Oh my God.
If I could give this book a million stars, hearts, twixes (as in the Twix chocolate)… I would. In fact, I am. I am rating this book with a million stars, hearts, and twixes.
How can I review a book that is as beautiful, and perfect, and horrible, and wonderful, and devastating, and did I say perfect? Yeah, there are no words to describe this book. I’ll try, but damn… I’d heard wonderful things about this book. That it’s an ugly-cry type of book, that the characters are amazing, that the story is wonderful. I never expected this, though. When I first read the description of the book, it got my attention immediately, because it sounded exactly like my kind of book… and omg, it totally was.
I started reading this book a couple of days ago, and yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Kim Holden. Seeing her at Austin took the whole experience of reading this book to another level. I saw her and talked to her for just a little bit, but I completely saw where Kate came from. And Gus. And Keller. And Audrey. And Rook. And everyone. It was amazing. And of course, I had to get my paperback copy.
“Imagine for a moment that you were free of all the expectations in your life. What would you do? How would you live your life with no one watching? What would your future look like?”
This book… Well, I won’t get that much into the plot, because I don’t want to ruin it for you guys… but I will say this. Prepare yourself for a perfectly well written story, and a perfectly devastating story. I cried so, so, so, so much, even after finishing it. When I thought I had calmed down a bit, the tears started to gather in my eyes, and then they would just go down. I couldn’t stop (my eyes are still swollen and I finished it hours ago). Oh, and another thing I want to tell you guys is that YOU MUST READ THIS.
That’s an order. 😉
So, since I don’t want to get that much into the storyline, I’ll talk about the characters. Let me start with Kate. I have never met a character so positive in my life, and it’s not the bubbly, and chatty, and annoying positivity, the kind that sounds fake. She’s the real deal. She truly is happy, she truly believes there’s a good side to everything in life. She sees the bad, she acknowledges it, but she doesn’t let it get to her. She tries her damn best to make everything good, mostly for those she loves. She radiates happiness, and that happiness is contagious, not only for the characters, but for us, the readers too. She’s the kind of girl who attracts people, not because of the way she looks, but because of the way she is. Everyone wants to be around her, because she’s good, and sweet, and honest, and blunt, and she’s true to her heart. She believes in there is goodness in the world and the people who surround her, and that’s not something that we can find that often anymore. Despite her life being a crappy one, she’s made the most of it.
Kate Sedgwick is the kind of girl you just admire. And I admire her courage, and her bravery, and her strength, her patience, her love for other people, her need to be there for those who need it. I adore her.
“Today, my life is awesome.
I don’t want to think about tomorrow.
Or the day after that.
So I repeat to myself: Today, my life is awesome.”
Now, Keller. At first, I had this doubt about him, because… well, I have a serious crush on Gus, but later on, as the story grew, I started to see the goodness in him, what Kate saw. He is so generous, and so strong, and reliable. There’s no way you can’t not love him, you just do. He’s life hasn’t been easy either, but he’s been trying to do what he thinks is best. He’s pretty reserved, but when he’s with Kate, there’s this new feel about him, like, he lets himself go. He’s free with Kate. I am so, so, sorry for everything he’s had to deal. It can’t be easy, but the way he manages to cope and to do what he has to do, and be there for those who need him, and still be strong for them, even when he’s crumbling… yeah, I can’t not love him. I do. Deeply.
“Just when you think you know someone, they change. Or you change. Or maybe you both change. And that changes everything.”
But then, we have Gus. I fell in love from the first moment he showed up. How can you not? Besides him being a complete rock-God, he’s so much more. I loved how much he loved Kate. I loved how much he cared about others. I loved his sense of humor. I loved his interest in people. I loved his interest in music. I loved how passionate he is about the ones he loves. I loved his loyalty to his friends, specially Kate. He’s just the kind of guy who’ll be your friend, no matter what. He’s the kind of guy who’ll support you, and be there for you, and do whatever you need, even before you know you need it. He knows, he cares, and he loves with so much force. I am in a desperate need for more Gus. I need him in my life. I want to take his pain away. There’s something about his relationship with Kate that makes you feel like, it’s ok to let go, if you know the other person is truly happy right now.
“I love you, Bright Side.
I love you, too Gus.”
It’s unbelievable, how much you can feel, how much you can love, just by reading a story. Kim made out of this book, a wonderful story that will break your heart in ten billion pieces. She made out of her characters real people, because I truly felt like Kate might as well be me, and Keller, and Gus, and the rest of the characters, might as well be my friends. They’re now real for me. They’re a part of me now, and I just want a forever-story with them.
Daniela hit the nail on the head with her review. I know my words will not do this book justice, but here goes nothing.
“Discovering something new is like music. Music is out there to be heard and I am of the opinion that as many people as possible should hear it. All of it. Because music is powerful. It connects people.”
In that respect, I believe that everyone should read this book. I finished it on the way home from Austin, where I got to meet Kim. I sat there in the car, crying, as my “do epic” bracelet gave me comfort and hope. This book wrecked me, broke me into tiny pieces, and then patched me up, but I’ll never be whole again. Not after this. There will always be a Bright Side sized chip in me forever, and you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Because I want to be Kate Sedgwick when I grow up.
She radiates life and happiness. She is made up of all things good and pure. People are naturally drawn to her because she brings out the goodness in everyone she meets. Well, mostly everyone. It’s so rare to find characters this real, this tangible. She feels like a best friend. I feel like I’ve known her my whole life. She is a beacon of light when she enters a room. It’s impossible to be in a bad mood when Kate is around.
“She’s the poster child for positivity. She’s a freaking ray of sunshine. She doesn’t just look on the bright side… she lives there.”
Then we have Gus, Kate’s best friend. Oh Gus. I fell for him instantly. He is honest, blunt, and loves deeply. He is passionate and God, I wish I could hear his music. I wish I could see his face as he sings. Music is his life and it’s damn sexy. He and Kate are soul mates, there’s no other word for it. They balance each other out and keep each other together. Their friendship is beautiful.
When Keller entered the picture, I was skeptical. I was already in love with Gus so how could this guy even compare? Well, even though he pissed me off a couple times, I ended up falling for him too. He’s kind, caring, loyal, and sexy as hell. He’s been through so much in life which has made him strong and resilient, which is just what Kate needed. he understood her needs, even when he didn’t always agree with her. He let her call the shots. Their trust and love for each other was real.
Clayton, Pete, Shelly and Duncan were wonderful characters as well. I hope we see more of them in Gus’s book. Their stories need to be told.
This book taught me many things and reminded me of others that I have forgotten.
1. Friendship is everything.
2. Life is too short to dwell on negative things.
3. Always strive to bring others up.
4. Always look for the bright side.
5. Live life with no regrets.
6. Be brave.
7. Do epic.
Bright Side left me with a major hangover and I’m seriously contemplating reading it all over again. The story, the characters, the music, it has consumed my mind for days. I don’t know how I’ll recover, and maybe I don’t want to.
“I remind myself the pain in my exhausted muscles isn’t pain, it’s life. And life feels divine. Every day, every minute, every second.”