[Book Review] In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn

This book was an Amazon First Reads choice for me and it had me from the moment I started reading it. Finn is such a delightful character, sixteen, happy, athletic, smart as a whip but thinking she messes everything up. Her mother is a shrew of a lawyer and her dad is the full time caretaker of her mentally disabled hulk of a thirteen year old brother. The rest of the family is made up of Aubrey, who is getting married in five months, and Chloe, her goth eighteen year old sister, inseparable from her tennis playing goth boyfriend. The marriage of Finn’s mom and dad is barely hanging by a thread and as they leave for a three day vacation in the snow covered mountains, her moms swears that the marriage is over. 

Along for the trip are Bob and Karen and their spoiled teenage daughter and Mo, Finn’s best friend. Aubrey has stayed home but the rest of the family, the neighbor’s family, Mo, and a young man needing a ride, fly over the mountain side when the camper that everyone is riding in, has to swerve to miss a deer. The damage is devastating, with Finn caught in a limbo that is death but not quite, being able to follow the other characters as they try to survive the wreck and then as they try to deal with the physical, mental, and emotional consequences of the wreck, their actions and reactions, their guilt and overwhelming grief. 

See also: [Book review] Foregone by Russell Banks

This story was so good and it makes you think at every turn. Could you put another child’s welfare above your own child, in an event where every action could mean life or death, losing or keeping a digit or a limb? Just how selfish would you be when it could be a matter your life vs another person’s life. So much guilt, grief, and pain and so many secrets by everyone. Finn is a helpless bystander to all of this, not knowing why she can still see her family when she knows she is dead. I’m to thankful that I chose this book as my First Reads pick. 

Moving, poignant, and ultimately redemptive, In an Instant is an unforgettable tale about grief, mortality, and what it means to be human. I really don’t want to say too much about this story, because it would be a grave sin to ruin a perfectly wonderful reading experience for those wishing to pick up the book, but I’ll say this: I cried, I sobbed, and I couldn’t put this book down. Seriously, I read it in a single sitting. This is a book I won’t soon forget, and as a daddy’s girl myself, I most intensely related to Finn and Jack’s arc. sobs some more Please do yourself a favor and get your hands on this book as soon as physically possible! This is my first read by the author but certainly won’t be my last.

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In an Instant….thank goodness I had tissues on hand.

In an Instant, lives are changed forever. Sixteen-year-old Finn is dead after a tragic car accident. Finn keeps vigil, watching as those she loves struggle to survive and move on with their lives.

Add me to the list of people who sat down and read this book in one day. Whew! I won’t tell you anything else about the book except that it is a moving, thought provoking look at what loss does to an individual and to a family. The choices and sacrifices people make to survive. The tears shed and the grief that comes after tragedy. For me this was a tearjerker. I didn’t want to put this book down as I wanted to know what would happen next. How these people and families would cope. This is also a character study on human nature – what will people do to survive. Will they go against their nature or will their true nature be shown? When ordinary people are put in extraordinary situations, what choices will they make?

Grab some tissues and a comfy spot to read as this is absorbing, emotional, engrossing, moving, and thought provoking. It is well written, and nothing felt rushed or drawn out. Don’t stop reading when the book ends, the Author’s note is informative and tells of her own childhood story of survival.

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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