Fade to Us is a moving novel about family, first love, and what it means to be a great sister, even when circumstances make it difficult to be your best.
I went into Fade to Us wondering just how much I was going to enjoy it. While I have read a ton of novels that focus on theater, I can’t say that I’ve ever been obsessive about it in my life, so sometimes I feel that I can’t really relate to some novels which have theater as a major subject. In the case of this book, though, I felt right at home the whole way through, and I couldn’t put it down.
Brooke has her whole summer all planned out – she’s taking a new job at the jewelry store and planning to save up money to finally buy herself the car she wants. Along with that, she’s starting to slowly warm up to her mother’s new husband, which has been difficult considering it has just been the two of them for Brooke’s whole life, but she is trying.
When her stepfather tells Brooke and her mom that his daughter, Natalie, will be moving into the house for the summer at the very least, Brooke and her mom are torn. Sure, they both like Natalie and are open for spending time with her, but Natalie has Asperger’s and it can be difficult to understand her, so they are a little worried about how it will go.
“‘There is nothing calm about the theater, which is why they call it drama.'”
At first, Brooke isn’t all that thrilled to have Natalie around, especially when it starts costing her her friends, but when she points out that Natalie should join the theater camp for their production of Oklahoma!, things start to look up. At least until Natalie has a meltdown at the camp, and Brooke has to be the one to save the day – causing her to choose between being there for her stepsister or keeping her job.
When Brooke decides she wants to join in and be an assistant to the director and Micah, she figures she will have the ability to be there for Natalie if she needs her. What she doesn’t anticipate, however, is how fast she will fall for Micah, and what the rest of their summer will bring them.
“‘Can you ever let the stress go?’
He turned toward me, our faces only inches apart.
‘I can let it go when I’m with you.'”
So Brooke and Micah start dating and spending time together – secretly. Brooke doesn’t want Natalie to know about them, because she fears it will trigger a meltdown and cause issues between them. However, Brooke soon finds that she won’t be able to keep them a secret forever.
I really loved the characters in Fade to Us. Brooke was such a fun character, didn’t take nonsense from anyone, knew how to stand up for herself and what she believed in, and wasted no time trying to keep her entire family happy. I loved her wit, her intelligence, and I really loved how amazing she was with her step-sister Natalie.
Micah’s character was interesting, too. I wish we could have gotten a better glimpse into his world, and I thought that this would have been a great chance to throw in a few characters narrated by Micah. He was more or less aloof and difficult to really figure out, but he seemed like a fantastic guy who was patient, kind, and really just trying to figure himself out.
I have a daughter with Autism and I can completely understand some of Natalie’s behaviors. They can be scary, they can be hard to cope with, and they can often be challenging for those around her. I like how the author portrayed Natalie’s Asperger’s in a positive light, instead of making it seem as though Natalie might be a burden on her family (I’ve read other books with autistic characters who have written them this way, and it’s infuriating).
Fade to Us has such a strong focus on family and a bond between two sisters that is the kind of book that is heartwarming and moving. I really loved this book, from the very first page through the very last. If you love a book with a lot of family ties, this is a great one to check out. It’s both lighthearted and deep, but emotional the whole way through. It was brilliantly written and beautiful.
JULIA DAY lives in North Carolina, halfway between the beaches and the mountains. She has two
twenty-something daughters, one geeky old husband, and too many computers to count. When she's
not writing software or stories, Julia enjoys traveling to faraway places, watching dance reality shows on
TV, and making a dent in her To-Be- Read pile. Julia is the author of YA contemporary romances The
Possibility of Somewhere and Fade to Us (Feb 2018).