Review | We Are Inevitable by Gayle Forman

‘I got this whole-body feeling… it was like a message from future me to present me, telling me that in some way we weren’t just bound to happen, that we had, in some sense, already happened. It felt… inevitable.’

So far, the inevitable hasn’t worked out so well for Aaron Stein.

While his friends have gone to college and moved on with their lives, Aaron’s been left behind in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, running a failing bookshop with his dad, Ira. What he needs is a lucky break, the good kind of inevitable.

And then he meets Hannah. Incredible Hannah – magical, musical, brave and clever. Could she be the answer? And could they – their relationship, their meeting – possibly be the inevitable Aaron’s been waiting for?

“Twenty-six letters and some punctuation marks and you have infinite words in infinite worlds. How is that not a miracle?”

We Are Inevitable is a love letter to both booksellers and music, and as someone who is passionate about both, I loved seeing the two intersect. It is also a much more melancholy read than one would expect from the synopsis, diving into heavy topics which include addiction and grief.

The main character, Aaron, is quite abrasive; he’s always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and this cynicism causes him to keep others at arms’ length. While the reason behind his prickliness was revealed over time, it made it tough for me to become fully invested in him.

Unsurprisingly, I also wasn’t invested in Aaron and Hannah’s relationship. The notion of their “inevitability” felt a lot like insta-love, though I was pleasantly surprised to see that brought up in a critical light in the latter portion of the book.

The secondary characters, however, charmed me every time they appeared on the page. The big-hearted Lumberjacks (especially Ike!) and Chad brought much-needed levity and optimism to the story. The secondary characters also had great representation: Chad uses a wheelchair, Jax uses they/them pronouns, Ike’s wife has fibromyalgia, and several characters have depression and anxiety.

Overall, We Are Inevitable was a quick but poignant read; despite having a rocky start with the main character, I finished it in one sitting. As always, I look forward to reading what Gayle Forman writes next.

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