Title: Every Other Weekend | Author: Abigail Johnson | Series: N/A | Age: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary | Publication Date: January 7, 2020 | Trigger Warning: Parental abuse, sexual assault, and toxic relationships. | Links: Add on Goodreads • Purchase on *Book Depository
—.:* Quick Recap!
☆ This book is about two struggled teens who develop an unlikely friendship during their encounter on their fathers’ apartment complex.
☆ Read this book if you’re a fan of heartwarming teenage first love story that featured hard-hitting issues.
☆ You might want to consider it because it was 500+ pages long and some could be intimidated by the number, but I’d say you’ll enjoy every single page. A lot of triggering behaviors were also featured in this book, such as parental abuse, sexual assault, and toxic relationships.
—.:* More Thoughts
Featuring two struggled teens who develop an unlikely friendship, Abigail Johnson’s upcoming contemporary, Every Other Weekend, is going to hit you right in the feels with its complex characters, hard-hitting plots, and simple yet captivating setting of an old, crappy apartment complex. Following the story of Adam who’s still deep in grief years after the death of his beloved oldest brother and Jolene who’s trapped between her parents’ divorce and endless fights, Johnson is not shy away from digging into their deepest emotions and state of mind not just as regular teens, but also as ones who tried to conceal the years of suffering by becoming distant and unapproachable.
Told in alternating perspectives, the story begins with Adam being on his way to his father’s apartment with his brother, Jeremy. The two didn’t get along, although Adam’s admiration for his oldest brother, Greg, who died a year before, was obvious from the way he’s grieving. Healing and moving on might be easy to do, if it’s not for the fact that Adam didn’t just lose Greg, but also the picture-perfect family that he previously had. His mother couldn’t function properly anymore and seemed to burst into tears at almost every given moment. His father wasn’t doing any better and ultimately decided to take off instead of facing off the tornado that tore their family apart. As a result of losing one of their sons, his parents decided that they needed to move on, not just from grieve, but also from each other, resulting in Adam and Jeremy scheduled visiting at their dad’s apartment on every other weekend. Confused and angry for a decision that Adam considered to be completely ridiculous, he lashed out his emotions towards everything, except his mother, who he very much loved. But that’s before he met Jolene, the passionate and witty girl next door that seems to always have a camera in her hands.
An aspiring filmmaker and one that is very much passionate about anything movie-related, Jolene was stuck in the middle of her parents’ divorce and constantly used as a pawn. She went back and forth between her parents’ place and she rarely got to experience their affection and growing believing that love isn’t real. On one of the weekends, during her stay at her dad’s apartment who is constantly too busy with work to even show up to meet his daughter and instead gives that responsibility to the mistress that caused the divorce in the first place, Jolene met Adam while she accidentally captured their first encounter on her camera. Though their first encounter was more awkward rather than romantic, the two decided that hanging around each other was the best option that they could get out of their stay in their fathers’ apartment.
My favourite thing about Every Other Weekend is definitely Johnson’s ability to craft such a beautiful and heartfelt story, making them go beyond 500 pages, yet not once I felt that the story was dragging or even too long. Contemporary doesn’t need a long elaboration on its worldbuilding because they pretty much exist just in our world, hence the reason why authors could put more highlight on the characters or the plot instead. Johnson executed these two remarkably. While the heart of this story is the encounter of Adam and Jolene, the narratives regarding the other aspects of their life were still delivered thoroughly, making their characters more complex rather than just serving one sole purpose of meeting teach other.
I loved the fact that Johnson took the time to narrate how the characters were dealing with other people and things in their life aside from each other, making this story more enjoyable and real to be followed. While it wasn’t my favourite, Adam’s dynamic with his remaining brother, Jeremy, was striking and showed just how badly siblings could treat each other. I also enjoyed following Adam’s love journey because of how real it was narrated, especially in portraying teenagers’ love life and all of its complications.
Meanwhile, Jolene’s friends, Cherry and Gabe, were also a decent addition in this story. Aside from Adam and Jolene’s blooming romance, we also got a peek at Cherry’s toxic relationship with her on-and-off-again boyfriend. Jolene tried multiple times to make Cherry realise just how badly her boyfriend treats her, and this is pretty much happening in real life too. I think Johnson did a wonderful job of narrating the dynamic of two friends who obviously cared about each other, yet the case could be alternated when others involved, in this case, Cherry’s boyfriend.
—.:* The Verdict!
—.:* About the Author
Abigail was born in Pennsylvania. When she was twelve, her family traded in snow storms for year round summers, and moved to Arizona. Abigail chronicled the entire cross-country road trip (in a purple spiral bound notebook that she still has) and has been writing ever since. She became a tetraplegic after breaking her neck in a car accident when she was seventeen, but hasn’t let that stop her from bodysurfing in Mexico, writing and directing a high school production of Cinderella, and becoming a published author.