I’m going to be honest with you. I kind of didn’t want to read Watch Over Me by Tara Sivec. I love Tara Sivec. She has become a friend to me, and her hysterical Chocolate Lovers Series is still on top of my all-time favorites list. But I knew Watch Over Me was sad, not funny. I didn’t want the whore to make me cry. And she warned me…. I was also scared she would put me in a funk, and I’d have to give my friend a bad rating. (And yes, I would. I would give my own mother a bad rating if it were deserved. It wouldn’t be easy, but I would.) Well luckily, I worried for nothing. Though yes, this book made me cry, several times; it also had a happy, hopeful, healing thread throughout the whole story. I gobbled it up in one shot, with mascara dripping down my face.
Addison had a great life, she was a cheerleader, she had friends, was happy. Addison and her mom were best friends. I get this, because I am ultra-close with my mom, and still, when something is wrong, or something good happens, the first person I call is my Mommy.
“Most people probably wouldn’t understand the bond my mother and I shared. Daughters typically hate their mothers through most of their teenage years and sometimes into early adulthood, but I never did. Maybe it was because I was her only child, or maybe it was because it was so difficult for her to get pregnant with me. Whatever the reason, we had a relationship that many envied. Our bond was forged through years of it just being the two of us.”
Until her happy high school life was cut short by the death of her mother from Leukemia. And her father, who loved her mother so much:
“He crumbled when she died. Just…faded away. It was like I lost both parents in one day. It was too much.”
He drowned his sorrow in alcohol. Addison tried to end her sorrow forever. But she pulled through, and took responsibility for her mother’s dream, her bakery, while her father drank himself in and out of rehab.
“Death changes everyone.
It changes the way you think, the way you feel, and the way you live your life.
Sometimes it makes you thankful for what you have, but more often that not, it makes you regret the things you’ve lost.”
Addison’s story is told in three ways. The chapters start with her mom-like therapist appointments. I swear, I feel like I am right there in on the appointment. I loved the Doctor and her Panera Hazelnut coffee.
“Everyone gets knocked down once in a while. The important thing is that you pick yourself back up again. You pick up, you move on, and you do your best.”
We also see Addison’s history and relationship with her mom told in flashback, as well as the present-day parts. (***Side note-if you have a kindle and an iPad, the formatting here works a little better on the kindle device, because the iPad doesn’t support all of the same fonts. The formatting is great on the iPad version, but spectacular enough for me to notice and point out on the kindle.)
Addison’s life is more than busy. Still just a kid herself, she is left running the daily operations of the bakery. The bakery where the gorgeous young man with piercing blue eyes, Zander, is having coffee and staring at Addison. And he leaves her a note.
And he continues to leave her notes. Then she meets “Napkin Guy” elsewhere, and accuses him of stalking.
“Did you just call me Napkin Guy?” he asks with a laugh. “My name’s actually Zander. And Stalkers Anonymous is actually on the fourth floor, and they only meet on days when the person they’re stalking is busy or when Creepers Consortium is cancelled.”
Despite her resistance, Addison can’t stop thinking about the charming, yet familiar guy. And he keeps leaving her notes.
“Stop leaving me notes. Stop staring at me. And stop smiling,” I growl before turning on my heels and walking away.
“Is it okay if I still breathe? What about blink? Is blinking allowed Bakery Girl?”
Addison has had no one in her life hold her, comfort her, be there for her since her mom died. But with Zander, it’s different.
“I can breathe as long as I can breathe him in. I can function because he makes me forget. I just want to forget.”
Suddenly, this happy, funny guy, is there, helping her heal, making her smile for the first time. He is understanding, patient and just….perfect.
“I’ve been craving attention like this from someone for so long that even the simple act of cleaning off my face fills me with unexpected appreciation for him and the care he takes with me.”
It’s like Zander brought her out of the darkness and into the light. He was the ray of sunshine flooding through a book that could have been horribly bleak and depressing, but was anything but.
…He’s trying to tell me that I’m not broken. That no matter what my problems are, they don’t have to break me.
