It’s not often that a book really gets to me. You see, when I read a book, it’s just a story to me. That doesn’t mean I love it any less, but it’s truly words on a page. And that’s totally not a bad thing. My mom used to tell me that when she read a book, her mind turned it into a movie. She could visualize everything, hear the dialogue, really feel what was happening. Not the case for me. So while I enjoy most books, I don’t get really and truly emotionally involved to the point where I’ll have any kind of physical reaction (laughter, tears, stuff like that).
The point of all that explanation is to show you how rare and amazing my response to Learning to Live. Kira has written a story about two very likeable characters from completely different worlds. And it’s an interesting twist on the bully stories, because the bully doesn’t “get what he deserves.” Ciera doesn’t wreak some terrible Carrie-like revenge on Topher for his years of torment. Oh, no. She does something better. She shows him what he had been missing.
Ciera has it tough in many ways, including helping support her family and dealing with crap from assholes like Topher. But Topher also has it tough, with his dad coming out of the closet and admitting that he had known his sexuality since before Topher was born. Super tough blow (I totally know how Topher feels). And it’s really interesting when they both realize how similar they really are.
Learning to Live doesn’t start slow. It caught my attention right away. But I’ll warn you: after that start, it speeds along so fast, dragging you and your emotions along. Kira plays around with her readers’ hearts (in an oh so good way). For the last quarter of the book I had that rare physical reaction: an extremely ugly, snotty cry. So make sure you’re not feeling fragile when you read Learning to Live. Ciera and Topher need you to be strong.