The April Tree by Judith Arnold.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

While this book is not the happiest story to be told, the reader can guess this by reading the premise. What it is, however, is interesting. Reading the different stories of how the three girls dealt with the guilt of April’s death, as well as how the driver of the car that killed April dealt with it, was interesting.

Half the book is devoted to the girls’ stories as fifteen-year-olds, then the other half occurred 5 years later. Little is mentioned of Mark, the driver, in the beginning sections – just enough that we get a glimpse of how unhappy and terribly guilty he feels – but in the second half of the book, he plays a much larger role. He has become an alcoholic and Elyse meets him randomly, then – upon discovering that he was the driver that accidentally killed April years ago – decides that she and the other two girls, Becky and Florie, need to “save” him.

The April Tree has many unexpected twists and turns, and that is one of the things I enjoyed about it. The reason that it didn’t get a full 5 star rating from me was its depiction of Christianity. It was a fundamentalist, cult-like “Christian” sect to be sure, but it was very frustrating for me to read about. However, it was believable since sadly organizations like that do exist out there, and it did have its place in the storyline. Overall, a good read, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a story with a fascinating set of protagonists and a storyline that does the unexpected.

Many thanks to BellBridgeBooks via NetGalley for an opportunity to read and review this book.

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