The Weight of Life (Whitney Barbetti)

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-Mila-
“Don’t let go.” Those were my first words to him, as I hung over the side of a London bridge. The words I would soon say again, in a moment that didn’t involve bridges, but something much more fragile: my heart.

He held onto me for three weeks, in a time when I needed to be held. Needed to connect to someone who understood how loss tunneled unrepentantly through the fabric of your soul.

Although he said he’d stay, we both knew he wouldn’t. I had already survived one loss—I didn’t know if I’d survive another.

-Ames-
She spun into my life like a tornado of smiles and chatter and everything else I’d long avoided, with a persistence that I admired, albeit begrudgingly. She broke down each neat wall I’d constructed without even trying. Her presence alone caused me to remember what it felt like to smile, to look forward to what the day would bring.

But it was only supposed to last three weeks.

“Don’t let go,” she’d pleaded.

I’d promised her I wouldn’t—but I would. I didn’t have a choice. 

What Whitney did with this book was bring two completely different people from two completely different worlds together and make me believe in them and love them and accept them for all that they are.

In The Weight of Life not only do we have two strangers meeting unconventionally but we have an established connection. And a strong one at that! A connection that Whitney so diligently delivers to readers without forcing it or shoving it into their faces. Without saying “here is Ames. Here is Mila. Love them.” Slowly, Whitney eases us into their lives and their surroundings and it’s an ease and comfortability we never knew we were looking for.

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Ames. Ugh, I couldn’t have asked for a more developed character. Watching his growth from the beginning of the book and to the end and the way he opens up and transforms one chapter at a time was one of my absolute most favorite things in this book. And Mila, she’s so different from Whitney’s other characters but one of my favorites nonetheless. Whitney took a ray of sunshine and gave her so many real feelings that I hurt for her. So many flaws and proof that even the happy ones hurt. Even when she didn’t want her hurt to show.

“Summer.” When I crinkled my brow, he took a sip of his sangria. I could feel his heart calm, the beats slow to a rhythm not unlike my own. “The sun shines the longest in the summer, making the days last longer than the nights. And when I first saw you on the bridge, you looked like summer to me. It made no sense, not at that time of night, on the cusp of fall, that I could look at you and see so much sun. There’s comfort in night, in the dark—a safety that the sun cannot guarantee.”

Not very often do I find books like this. Just…a good love story. Two good people with two good hearts. Two souls and two weights of life. Two stars plus two stars plus one. FIVE!

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