Some of my favorite books over the last couple of years have been from the YA genre. I love the YA genre so much that I blogged all about it last year. I’m always on the lookout for new and emerging YA authors and YA stories that pull me in and keep me thinking about them long after I’ve turned the last page. Today I’ll be reviewing a new YA novel from author Kelly Wittmann, An Authentic Experience.
An Authentic Experience is about fifteen year old Silver. Her mother, Nicola, is sick, and her father, Renz, is too busy living his own life trying to recapture the past to pay any attention to her. I disliked him instantly and that feeling only intensified throughout the book. This story was filled with typical teenage stuff: Silver seeking to be loved, trying to find out who she is, and crushing on a guy. It was also filled with some not-so-typical teenage stuff: Silver’s mother is very ill in the book and Silver endures a traumatic experience herself.
Overall, the story was pretty interesting. Silver’s parents have long since parted ways, but they are both in her life, pulling her into their respective worlds. Meanwhile, Silver is trying to figure out her own person and her own life. I think a lot of teenagers and adults will relate to Silver’s teenage angst and her struggle to get along with and fit into her parents’ worlds.
I will warn readers that there is an act of violence that occurs about 75% of the way through the book. So if you’re triggered by reading such scenes, then this book might not be for you. You won’t want to read that far along and then have to put the book down and leave it unfinished. This was definitely not my favorite scene to read, and it also felt a little off to me. This scene, which becomes a major turning point for Silver, felt too late in the book. Like this major thing happened and then the book wrapped up pretty quickly after that. I think there was also supposed to be a redemption of Silver’s father, Renz, at the end of the book. But for me, it felt – ironically – inauthentic. But perhaps that was Ms. Wittmann’s intention, a bit of a “wink, wink” to the reader. 😉
I did love the multi-generational aspect of this book. It’s not just about Silver’s relationship with her parents, but also her grandparents as well as their relationship with Silver’s mom. I love novels where grandparents and older generations are key characters, bringing wisdom and insight to relationships and situations.
If you enjoy YA and especially stories about parent/ child relationships, then you should give this novel a read.
Up Next: My review of The Heart of a King: The Loves of Solomon by Jill Eileen Smith. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out!