Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.
When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellayla. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They’re a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell’s a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she’s happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it’s wrong, and she must do something about it.
Design – ? Rating – 2/5
I like the harsh lighting of the photo on the cover. The lighting and the way the girls aren’t making eye contact with the reader, or each other, hint at the lack of connection between the sisters. Aside from the photo, the cover is alright. Overall I feel that nothing about it is memorable, but with a different font it could potentially be much more interesting.
We Are the Goldens is a book I found forgettable. Told completely through Nell’s letters to older sister Layla, with past tense verbs and little interaction between the sisters, I think it’s strange that this is billed as a story about how close the girls are. The letters recount the sisters’ relationship as Nell tries to deal with her discovery that Layla is in a relationship with her teacher. It’s dull hearing about this through Nell’s viewpoint.
- siblings + secrets – What I like about this book is the overall idea of it. We often feel that we have to keep our family’s secrets, and siblings are a special case because they can be your built-in BFF or the person you’re sick of, depending on the day. I think this idea that we have to protect family, even from other family sometimes, is something this book could have explored more, rather than focusing on how Nell had her sister up on a pedestal.
- plot – The plot of this book is insubstantial at best. Everything has already happened. Nell’s letters to her sister are lengthy and filled with things that Layla probably recalls better than her sister. Nell is struggling with the fact that her sister isn’t stuck to her side like glue. It comes off as obsessive, while the only potential twist or secret in the story is given away in the summary.
- Nell + Layla – Nell is the younger sister, following in Layla’s footsteps and worshipping her sister. Nell is writing a letter to express her disappointment to Layla that Layla would be in a relationship with a teacher rumored to sleep with students. Layla is far from the perfect role model – she comes off as a selfish love-sick child. Nell is almost worse because of how boring she is. I find it hard to remember a single thing about her. At least Layla was a character who was doing something interesting; no matter how wrong. I would much rather hear her story than Nell whining about how her sister let her down.
- ending – So, after slogging your way through Nell’s thoughts about her sister’s illicit relationship, the ending leaves you hanging. The big wrap-up only amounts to Nell telling Layla, like a 5 year old, that she’s telling their parents what Layla has been doing. So…what comes next? I think the fallout of this tattling would be more interesting than this story.
Yeah, well, those movies always seemed pretty fake to me. The villains and the heroes too simple and obvious when there’s probably a little of both in every one of us. And also: none of the kids in those movies had an older sister like you. – Loc. 85/2245
But you trusted me, calmly telling me you’d gone off with Mr. B. It was a test balloon of sorts – to say out loud that you spent the afternoon alone with a teacher who has a reputation.
And I shot that balloon right out of the sky. – Loc. 518
Acquired: NetGalley (ebook)