ARC Review: Protected

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Title: Protected

Author: Claire Zorn

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

I have three months left to call Katie my older sister. Then the gap will close and I will pass her. I will get older. But Katie will always be fifteen, eleven months and twenty-one days old.

Hannah’s world is in pieces and she doesn’t need the school counsellor to tell her she has deep-seated psychological issues. With a seriously depressed mum, an injured dad and a dead sister, who wouldn’t have problems?

Hannah should feel terrible but for the first time in ages, she feels a glimmer of hope and isn’t afraid anymore. Is it because the elusive Josh is taking an interest in her? Or does it run deeper than that?

In a family torn apart by grief and guilt, one girl’s struggle to come to terms with years of torment shows just how long old wounds can take to heal.

Source: Thanks so much to SOURCEBOOKS Fire for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley!

How I Found Out About It: Netgalley

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I was at first drawn to Protected because I am interested in family-oriented contemporaries that explore the bonds we have with our family members and how they are never truly lost. I have to say that this is a book that showcases that very clearly.

Hence, I enjoyed this story a lot and I am excited to read more from Claire Zorn in the future. Even though the protagonist wasn’t the most likeable, the plot was executed well and the morals given out by the reading of this book are great.

Protected is basically about a teenage girl named Hannah. A while ago, her sister had died in a car crash, leaving her and her parents emotionally wounded. Her family has since drifted away from each other and cannot experience the joy they would if Katie had still been around. When Hannah gets to know Josh, she feels the best she’s ever did since her sister’s death. But is that enough to help her get through her grief?

As stated before, Hannah is very, very far from being the best protagonist I’ve ever read about. To be fair, I saw many good traits in her, but she was for sure flawed as well. She complained and sulked very often, which I understand because of her ongoing grief, but at times she refused to accept help offered to her, and that is what I disliked. In spite of this, Hannah’s character grows immensely by the end of the novel as she becomes much more appreciative of what she has and learns to open up to others and talk to them about her troubles instead of storing it all in. Even so, it was quite evident that she still had a ways to go in developing a bit more afterwards.

As you would expect since this is by all means a contemporary story, there was romance involved. Was it good romance, though? Meh. I just found it to be unnecessary and forced- I feel like if Hannah hadn’t lost her sister, the two would have never bonded like they did in the book. Josh, the love interest, only first showed up at about 2/3s of the book and he was honestly so bland! I am telling you that I did not see many sparks fly between the two.

All in all, I definitely liked Protected and would be willing to try out more books by this author. The characters were a little rusty, but I believe that this book should be read by more people once it comes out because of its messages about appreciating what you have and being able to get help if you need it. It’s not the happiest of contemporaries, I’ll say that, but if you are looking for a book that has powerful messages, I’d recommend this one in a heartbeat.

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*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

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