Twelve Steps by Veronica Bartles is as much a story about sisters as it is about young love. (Side note: I read this while my sister was visiting, so I was very immersed in sisterly feelings—the good and the I’m-going-to-smother-her-in-her-sleep kinds. But that made my experience of this book even more enjoyable because I couldn’t help but think of my sister while reading!)The relationship between Andi and Laina felt so real to me—the insecurities about being the lesser sister, the rivalry for a boy’s attention, the camaraderie despite it all. I’m always fascinated by siblings and how they can be so similar and so different at the same time. Andi and Laina are no exception.
The playfulness between them when they went on a “crime” spree was delightful and did so much to make Laina feel more real instead of the perfect, carefully put together—and completely unattainable—image Andi usually had of her for most of the book. The bond between these two was so strong that Andi couldn’t go after the boy she wanted for fear of hurting her sister, and Laina couldn’t tell Andi about the dark secret she’d been keeping for fear of losing her sister’s respect (not possible by the way!)
The romance was sweet—and in a few places oh so swoony. I liked Jared, but from Dave’s first tiny scene, I wanted more of him. And when he kept popping up, all I wanted was for Andi to realize she was pining for the wrong boy. And every time Jared made a move toward her, I wanted to beg Andi to run in the other direction because with Jared stupidly in love with Laina, the only place he could take Andi was major heartache.
The end was a little rushed, and felt like it just ended in the middle of this great story so that all the loose ends would be tied up nicely. And I wanted more—especially with Andi and Dave—but maybe that’s just a testament to Veronica’s story-telling ability. She had me hooked from page one and I didn’t want the story to end.
About the Author
As the second of eight children and the mother of four, Veronica Bartles is no stranger to the ups and downs of sibling relationships. (She was sandwiched between the gorgeous-and-insanely-popular older sister and the too-adorable-for-words younger sister.) She uses this insight to write stories about siblings who mostly love each other, even while they’re driving one another crazy. When she isn’t writing or getting lost in the pages of her newest favorite book, Veronica enjoys knitting fabulous bags and jewelry out of recycled plastic bags and old VHS tapes, sky diving (though she hasn’t actually tried that yet), and inventing the world’s most delectable cookie recipes. TWELVE STEPS is Veronica Bartles’s first novel.
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