Bright Side by Kim Holden

“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.”

Bright Side

Blurb via Goodreads:

Everyone has one. 
Some are bigger than others. 
And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you … 
And some will end you. 

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks. 

They both feel it. 
But they each have a reason to fight it. 
They each have a secret. 

And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you … 
And some will end you.

It never ceases to amaze me how words can give me so much pain and happiness and everything in between. I picked up Bright Side despite a heads up from a close friend that she cried buckets after reading it. Hell yeah, I am always interested in a book which can make me feel, I just didn’t expect THIS MUCH. My head hurts, my heart hurts, my eyes hurt. Not everyone likes a book that hurt, but I do, I totally don’t, but I do. Do you get me? Only someone who has been in a bookish emotional ride will understand.

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.

Connecting with a character is one of the most exciting things a reader can experience. It takes a very gifted writer to create characters that readers from all walks of like can relate to. Kim Holden did that job exceedingly well. She did epic, if I may say so myself.

Kate Sedgwick is Bright Side; strong, confident and brimming with positivity. She left San Diego to pursue her college dreams in Minnesota where she started a new life. Kate is the kind of heroine that you will love instantly and I even found bits and pieces of myself in her with the way she talks to the Big Man up there, with her coffee addiction and how she tests if people are listening to her. She might be one of my top favorite book heroines to date. Despite having it rough, she lives her life full of positivity and kindness. She is funny and smart, beautiful without much effort, unique and direct yet loving and compassionate. Her character inspires and she just makes you want to take a better look at your life and be more appreciative about it.

“Don’t judge each other. We all have our own shit. Keep your eyes on yours and your nose out of everyone else’s unless you’re invited in. And when you get the invitation, help, don’t judge.”

I have read a lot of books where in the heroines annoy the hell out of me; some good books but still mediocre heroines. But Kate is the real deal! I felt for her, I felt with her and I felt through her. I laughed with her, cried with her, loved with her and simply adored her. That’s how much Kate got to me.

Growing up, Kate had Gus Hawthorne, her best friend and partner in everything. He is the lead singer of a rising rock band, “Rook” and spent majority of his “book time” on tour. As much as I Iove their Skyping and phone calls, nothing beats having Gus on an actual scene with Kate. They have a long history of friendship and the depth by which they know each other is beyond compare.

Fancy hides a lot, while simple unapologetically puts it out there for everyone to see.”

Then there is Keller Banks, the guy whom Kate met in the coffee shop she frequents. Bookish, mysterious, studious Keller. Attractive, charismatic, friendly Keller. Kate was drawn to him instantly as Keller was to her. But he has secrets the same way Kate also has some of her own.

As much as I love these major characters, I would also like to take time and commend the other characters that grew on me while reading BS such as :

Shelly, sassy and intimidating, friend and co-worker at the flower shop.

Clayton, struggled with his orientation but found inspiration when Kate stood up for him. Fellow student and dorm neighbor.

Duncan, Pete, Audrey, Stella and the rest of Rook.

“Just don’t forsake the present for the unknowns of the future.”

The plot may have been predictable BUT what I wasn’t prepared for was the assault of emotions and heartache that this story delivered. The pain, though all too real, was softened by the humor and strength I found in the remaining characters. Bright Side is a happy book but it is a sad book as well. It specifically targeted all your vulnerable emotions and will leave you intoxicated yet healed.

If you still haven’t read it, then waste no time. Pick it up, turn that first page and read on because YOU.ARE.BRAVE.


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