Cait’s ARC Review of “The C Word” by Michelle MacQueen and Ann Maree Craven

By: Cait Marie

*I received a free ARC of this book from the authors for my honest review.*

This is book three in the Redefining Me series.
Read my review of book one, The F Word, here.
Read my review of book two, The N Word, here.

One tragic accident causes a group of friends to drift apart and deal with grief and guilt as they move on with their lives.

After the accident, Peyton dealt with her grief by working on her weight gain and creating the popular app No BS; Cameron went to rehab to work on adapting to life with his new prosthetic leg; Avery became more involved with the popular kids as the star football player; Nari hid her true self by becoming a secret rock star in the band Anonymous; Julian left to live with his uncle after the death of his twin brother; and Addison closes herself off to all those around her, also emerging herself into the popular crowd as the head cheerleader.

The series starts 18 months after the accident, and the group of friends are all back at school together, struggling to find their place once more. The C Word focuses on Julian and Addison after the two-year mark.

Cooper and Julian got into a huge fight during their Christmas party two years before, which led to Cooper driving off and getting into the accident. Most of the group knows something happened between Addison and Cooper that led to this fight, but not what happened. Only Addison and Julian know the truth, and both struggle with guilt as they don’t miss their dead friend/brother.

Julian is in the secret band with Nari, Becks, and Wylder, but his true passion is books. With the encouragement from his anonymous, book-loving friend on No BS, he writes his own book.

Meanwhile, Addison begins to learn who her true friends are and realizes there’s more to cheerleading and the future sorority plans her mother has for her. When her anonymous No BS friend shares his book, she puts her love of reading to use and helps him edit.

Julian has always liked Addison, but she only had eyes for his twin. Now, she struggles just being near Julian, and as hard as it is for him, he understands. They unknowingly grow close through the app, becoming what each other needs, and work through their grief and guilt together.

Oh, boy. Where to start… Like the first two books, I absolutely loved The C World. The authors have done such a good job at bringing real issues to life in a beautiful way. Each has had it’s own theme or problem that the characters deal with, but overall it’s about finding acceptance in oneself.

This story was a lot more emotional, in my opinion. Both characters are “broody,” and there is a lot of internal dark thoughts. While I’ve personally struggled with what the other characters face in this series, I haven’t ever had Addison’s experience. I think that’s why it hit me a little harder than most of the others. It’s an awful situation that I can only imagine. After two other books, I’m attached to these characters, and I don’t like to see my precious babies hurting. The sensitive subject was very well handled, though.

Julian was the more relatable one for me in this book. I’ve loved the “loner” since book one, and it was great being able to finally get inside his head. There were so many times, especially when he was thinking or talking about writing, that I thought, “Oh my gosh, is that me?” It was great! I loved seeing him grow as a character, both of them for that matter. And, of course, I got more of my precious Becks, who I somehow love even more now. I didn’t think that was possible.

When I was finishing this book, I mentally compared all three stories, and it occurred to me that each was relatable at a specific time in my own life. In The F Word, Peyton and Cameron both deal with their physical appearances—Peyton with her weight and Cameron with his new disability. These are what I struggled with tremendously in middle school and high school. Then, in The N Word, Nari has trouble coming to terms with the different sides of herself and where she belongs, which is what I dealt with during my first attempt at college. The C Word wraps up the series with Julian being afraid to put himself out into the world as an author and to follow his dreams. This is where I was for the last year and a half or so. I’m only just starting to acknowledge the fact that I am a writer.

This series was so so good (understatement)! I’m sad it’s over, but each book ended well. It’s definitely a re-read in the future/buy all the physical copies series. The characters were all written in a realistic, relatable way that really puts the reader into the story. I cannot wait for Becks book this fall!! I will absolutely continue reading both authors. If you like sweet contemporaries that deal with real issues, definitely check out these books.

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