I probably wouldn't have gone for this on my own, but a reviewer I follow was RAVING about it being the best thing since sliced bread, so I was like, what the hell, I'm been pleasantly surprised before. Unfortunately, it did not happen here.
I thought the attempt to show history through flashbacks, rather than just tell, was a valiant effort, but it was used far too much. There were too many long flashbacks so that we the timeline was constantly jumping back and forth. The premise makes it sounds like this story starts once Ambrose returns from war. But it actually starts their senior year of high school. And from there, there are multiple flashbacks to when they were kids. It covers the last year of high school, the 2 years in the war and then it gets to present day. It was a lot of build up and it just never grabbed me.
I also never connected with the MCs. The one character I really liked though was Bailey. Bailey is Fern's cousin and best friend and was as big of a character to the story as Ambrose and Fern. He suffers from muscular dystrophy, loses his ability to walk and eventually move his arms. Despite the odds that he will die young, or rather because of it, he lives in the present and has a great vest for life. He was easily my favorite character and the only emotional response I had with this book was due to his plotline near the end of the book.