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I instantly fell in love with Abigail Johnson’s writing when I read Even If I Fall early last year (seriously, what that book did to me…!), so I knew immediately I wanted to participate in this tour for her newest contemporary novel, Every Other Weekend. And just like with Abigail, I instantly fell in love with Jolene and Adam when I started this book. Their lives are so different, yet they come together every other weekend in rather strained circumstances, and the friendship that develops comes as a surprise to both of them. Jolene is one of my favorite characters I’ve come across in quite some time; she’s so strong and yet so vulnerable, so smart and creative, so assertive and driven, and just an absolute delight. Her sarcasm and humor are top notch and in some ways she reminded me of myself. And Adam is totally swoon-worthy, so sensitive and sweet and empathetic and also quite vulnerable, and his relationship with his mother just warmed my heart (especially as the mother of a son myself). Watching the relationship develop between Adam and Jolene was just delightful, even as you cheered for them while they each worked on their own separate family issues.
I don’t know how she does it, but put simply, Abigail writes like an angel! She makes you feel like you are right there with the characters, rather than viewing from afar, and she pulls such intense feelings out of you, without it feeling like she’s intentionally doing so (if that makes sense). It just all feels so natural, I guess is the best way to describe it. It’s like, you know how you have some friends who tell you stories or stuff that’s happening to them, and you just know they are saying certain things to pull an emotional reaction out of you? And then you have other friends that confide in you, and you know that they just need to tell their story, to get it out there, and they’re not looking for a particular reaction or emotional response? Well, Abigail is that second type of friend – she has these beautiful stories and characters inside her, and she just wants to get them out there, to share them with her readers, but she’s not jerking on your emotional strings just for the heck of it. Her characters will elicit strong reactions in you, as Jolene’s parents did for me, but even with all their faults they never veer over the line into caricatures that feel designed to create those specific feelings. Again, it’s all just so natural and so good, you’re swept up in the story without feeling like you’re being pulled along.
Anyway, I’m not sure if that all makes sense (it does in my head, but kind of hard to put on paper!), but suffice it to say that I adore Abigail’s books and I want to introduce her to as many readers as I can. If you are a contemporary fan, this is a no-brainer, must-read for you. If you want a book that deals with some tough issues in a very organic way, pick this one up. And if you enjoy a good story of first love, definitely don’t let this one pass you by. I highly recommend Every Other Weekend!
Rating: 5 bright stars!
**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for purposes of this blog/Instagram tour. This review is voluntary on my part and reflects my honest rating and review of the book.
 

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