Book Review: All That We Never Were by Alice Kellen

All That We Never Were by Alice Kellen. Image Courtesy of Sourcebooks Casablanca.
All That We Never Were by Alice Kellen. Image Courtesy of Sourcebooks Casablanca. /

There are romance books in every language you can imagine. That’s why seeing a book like All That We Never Were get translated into English is a big deal.

While the book was originally published in Spanish, Sourcebooks Casablanca picked it up and now, we’re getting both books in the series. The Let It Be series starts with All That We Never Were and ends with All That We Were Together.

As someone who admittedly doesn’t read much-translated fiction, I was extremely excited about this one. Plus it’s one of the big releases for Sourcebooks Casablanca this season so when I received an ARC, I knew I had to pick it up.

With that being said, I’d like to thank Sourcebooks Casablanca for sending me an ARC for me to read and review for all of you.

All That We Never Were is a heartbreakingly good read.

If you’re new to Alice Kellen such as myself, don’t worry because this book is so easy to fall into but it’s not an easy read. If you’ve never heard of this book, then you better get ready for an emotional rollercoaster so let’s get into it.

The book follows Leah Jones who is 19 and still reeling from the death of her parents. Her brother, Oliver takes over her care and gets an amazing opportunity. The only issue is that Leah has to stay with someone and that someone happens to be Axel Nguyen, his best friend who is 10 years her senior.

While the book begins with the two mostly avoiding each other, it quickly evolves into Axel getting Leah out of her shell and pushing her to live life. It does take a lot of convincing on his part yet she eventually starts to return to normal. Given this book takes place over a couple of months, it makes sense.

Then things start to heat up between Leah and Axel. She’s been pining for him since she was a kid and he never saw her that way until recently. Regardless, these two begin hooking up and agree to tell Oliver. As you might imagine, things blow up in their face and the story ends there. That cliffhanger was enough to make me scream for book 2 and to see how things work out for both of them.

All That We Never Were is an incredibly emotional and frankly, taxing read. Leah is dealing with the loss of her parents, has PTSD, has anxiety and just reeling from her life being upended by a tragic accident. In addition, Axel is trying to figure out what he wants to do in life. Axel’s family was incredibly close to Leah’s too so there are a lot of emotions and feelings to unpack within these pages.

The one thing I will say is that this book was incredibly well-paced. The chapters were short and they kept my attention. I ended up reading this book in two sittings and considering how long it is, that’s a feat. The only thing that didn’t sit right with me was Axel’s methods for putting Leah out there.

I knew that Axel meant well with trying to push her to do things but he really wouldn’t take no for an answer. He almost pushed her until she was uncomfortable. I didn’t like that but other than that behavior, the book ended up being solid for me. I’m incredibly excited to pick up the next book in the series and this ended up being an amazing vacation read.

All That We Never Were by Alice Kellen is out now where your favorite books are sold. 

Will you be picking up a copy of All That We Never Were? Let us know in the comments!

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