will probably be a lot of people who end up liking When We Were Bright and Beautiful (and you may be one of them).

Format: 336 pages, Hardback
Published: August 2022 by Harper Books
ISBN 9780063142022 (ISBN10: 0063142023)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Harper Books , in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

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