If you’re in the mood for a few nostalgic moments from high school and an emotionally charged roller coaster, then this book is right up your alley. “Regretting You” by Colleen Hoover was so recently published (December 2019) that you wonder if you actually know the characters. You can expect to notice a few familiar, modern-day pop culture references, including bands like Greta Van Fleet and musician Billy Raffoul. Actor Adam Driver is described as “the best actor of our time” by one of the main characters. It’s an easy yet engaging read.
Hoover began releasing young adult fiction books back in 2012, and has been keeping a steady pace of about two novels a year since. Never intending to become a published writer, she’s come a long way. Her interests, specifically in music, are splattered amongst the pages in many of her books, which creates more realistic characters for her readers.
“Regretting You” follows two main characters: Morgan and Clara. Morgan is Clara’s mother, but since she gave birth at the young age of 17, their relationship is complicated. Clara views her mother as a predictable and strict type, while Morgan believes she has lived a relatively calm and content life.
The book begins with a flashback of Morgan and her boyfriend, Chris, riding in a car. They are headed to a party with Morgan’s sister, Jenny, and her boyfriend, Jonah. Morgan’s internal dialogue is somewhat advanced for a 17-year-old due to the fact she had to take on the role of mother to Jenny at an earlier age. Jenny is carefree and reckless, while Chris exudes these same characteristics. Jonah has a calm demeanor and Morgan feels they get along very well. Later, at the party, this proves true as Jonah and Morgan witness the other two partake in reckless drinking games. Morgan realizes her menstrual cycle is late, and this becomes the focus of her worries.
We are then transported to the now, 17 years later, with Clara (Chris and Morgan’s daughter) now in high school. They live in the same town, and Chris works in a medical office while Morgan is a housewife. Jenny is a nurse and Clara’s confidant. Jonah only recently came back into the picture. A new baby, Elijah, has been born and Jenny, who had reunited with Jonah once last year, claims that he’s his baby. With the foursome back together, tensions run high as Morgan ignores the sparks that invisibly fly between her and Jonah.
Clara develops a crush on a fellow high school peer, Miller, and their story is reminiscent of true teen attraction. “I cannot believe how much I’m feeling right now … I feel like every minute I spend without him is going to be torture,” she says. They both love film and have the same musical taste. Clara leans on Miller after a devastating and unexpected car crash kills Chris and Jenny. With the crash comes more wreckage as secrets are uncovered. Why were they in the car? Where were they going?
Morgan learns some hard lessons about parenting and about everything she thought she held dear. She comes to realize she hadn’t done much for herself since Clara was conceived and she decided to marry Chris. Perhaps things were not as pleasant as she assumed. Clara starts rebelling, a first for her, and this tears Morgan up inside. Not knowing what to do, her only confidant is Jonah. With a strained relationship already, they begin to dig into the past and their feelings.
This novel is filled with intense conversations and tumultuous occurrences that keep you hoping that love, and hopefully some good news, will prevail. Miller and Clara’s bond may be one for the high school sweetheart club, while Jonah and Morgan take almost two decades to come to terms with their past. You won’t regret reading “Regretting You.”
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