Review: Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook

Publisher: Simon Pulse (February 25th 2014)
Hardcover: 272 pages
Add on: Goodreads
Rating: 5 of 5 Star

As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared—they were both adopted.

Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact…until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it’s urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom—but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party.

Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora’s loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora’s who is also looking for a way to respect Nora’s legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she’s really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics…

After reading Unraveling Isobel last year (I believe it was last year), I knew I had to pick up Year of Mistaken Discoveries. Unraveling Isobel had been an awesome mix of contemporary romance and mystery and for me there’s nothing like a good dose of YA contemporary romance. While Year of Mistaken Discoveries is far from the usual light-hearted fluff novels I love, it reminded me so much of Golden by Jessi Kirby. Probably because of the big senior project that both authors use. Anyways, even though the book was on the thin side there was a ton of FEELS in Year of Mistaken Discoveries. Do not underestimate the powers of the feels that you don’t unexpectantly get just because it’s a short book.


Right away the beginning had me cracking up. Colton didn’t seem to be the brightest light bulb as far as first impressions go, even though he was a Harvard shoo in. I mean he proves the drinking can kill a few of your brain cells, but his opening does set the tone for the novel and not only that I know I was going to crack up.

“I never thought about it before, but Jesus was adopted” (P1).

But, I’m not going to talk about Colton and how he and Avery seemed to lack chemistry. I mean even though Avery was probably upset about Shannon and Colton getting together it didn’t feel that way throughout the book like she was upset at him for dumping her.

But, the FEELS. There was a lot of Oscar-worthy speech FEELS. The kind that tear you up instead even though they might seem cheesy at first. I kind of teared up a bit. Anyways it was pretty sad that Nora and Avery drifted apart during the course of their friendship until the night up she died. I seriously thought they were going to mend things and that the blurb of the novel was a lie, but alas that was not meant to be. T__T But, this is where it feels like The F-It List by Julie Helpern. It feels like the senior project she does is part of a bucket list that Nora has forgo, but ultimately failed which now Avery decides to take up the mission and find her own birth mom. I can’t relate to Avery on adoption, but I can relate to how their friendship just drifted apart with no warning and no fighting how it didn’t work out. While Avery does this to impress her admission for Duke, it ends up being more personal. Avery’s other friends, Lydia and Shannon (who she ditched Nora for) seemed shallow and superficial at first, but they really do care about Avery. They support her. I’m not sure what was going on about the cheerleading thing with Avery at the end, but that seem to feel off to the side.

Okay, so let’s talk about Brody. I loved Brody. He was funny (trust me when I say that literally laughed out loud at his jokes about Batman) and understanding about the senior project, even though he wasn’t all that into it when he finds out that it was to impress the admissions for Duke. And okay it probably didn’t help that Nora and Avery had the same senior project, but I liked Brody for going along on Nora’s and Avery’s crazy project.

“Oh yes he did. He said, and I’m quoting here, ‘Batman wouldn’t have existed without pain and emotion,'” Brody’s lip curled up in a half smile. “I think he was actively disappointed that I didn’t break down right then and there, vowing to take up a life as a secret hero vigilante to avenge Nora” (P72-73).

You can’t read that passage without smiling or snickering. The whole senior presentation felt like one big apology, but it teared me up. It gave me the feels. I had to put my book down, take a deep breath before diving back in. Anyways Avery’s parents were pretty awesome parents, even though they seemed the type that says “you better get into this school or else.” Like they can be cool, but strict when they need to be. I was expecting some kind of retaliation from Avery at the end – like a huge blow out about how Duke wasn’t what she wanted – but there wasn’t. She just goes along with the flow and I’m left wondering was that really okay for her to follow her adopted parent’s footsteps. Even though there was complications between Avery and her birth mother, you know that her adopted parents cares a lot about her.

Overall, Year of Mistaken Discoveries was a fast paced read filled with laughing out loud moments for diehard YA contemporary romance fans.

Author: Jackie

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