Bright Side (Bright Side #1) by Kim Holden

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Everyone has one. 
Some are bigger than others. 
And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you ... 
And some will end you. 

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks. 

They both feel it. 
But they each have a reason to fight it. 
They each have a secret. 

And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you … 

And some will end you. 


Wow. Okay. Bright Side. I am going to an author signing in June and have been trying to read a book by each author. I am in a group for the event where people discuss the books and such and Kim Holden is one of the authors. Everyone has been posting about Bright Side. How much they cried, how emotional it was, etc. I have been saving it for when I felt like I was emotionally ready. I didn't expect to cry as I am not a crier. I have only ever read one book prior to this that made me actually tear up and cry a bit so I just figured it would be really sad or beautiful or whatever to cause such emotions. Then I started reading and at first I was just like okay. This is fine. I even figured what I thought would happen and was preparing for it. Only there was no way to really prepare for it. It was amazing in the way it was written. I cried. Actual tears streamed down my face at parts. I had to put the book aside at times because I literally could not see the words for the tears. I have never had that before with a book. I am not a crier. This one just got to me. Even when I knew what was coming I still couldn't help it. I don't want to give away too much, I don't want to spoil anything, but even if I did it would still not prepare you for the story that this is. I loved it. I loved how beautifully it was written. I loved the characters. I just loved this story. 

Kate has such a wonderful soul. She is one of the most kind people ever. She gets people to step outside themselves and really enjoy life. She tries so hard with everyone even if they are not the nicest to her. Like her aunt who is a disaster. She keeps trying to help her even when the aunt is nasty. I get why she does, but man she is such a better person that me. I would have said screw you a long time ago. Kate just chooses her battles and is just a great person through and through. Though she has a secret that no one knows, not even her best friend Gus. 

Keller has secrets as well. Secrets he doesn't tell anyone. But when he sees Kate he is drawn to her. Who wouldn't be? She is so kind and caring, fun and funny, and just plain awesome. The two of them together were so cute. He has a more complicated life than most at his age, but he is getting by and preparing for the future. The guy who only plans for the future and the girl who only lives in the present. Oh it was so sweet watching them fall in love. It was hard as Kate doesn't want to be selfish, doesn't want anyone to fall for her with the things she is hiding. But Keller is just too good. He is just too amazing that she can't help it. He cares so much for those he lets into his life. 

The first part of this story was sunshine and rainbows. It was fun and light, but you knew something was coming. Then we get to the really heart wrenching second act and man. I haven't been through what these characters have, don't know anyone who has, but it seems like this book did a really good job of conveying what it would be like. Or the best you could in the context of a book. How hard it would be and I still can't even really think about it without getting teary eyed. Keller and Kate are wonderful people. I hurt so much for them as I loved them. Through it all Kate is still her wonderful self. Still living in the bright side (as Gus says she doesn't just look on the bright side she lives it). When you find out everything that she has been through, everything that happened growing up and all the responsibility she has had, she is just a remarkable person. To be able to keep that positive attitude, that love of life and happiness, was just amazing. I don't know that I could do it. So yeah. These characters are amazing. They will stick with me for a good long while. I don't really know how to move past this story. I guess I will move on to Gus to see what happens next and hope it helps. Just a really remarkable read. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2


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