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Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite
Better To Trust by Heather Frimmer involves Alison Jacobs’ struggle with aphasia from neurosurgery. Her sister, Cynthia, is married to a renowned neurosurgeon, Grant Kaplan. Unbeknownst to others, Grant has been abusing Adderall and Oxycontin for years. Meanwhile, Sadie Kaplan has made a new friend in Piper. When Sadie brings Piper to her house, Piper steals a bottle of pills and money from Sadie’s parents’ bedroom. When Grant operates on Alison, he has to excuse himself during the surgery, and he passes out on a bench outside the operating room. Despite every effort to prevent damage, Alison awakens, unable to speak or control the right side of her body. Michael valiantly sticks by Alison’s side while she works through physical therapy. Unknown to her husband, Alison isn’t thinking about recovery. Alison’s depression is the result of not continuing her affair with Becca. Told from the views of Alison, Grant, and Sadie, the family drama unfolds with life-altering choices affecting everyone around them.
Heather Frimmer created a medical drama that I couldn’t stop reading. Viewing the story through three different characters, Better To Trust held my attention from start to finish. I liked how the transitioning was effortless. I always knew whose eyes I was looking through. As the story unfolded, I began to dislike Alison because of the affair with Becca. She seemed to take for granted that everyone should cater to her. Her lack of care for the feelings of her family left me angry with the choices she made. Sadie was definitely more connected to Grant than she was with Cynthia. Cynthia hardly seemed to notice her daughter’s activities, while Sadie rarely hid anything from Grant. She also trusted Alison, but I believe that before Alison had surgery, she lived vicariously through her niece. Every character was well-developed, and their personalities made their motivations easy to understand. A standalone book, the resolution to the story ties many loose ends together without feeling rushed. This is a book with plenty of conflicts involving interpersonal relationships, drama, addiction, and peer pressure. I believe that young adults could benefit from reading this as it dives deep into how decisions made today could ultimately affect you further down the road.