This is part of the book blog tour for Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg, organized by Shane at Itching for Books.
Olive Bell has spent her entire life in the beautiful suburb of Vista Valley, with a picture-perfect home, a loving family, and a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a near-fatal car accident, she’s haunted by a broken heart and a melody that she cannot place.
Then Olive meets Nick. He’s dark, handsome, mysterious . . . and Olive feels connected to him in a way she can’t explain. Is there such a thing as fate? The two embark on a whirlwind romance—until Nick makes a troubling confession.
Heartbroken, Olive pieces together what really happened the night of her accident and arrives at a startling revelation. Only by facing the truth can she uncover the mystery behind the song and the power of what it means to love someone.
Can the truth set you free?
Olive is slowly recovering from her near-fatal car accident. She feels heartbroken that her boyfriend, Derek, is ignoring her and when she sees him kissing a popular girl from school, she feels devastated. Not wanting to revisit the incident leading to her car accident, Olive refuses to go through any kind of professional therapy. Her parents and teachers are worried but they all know that nobody could help unless she decides she wants to be helped. Will Olive give herself a chance to fully recover?
I guess I could relate to Olive to a certain degree. She feels like no one truly understands her and she is tired of pleasing everyone who is close to her. It’s interesting to see how judgmental she can be and while I empathize her condition, I can also see why her flaws have weighted her down and made her feel unhappy and a little lost. Watching her learn to regain control of her own life is quite empowering and I’m glad that she discovers something beautiful about herself along the way.
Nick is mysterious. He is definitely not someone I’d dislike but I didn’t feel I understood him until I learned about the things that he was struggling with. His presence brings out something that has been buried deeply inside of Olive and I’m glad that they both contribute a big part in each other’s recovery.
Tender, elegant and unpretentious, Our Song delivers a coming-of-age story that is insightful, humbling and eloquent. As a blog tour host, I’m going to share an excerpt with you today. I hope you’ll like it.
Excerpt from Our Song
By Jordanna Fraiberg
from Chapter Nine
We made our way around the field, stopping at each booth so Annie could take more pictures, until she turned and handed me the camera. “Here, why don’t you take a few.”
“It’ll be a complete waste of film,” I said, backing away. I thought about all the blurry, out-of-focus pictures I used to take on our trips to Arizona for my mother’s family reunions. They never made it into the albums.
“I have, like, a million rolls. Another perk of being photo editor.” She placed the strap around my neck. “Trust me, it’s easy.”
Knowing Annie wasn’t going to take no for an answer, I held the camera up to my face and looked through the little peephole. “I don’t even know where to press. See? Total waste.”
“Not so fast my little naysayer,” she protested as I tried to hand the camera back. “Just relax and have fun with it.” She positioned my finger on the correct button then showed me how to focus the lens and adjust the zoom. “And remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect.”
That was the problem. I wasn’t happy when things were imperfect. As much as I hated to admit it, maybe I wasn’t so unlike my mother after all.
I aimed at the cotton candy booth just ahead, fiddling with the lens until Jill Rosen’s face came into sharp focus. I sat next to Jill in math but had never noticed that she had so many freckles. I shifted the camera a bit to the right and snapped. Click. The shutter closed on Jill’s outstretched pink tongue making contact with the fluffy mound of candy just as another round of fireworks erupted in the sky.
“There you go. See? Not so hard. Finish the roll and I’ll help you develop them.”
“Only if I can get a few of you,” I said, zooming in on her face. “Don’t think you can get out of it just because you’re the editor.”
“Then you’ll have to keep up with me.” Annie ran ahead, weaving through the thick crowd.
As I took more pictures, I felt my whole body relax. There was something comforting about the camera covering my face like a mask, while granting me this special window onto the world. I was usually so busy worrying about what other people thought of me that I didn’t ever stop to notice them. Looking through the lens, I began to really see things—two hands touching, a stolen glance—like I was suddenly given a front row seat to other people’s private moments.
We reached the end of the field and started back on the other side when a large, cheering crowd drew our attention.
“Try to get some shots of this,” Annie said as we got closer. A heated pie-eating contest was underway.
There were so many people crowded around the stand that I couldn’t make out the competitors. Following Annie’s instructions, I kept snapping away as I inched closer and closer to the front of the crowd. I was almost there when Derek’s face suddenly appeared in the frame. He was standing at the center of the booth, judging the contest. His smooth, clean-shaven skin, the dimpled indentation above his upper lip, his blond eyelashes were so vivid and clear through the lens, it felt like I could reach out and touch him.
My finger hovered over the shutter release. It was the closest I had come to him since everything happened. But I couldn’t even take the picture.
Sensing what was happening, Annie appeared right behind me. Without saying a word, she took my arm and led me away from the crowd, to the other side of the field. We stopped in front of the bouncy castle. “Take off your shoes,” she said, kicking off her vintage Doc Martens. “We’re going in.”
“I’m not in the mood.” I hadn’t been in a bouncy castle since I was five and I didn’t even like them all that much back then. “We’ve taken a lot of photos. Can’t we just go?”
“You need to cut loose and forget about that nerd-jerk once and for all.” She stood over me with her arms crossed.
“And a bouncy castle is the way to do that?”
“It’s a start. Besides, if you won’t talk, you’ve got to let it out somehow.”
I thought about the day I tore my room apart in anger, how even that didn’t make me feel any better, how memories were deeper than anything you could touch or see. I began unlacing my sneakers.
“Yay!” she squealed. “I promise this will make you feel a thousand times better.”
I poked my head in to make sure it was empty before crawling through the narrow opening. I struggled to gain my balance on the uneven surface. It was like trying to walk across a waterbed. At least the inflatable walls blocked out the sounds of the carnival, reducing the cheers from the pie-eating contest to a distant, muffled drone.
Just as I managed to get my footing, Annie dove in, causing the ground to swell like a wave.
“Hey!” I yelled as I toppled over. “You just knocked me down.”
“That’s the whole point! Now repeat after me: Screw him!”
“This is dumb,” I said, trying to regain my balance.
“Come on, what do you have to lose? Just try it. Screw him!” Annie said, launching up into the air like a rocket.
“Screw him,” I muttered, flinging myself into one of the walls.
“I can’t hear you!” she yelled.
“Screw HIM,” I said, a little louder.
“Now say it LIKE YOU REALLY MEAN IT!”
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