Everyone We’ve Been by Sarah Everett


“…whether it’s the best or worst thing that’s ever happened to you, you can tell the story any way you want.”

Addison Sullivan has been in an accident. In its aftermath, she has memory lapses and starts talking to a boy that no one else can see. It gets so bad that she’s worried she’s going crazy.

Addie takes drastic measures to fill in the blanks and visits a shadowy medical facility that promises to “help with your memory.” But at the clinic, Addie unwittingly discovers it is not her first visit. And when she presses, she finds out that she had certain memories erased. She had a boy erased.

But why? Who was that boy, and what happened that was too devastating to live with? And even if she gets the answers she’s looking for, will she ever be able to feel like a whole person again?

Book Links: Amazon | BDGoodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Told in a fresh and cutting perspective Everyone We’ve Been is a compelling mystery that will surely keep readers turning pages.

The story centers to Addie as she try to solve the mystery of her memory lapses and the identity of the boy she met in a bus ride home.

After being in an accident, Addie keep seeing the mysterious boy wherever she is. When she tried to introduce him to her friend, she found out that she’s the only one who can see the boy. Afraid that she is going crazy, she try to seek help through a local clinic that specialize with memory. But instead of getting answers she leaves the clinic with more questions. Addie needs to find out what’s happening to her. What she is seeing or remembering? And what she is forgetting?

One of the reasons why this book is a hit for me is because of the central message of the story. Addie’s story will remind readers how important it is to face our problems. Experiences bad or not are necessary for our own growth.

Sarah Everett writing is captivating and her lines are sometimes resonating. I particularly like some of Addie’s lines about music and life.

“In a way, it feels like I’m waiting for my life to start. Waiting for my life to feel as full and as vibrant outside of a melody as it does in it.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve sleepwalked through my life so far, with nothing significant or extraordinary happening to me. It’s time for that to change.”

“But mostly, I found things in my music. Hope. Distraction. Happiness. I found those things and held on to them as long as the piece lasted, and then I tucked them back inside a melody where they’d be unreachable.”

The plot though predictable never go down the bottom hill. It is still a thrilling read to wait for Addie hit realization. Since the book is written in different timelines – before and after Addie’s the accident, readers will put together things first before Addie will. And while waiting for Addie to put things together, readers will surely feel for her.

Addie as a character is easy to like. I root for her even at times I don’t believe that she’s making the right decisions. I don’t agree with all her choices and decisions but I won’t argue that those are realistic options for her. After-all, she is still young and unfortunately, haven’t learned yet from her past – past experiences that could have been make her stronger if not erased from her. I’m just glad that in the end she choose a different route.

The memory erasing part kinda remind me of Adam Silvera’s debut novel, More than Happy Than Not which I recently read. And having read that one, Everyone We’ve Been doesn’t sound too unbelievable anymore with its science-fiction element. Though I still questions some of the odds and technicality they never hinder my reading experience. It’s not perfectly smooth but mostly those speculative part blended well in this contemporary world of Addie.

Overall, Addie’s search for answer is a thrilling and compelling read. I absolutely could not put the book down. It’s a quick exploration about how experience shapes who we are as a person. Because memories – good or bad are part of our story. And stories like Addie is something to be told which makes me thankful to Sarah Everett for doing so. And she also told it beautifully. Which reminds me of what Addie says in the last part of the book — “you can tell the story any way you want.” And Sarah’s way is something readers won’t forget in a while.

* This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Penguin Random House International.

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