There are secrets they are both keeping, and and some moments where the title makes perfect sense. Oh what Watch Over Me did to me. It was one of the most unique books I’ve read. I was worried that with Tara’s foray into New Adult there would be the same formula that I’m seeing a bit too much as of late. But the telling of the story is what really made this stand out, if not the story itself. The format of the novel, beginning each chapter in therapy, and often flashing back to her life with mom before, during the chapter was absolutely genius.
But the real genius was the heart and soul of Watch Over Me. It’s Tara. This story is so real, so gutting, so genuine, this came from deep within. It almost feels like we are reading private journals, it’s so blindingly honest. Yes, it is a tearjerker at times, but you will feel hope. After all, this book is about healing and moving on.
I spent days working on this review, and trying to shorten it. I had so many quotes and photos picked out, I couldn’t decide. I cried while writing it. In the end, I decided that since there weren’t any spoilers, I would leave the long-ass review.
- So intensely personal, you can feel the honesty coming off the page.
- Too many amazing quotes to choose from.
- The ability Tara had to make the reader cry, yet feel hopeful at the same time.
- Zander……swooooooonnnnn…..he may be just perfect. I so want a napkin note.
- The structure of the story telling, beginning every chapter with the therapy appointments.
- The notes!!! I LOVED the notes!
- Beautiful formatting.
- As much as I don’t like books that make me cry, this one was maybe a more melancholy cry. We were looking back…it wasn’t happening right then, so it wasn’t the shocked, ‘holy shit’ cry, just an emotional one.
- It’s a standalone book.
- I couldn’t find one.
Rating: 5 Stars or more 2.5 heat
“I want to tell him to run as fast as he can because I’m broken. Funny thing though, I don’t want him to go. I don’t want to do anything that will make him leave because I don’t want to be strong anymore. I’m so tired of being strong.”
I wanted to climb inside the book and be a mom to Addison. So when Zander showed up, so ready and capable of taking care of her, I was thrilled. I fell for both of the characters, and I fell hard. Watch Over Me can be read without fear of falling into a depression, but be prepared to be thinking of your mom if she is gone, or calling her if she is still here. Not only did I call my mom and let her know how much I miss her, but I grabbed my kids so hard and promised myself I’d work harder to be healthy so I am there for them.
I know there is fear of this book out there. Fear that the whore that made you crack up in Chocolate Lovers or swoon in the Playing with Fire Series is now going to ruin your summer by making you get a prescription to Zoloft. It won’t. It will make you cry. You aren’t normal if you don’t, but the tears are made better by Zander. And by Tara’s writing, which is honestly genius in this. Genius.
“I think you know by now that you can’t live you life in fear…Don’t waste the time you have being afraid. Get your ass in gear and be happy.”
Purchase Watch Over Me by Tara Sivec
Tara Sivec is the USA Today Bestselling author of A Beautiful Lie. She also wrote my favorite series the Chocolate Lovers series which made things come out of my body I laughed so hard. She is married to her High School Sweetheart and lives in Ohio with her two crazy kids. She is as funny and cool in real life as you would imagine she is.
Addison Snow is your typical teenager. She has a family that loves her, friends that make her laugh, and she’s wrapped up in the excitement of graduating high school and going off to college to pursue her dream of becoming an author. When her mother, who also happens to be Addison’s best friend, dies unexpectedly, her world comes to a crashing halt.
Death changes everyone…
To make the pain go away, Addison and her father travel down separate, dark paths. She chooses to end her grief forever, while he drowns his sorrows in the bottom of a bottle. How do you learn to live again when the most important person in your life is gone?
Addison struggles to pick up the pieces of her life. Instead of getting back to being the carefree teenager she once was, she’s stuck handling all of the responsibilities that should have been her father’s. She has no time to grieve, no time for emotions, and no time for happiness…until Zander Reinhardt walks in. All it takes is one little handwritten note on a napkin to kick-start her back to life and help her realize that maybe there’s more to that life than pain.
But can it really be that simple? Can she really trust this man who makes her feel alive again for the first time in a year?
Purchase Watch Over Me by Tara Sivec