Published by William Morrow on April 7, 2020
Source: the publisher
Buy from Amazon|Buy from Barnes & Noble|Buy from Book Depository
“Hammer is an expert at both tugging heartstrings and keeping the reader utterly immersed in a world of hope and heartbreak. A great new voice in women’s fiction.”– Kristin Harmel, #1 international bestselling author of The Winemaker’s Wife
The heartbreaking, yet hopeful, story of a mother and daughter struggling to be a family without the one person who holds them together—a perfect summer read for fans of Jojo Moyes and Marisa de los Santos.
Alexis Gold knows how to put the “work” in working mom. It’s the “mom” part that she’s been struggling with lately. Since opening her own advertising agency three years ago, Alexis has all but given up on finding a good work/life balance. Instead, she’s handed over the household reins to her supportive, loving partner, Tommy. While he’s quick to say they divide and conquer, Alexis knows that Tommy does most of the heavy lifting—especially when it comes to their teenage daughter, CeCe.
Their world changes in an instant when Tommy receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, and Alexis realizes everything she’s worked relentlessly for doesn’t matter without him. So Alexis does what Tommy has done for her almost every day since they were twelve-year-old kids in Destin, Florida—she puts him first. And when the only thing Tommy wants is to spend one last summer together at “their” beach, she puts her career on hold to make it happen…even if it means putting her family within striking distance of Tommy’s ex, an actress CeCe idolizes.
But Alexis and Tommy aren’t the only ones whose lives have been turned inside out. In addition to dealing with the normal ups and downs that come with being a teenager, CeCe is also forced to confront her feelings about Tommy’s illness—and what will happen when the one person who’s always been there for her is gone. When the magic of first love brings a bright spot to her summer, CeCe is determined not to let her mother ruin that for her, too.
As CeCe’s behavior becomes more rebellious, Alexis realizes the only thing harder for her than losing Tommy will be convincing CeCe to give her one more chance.
You and Me and Us is a beautifully written novel that examines the unexpected ways loss teaches us how to love.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Tommy’s world is upended when he has to tell his wife Alexis and daughter CeCe that he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. For years, Alexis has been a workaholic and has typically tended to miss important events in the lives of her husband and child. 14-year-old CeCe doesn’t have a lot of affection for her mother because from her perspective, Alexis doesn’t prioritize her and therefore must not love her. The relationsip betwen mother and child is tumultuous at best, and Tommy has always been the glue that holds the family together. But Alexis and CeCe will have to learn how to manage their relationship when Tommy is no longer with them.
I knew that this one would be emotional going into it, and OH MAN it was. It wasn’t long ago that I lost someone important to me, and I was a little bit nervous about how I would handle certain aspects of this story. I teared up in multiple places, but overall I felt like it was cathartic for me. I was able to relate to things that I wasn’t necessarily expecting in the story, and I was also able to emotionally connect with the characters in a strong way.
That doesn’t mean that I love everything they did. Alexis and CeCe have a really difficult relationship, and it was hard to read at times. CeCe did not respect her mother at all for a time, and Alexis really didn’t pursue her daughter at all. She essentially left the parenting up to Tommy. Apparently I have stronger opinions about this than I realized, because when I had to put the book down for a few minutes, it was because of how Alexis and CeCe acted toward one another rather than how emotional some parts were. Most of the time, I felt more about their relationship (anger, frustration, sadness) than I did about the grief they were all experiencing.
But that’s just me. The anticipatory grief in this book is super, super well presented. It is so hard to watch someone go through a terminal illness physically, especially when the person used to be a thriving and healthy person in the prime of his or her life. The apprehensive moments where CeCe was nervous to be around her father were so accurate and well done, and the desperate moments when Alexis wanted to almost will Tommy to breathe and thrive were also very well done.
It’s a deeply emotional read, but also hopeful and full of happy, funny moments.