The concept of your friends making resolutions for you is both fun and terrifying, I would love to try it! I think it’s a fun idea for a book and it would have been even better if I had read The Resolutions closer to New Years. Alas, I read it halfway through the year and totally botched that one up… oops.
New Years are for fresh starts, but Jess just wants everything to go back to the way it was.
From hiking trips, to four-person birthday parties, to never-ending group texts, Jess, Lee, Ryan, and Nora have always been inseparable—and unstoppable. But now, with senior year on the horizon, they’ve been splintering off and growing apart. And so, as always, Jess makes a plan.
Reinstating their usual tradition of making resolutions together on New Year’s Eve, Jess adds a new twist: instead of making their own resolutions, the four friends assign them for each other—dares like kiss someone you know is wrong for you, show your paintings, learn Spanish, say yes to everything.
But not even the best laid plans can take into account the uncertainties of life. As the year unfolds, Jess, Ryan, Nora, and Lee each test the bonds that hold them together. And amid first loves, heart breaks, and life-changing decisions, beginning again is never as simple as it seems.
I think the summary is a tad misleading because there isn’t much of an emphasis on growing apart as the summary implies. It is a part of the story, but most of the story focuses on individual development that then allows for the group of become closer. And that’s really cool! These resolutions were specifically crafted to help the individual realize his/her own dreams, desires, and potential. That’s pretty cute in itself but the fact that the friend group crafted these for each other makes it even cuter.
The book is told in alternating POV between Jess, Nora, Ryan, and Lee. It was difficult at first to tell them apart but I was able to pick up their personalities quickly so the POV changes were easy after that.
The cast of characters was diverse and each character struggled with his/her own issue. Nora gives up on her own dreams for her mom’s, Jess can’t stop doing too much and it takes a toll on her mental health, Ryan is still depressed after a breakup and has lost his passion for painting, and Lee struggles with grief after her mother’s death and her embarrassment over not being able to speak Spanish. Mixed in with these struggles we have some really strong friendships and super cute romances, that help lighten the tone and make things more relatable for the reader.
The middle did feel like it got too long. I knew where the characters were going but it felt like the author was holding them back for no apparent reason, which also made the plot feel stalled. Still, the beginning and end of the book were compelling, relatable, cute, and intense, making the slower middle easier to deal with.
I’d definitely recommend this book if you like books about self-identity, friendship, and going outside your comfort zone. Will you try this method of New Year’s resolutions for 2020? Let me know!