Review: The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen


Title: The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years #2)
Author: Sarina Bowen
Date of publication: 1 June 2014
Genre: New Adult, College, Sports

Author links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter Goodreads

My rating: 4 Stars


She’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small.

Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror. 

It’s a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet’s fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.

Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.

The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.


This is the second book in the Ivy Years series. Since I loved The Year We Fell Down (my review) continued right away with book 2 which tells the story of Bridger (Hartley's best friend from book 1) and Scarlet. 

This was a great NA romance - heartbreaking but a bit more typical and predictable than Adam Hartley and Corey Callahan's story. Still, I quite like the writing of Ms Bowen, she manages to create some complex stories with lovable characters which draw you in and keep you invested in the their fate till the very end. And when I say predictable this doesn't exclude having some unexpected twists in this story. They were there, especially towards the end. I didn't see them coming at all but I added tension to the suspense element of the plot.

Bridger and Scarlet meet in Harkness college where they both keep some big secrets. She is running away from her previous self (she has even legally changed her name) and he is struggling with a very complicated domestic situation. 

They start off as friends while there is an undeniable attraction between them, they both have too much worries on their plates and no time for love. Eventually they get together and their secrets are slowly unraveled. 

Scarlet's story was very unusual and intriguing. Ms Bowen kept the suspense till the very end and I didn't know how things will work out for Scarlet until the final pages. Her problems were really painful and difficult to deal with especially since she had no one to share her secrets with. She couldn't even be honest with Bridger because this would put him in danger as well. 

Bridger's secret came to light earlier and it was easy for Scarlet (and his friends) to deal with it. His problems were very real, practical and easy to understand. I liked how determined he was to make things work for him and Lucy. 

The story stands out among other NA college romances with its very realistic presentation of young people struggling with some very difficult situations in their lives. The dual POV makes the narrative convincing and it becomes easy for the reader to relate to both of Bridger and Scarlet.

Just as in the first book in the series, here again we have the college atmosphere well presented and once again hockey, though important for both character, is present mostly indirectly. 

My main complaint has to do with the major plot twist in the end the very rushed the resolution of the conflict in Scarlet's life. 

*Spoiler* (Select the paragraph in order to see the spoiler)
I feel that the author tried too hard to separate Scarlet from her father and his crimes in order to keep her character being all nice and proper. She is her own person and she was not aware of the crimes he committed, so nobody should judge her for them.

Overall, it this book was a worthy sequel to The Year We Fell Down and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a good college romance with interesting characters dealing with some serious real-life issues. Now I'm looking forward to book 3, The Understatement of the Year, which will feature a gay couple of college hockey players. It releases on 25 Oct 2014 and I can't wait to read it.
Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks 

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