Leta’s Book Review: Some Mistakes Were Made by Kristin Dwyer

Firstly, congratulations to Kristin Dwyer on her debut novel! I’ve been a huge fan of Adrienne Young’s novels for a while now and when she began promoting her friend’s new book I was sold! Since I’ve been getting into contemporary romance lately, I was doubly sold when I read the synopsis for Some Mistakes Were Made.

We meet Ellis, our protagonist, at her high school graduation ceremony in California as she’s confronted with returning to her hometown. Returning is something she’s dreading, but eventually, she’s convinced to go and face the people she’s wronged. Of course, we don’t find out what exactly happened until much further into the novel.

This is a romance above anything else, though it doesn’t feel that way in the beginning. It takes Ellis and Easton a while to begin allowing themselves to start that journey. I was afraid for a while that I wasn’t going to enjoy this novel since I wasn’t a big fan of Ellis in the beginning. She seemed to be making a huge deal about whatever happened a year ago when she was forced to move to California and since I didn’t know what that thing was, her behaviour didn’t seem justified. She was whiny and entitled and acted like everything that happened to her was a betrayal. However, her character is redeemed a bit when the chapters from the past delve deeper and we learn more about her parents and the life that she lived. It makes sense that Ellis ended up the way that she did, it’s just hard to like her.

I loved the rest of the cast. They were all complex, real people with motivations. Easton and his family were the perfect cast to surround Ellis with. I could see the multifaceted relationships between them all and how Ellis was included in that as a sister and friend.

The true star of the show here is the writing itself. Kristin Dwyer’s voice is strong. Her command of structure and emotion is phenomenal. I felt the emotions of each character deeply and purely, without her having to tell me. It was all shown, mostly in the body language of the characters. I’ve found this a hard thing to pull off myself as a writer, but Dwyer does it flawlessly. I could see Easton and Ellis as they stood in the kitchen, or on the dock down by the water. Every feeling they had was visible and clear, even in the moments when no one spoke. True mastery of emotional writing.

The structure of the plot was beautiful. The story kept moving swiftly along, despite jumping from present to past, which is an impressive thing to do without losing tension or immersion. Dwyer not only keeps the tension going but is able to raise it with each chapter no matter when it takes place. It’s impressive, especially for a debut.

Kristin Dwyer’s writing made reading Some Mistakes Were Made an experience. Ellis’s character was the main negative point, but it was more than made up for by the writing. It’s also easy for me to say that Ellis is a realistic teenager given her backstory and all of the stuff she’s been through. My personal opinion of her behaviour doesn’t weigh very much now that I’ve finished this novel and thought about the ‘why’s’ behind her actions.

I’ll be recommending this novel for a while to come. Kristin Dwyer’s debut promises an amazing career of astonishing writing since it almost always just gets better from here (and it’s starting out so well!). I can’t wait to see what she writes next, whether it’s in the romance genre, or she branches out into something new. Kristin, thank you for the experience of reading your novel. It’s truly a pleasure to read.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5/5


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