Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Review + Interview + Giveaway: We'll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean

I am thrilled to be a stop on the book tour for We'll Never Be Apart by Emike Jean, hosted by Rockstar Book Tours! Today, I have a review and interview for your reading pleasure, but be sure to check out the tour schedule below, or click the banner above, for more!
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Psychological thriller
Publication.Date:January 1, 2013
Pages:304 (ARC eBook)
Published By: HMH Books for Young Readers
Website:Emiko Jean

We'll Never Be Apart on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:




That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.

Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.


I think he would cry out if he could. Silence always hurts more. I go to him, not sure of what to say or do. I want to absorb his rage. Take away his sadness. Smooth the scar on his face. Fix him.

But I don't know how. I couldn't even fix Cellie. I can't even fix myself.
I continued until the roar of the flames faded. I stopped four or five blocks away, when my legs refused to go any farther. I stumbled and fell, scratching my knees on the asphalt. Little rocks and dirt tore into my palms. I sat up slowly, leaning against a rickety fence. Fireworks still lit up the sky, but they were partially obscured by a huge black cloud of smoke. Sirens wailed, and someone shouted. From this distance, it sounded like they were yelling under water.
I smile. "You know you're kind of a sick bastard. You're into me because you dig 1950s pinup girls and I remind you of your sister?"

He smiled back. "Don't forget your dirty mouth and fascination with paper animals."

We'll Never Be Apart starts off hot - literally. We start the story from Cellie's point of view as she sets the fire that kills her sister's boyfriend and almost herself and Alice. We're then given the rest of the story for Alice's perspective. Alice doesn't remember anything about the fire other than Cellie set it and Jason died. And now she's ready for revenge.

As a form of recovery, Alice's doctor has given her a journal to record her memories in. She's to start from her earliest memory and go from there in hopes of gaining her memory back. I thought this to be a very interesting narration technique. They're like flashbacks, but not because Alice is currently writing them in her journal. And since she's writing them down, we get to see her reactions to her memories as she is regaining them.

While it's all told from Alice's point of view, her journal writing allowed for readers to get a feel for Cellie and Jason, while getting a deeper look into Alice's past. Alice and Cellie didn't have the best childhood and we see how that shaped their future and got them to the point in their lives that they're at now.

The characters are well done and kept at a minimum. Aside from Alice (and her journal versions of Callie and Jason) we have her roommate, Amelia; fellow patient, Chase; her social worker, Sara; a few other patients and hospital staff. By keeping the supporting characters to a minimum, Emiko can truly focus on Alice, her mental state, and the plot.

I don't think I would categorize this is a "psychological thriller" because there weren't moments where I was confused and desperate to know what was going on, nor was it fast paced. However, that being said, I did find myself wrapped up in this story. I read it in a day because part of me had to know if Alice was going to get Cellie (they're in different blocks with Cellie being in the most guarded and secluded) and if she was really going to get her revenge.

There are parts of the story that are a bit underdeveloped, but overall Emiko's writing is very well done. We'll Never Be Apart is Emiko's debut book and while it does have some issues (luckily nothing major) it also has some great strengths. All in all I enjoyed this story and I look forward to reading more from Emiko.

Interview with Emiko Jean

Hi, Emiko, and welcome to Bookish Lifestyle! First I just have to say how much I enjoyed We'll Never Be Apart. Your narrative kept those pages flipping and there are so many questions I have for you; however, since most of those questions are deep into spoiler territory I'll try to keep my questions a bit more basic and non-spoiler.

What was your inspiration for We'll Never Be Apart? How do you go from an entomologist, a candle maker, a florist, and a teacher to a YA psychological thriller author?

First, thanks so much for having me on your blog today!

When I graduated from college my undergrad work was in entomology and I spent a very short time working in that field. I love bugs, but I didn’t feel like it quite satisfied my creative drive so during that time I pursued other avenues like candle making and flower arranging :). Finally, I decided to go back to school and become a teacher (I’m from a long line of teachers, education is in my blood). Since the book sold I’ve left teaching. I really loved being a teacher but found balancing writing full-time and teaching full-time was almost impossible!

My first year teaching I worked at a school with a large population of foster kids. It was there the characters for We’ll Never Be Apart originally appeared to me, inspired by some of the foster kids I dealt with. In my head Alice and Cellie grew as characters taking on their own unique life story until I felt compelled to write it.

Alice and Cellie have two very distinct and different personalities. How did you jump back and forth between the two and ensure they remained two separate people?

I was able to do this fairly easily. Alice and Cellie’s lives are irrevocably intertwined because they are sisters and more so because they share a traumatic history. For me, the key to differentiating Alice and Cellie’s personalities was to examine their unique reactions to their traumatic event. Alice grew inward. I always imagined Alice with a kind of shell around her. Cellie on the other hand grew outward. Cellie’s grief couldn’t be contained and it manifested in a very messy, destructive way.

When you got the call/letter/email that you were going to be published, what were the next five minutes like?

It was really exciting! My agent called, asked if I was sitting down and said we had an initial offer from HMH. The phone call was during my planning time while I was teaching. I remember smiling from ear to ear. I called my husband (he was on another call and had to call me right back). So I paced my school parking lot waiting for him to phone me. When he did, I think he yelled more than I did. It was one of those big moments that imprints on you. I’ll always remember it!

What is your favorite psychological thriller?

Tough question! I get asked this a lot and it’s so hard to choose favorites. Recently I re-read Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn, it is so brilliant and heart stopping and not for the faint of heart.

What's next in line for you? Are you working on a new book now?

Of course, I’m always writing. I have lots of stories rolling around in my noggin. My latest project is another thriller and that’s all I’m willing to say (don’t want to give away any spoilers just yet :) ).

Emiko Jean is an elementary school math teacher, whose work with children in foster care inspired her debut novel, We'll Never Be Apart. Aside from reading, writing, and teaching, Emiko is passionate about bugs. She can often be found in the remote forests of the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband, hunting giant moths and cataloguing rare insect colonies. -

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Tour Schedule

9/28/2015- Bookish Lifestyle- Interview
9/29/2015- Curling Up With A Good Book- Review
9/30/2015- Paranormal Book Club- Excerpt
10/1/2015- The Candid Cover-Review
10/2/2015- A Dream Within A Dream- Guest Post

10/5/2015- YA Book Madness- Review
10/6/2015- The Cover Contessa- Interview
10/7/2015- Falling For YA- Review
10/8/2015- Fangirlish- Guest Post
10/9/2015- Literary Meanderings- Review

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