“You’re the gift that came from two broken people. They were weak, and hurt, and cowardly, and somehow managed to make this miracle girl who is so full of piss and vinegar that she survived it all.”-The People We Keep by Allison Larkin
Every once in awhile, you come across a book that opens up your heart and embraces every emotion you are capable of. The People We Keep by Allison Larkin absolutely destroyed me emotionally in the best possible way, and I will never let go of this book. Never forget the way it made me feel while I read it. The title, in itself, is stunning. It’s a reminder that the people we meet in life, the ones we love, the ones we keep in our hearts, stay with us no matter what. Even if you lose those people, even if you run away from them, they’re always going to be with you. I honestly don’t know if I can encompass how vulnerable and heartbroken this book will make you. How full of hope. It’s a reminder to hold the people you love close to your chest, and it is a beacon. A light that shows that sometimes even when we can’t love ourselves, there are people in the world who love us. No matter what.
April is sixteen years old. She lives in a motorhome with her father, but in reality, her father doesn’t really live there. He shows up from time to time. Her mother left, abandoning her and her father. April longs for the day her mother will step back through the door, but it doesn’t come. Her father has moved on. He has a new girlfriend, Irene, and she has a son, who April refers to as ‘the boy.’ April wants nothing to do with Irene or her son. Nothing to do with her father’s new family.
The single thing that brings April joy is strumming on her father’s guitar and singing. She’s talented and loves it. She sometimes works at a local diner, Margo’s Diner. The owner, Margo, once dated her father. And while Margo left him, she never left April. She loves April with her whole heart.
One night, April and her father get into a huge fight, and April does what she’s always wanted to do. She runs. She leaves Margo behind and steals Irene’s car, driving to Ithaca, NY. With barely any money in her pocket, and no place to stay, she gets a job at a local coffee shop. She meets Carly and Adam, two locals who take her under their wing and give her a sense of safety.
But the truth of who she is and what she left behind haunts her.
I don’t want to get too deep into the plot because this book is something that should be treasured. I’ve never read a book with so many gut-wrenching lines.
“I say that it’s amazing how much you can miss people you only got to be with for one tiny perfect bit of time; how a place where you barely got to live can be the closest thing you’ve ever had to home.”-The People We Keep by Allison Larkin
I think this book might be my favorite read of the year. I also might be the kind of person who says that a lot. This book made me so anxious and sad at times. April struggled. Her life isn’t easy, and every decision she makes is in the hopes that she can one day have a better life, surrounded by people she loves and who love her for who she is. April is so young, so vulnerable and so unsure about what will happen next.
But she is so strong. She is so capable, and she fights. She is one of my favorite characters, ever. I loved her so much. Her journey really tore me apart and put me back together again, on repeat. This book is definitely a coming of age story. It’s about finding who you are in a world you feel like you don’t fit. It’s about finding the light when the roads are lined with darkness. And it’s about finding the people who love you when you feel like they can’t possibly exist.
This is a book I really needed, and it’s a book I really want to share with everyone I know.
“Some things get written into your body and your mind can’t reason them away.”-The People We Keep by Allison Larkin
This book has been written into my body, my heart, my soul. This book is everything.
I’m incredibly hooked and wanting to read this book now but at the same time I’m afraid! It sounds amazing and heartbreaking but gosh such a beautiful review of this story. You won me over! I will request this and curse you when I’m crying over it!
Heh 😅 you will curse me over it. But you’ll thank me too.