Backlist ARC Review – Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn

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Title: Never Saw You Coming

Author: Erin Hahn

Publication Date: September 7, 2021

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Number of Pages: 320

Never Saw You ComingSummary (From Goodreads): Raised by conservative parents, 18-year-old Meg Hennessey just found out her entire childhood was a lie. Instead of taking a gap year before college to find herself, she ends up traveling north to meet what’s left of the family she never knew existed.

While there, she meets Micah Allen, a former pastor’s kid whose dad ended up in prison, leaving Micah with his own complicated relationship about the church. The clock is ticking on Pastor Allen’s probation hearing and Micah, now 19, feels the pressure to forgive – even when he can’t possibly forget.

As Meg and Micah grow closer, they are confronted with the heavy flutterings of first love and all the complications it brings. Together, they must navigate the sometimes-painful process of cutting ties with childhood beliefs as they build toward something truer and straight from the heart.

In Erin Hahn’s Never Saw You Coming, sometimes it takes a leap of faith to find yourself.

Review: Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me with an advanced copy of this book through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I want to start this review by saying that I’ve been trying to write it for months. I read this book before it was released, but I’ve been struggling to find the words to talk about it because it’s the book that I didn’t know that I needed in my life.

Never Saw You Coming is a coming-of-age book that features a super cute romance, but it also deals with some heavy topics, like balancing faith and the Church, specifically the Evangelical church.

The first thing that I want to talk about are the two main characters in this book. Meg Hennessey grew up in a very conservative and Christian home, where she was homeschooled, and the Church had a massive influence on her life. When she finds out that her parents kept a giant secret from her, she starts to question everything that she thought she knew, including her faith. She decides to travel to Northern Michigan to meet the family she didn’t know existed and take some time to evaluate everything in her life and decide what happens next. Micah Allen is hurting. His father, who he adored and was a pastor, is in prison for crimes against his congregation. Micah isn’t reading to forgive his father, even though he’s feeling the pressure to do so. He’s also questioning everything he thought he knew and evaluating his life and what happens next. Both of these characters are struggling with their relationship with the Church they grew up in and with God.

Meg and Micah are both memorable characters, and I loved both of them. It’s clear that both of them are hurting, they’re conflicted, and they’re trying to navigate life now that their worlds have been flipped upside down. Meg and Micah are both dealing with similar things, and they’re able to relate to each other, become friends, and eventually become more than friends. I liked how their friendship progressed into a romantic relationship and how they could help each other navigate everything that was going on in their lives.

As far as the religious aspect goes, this is why this book is the book I didn’t know I needed in my life. I grew up Catholic; I went to church basically every Sunday, volunteered with the youth group, and all of that jazz until I went away for university. However, I’ve always had an internal issue reconciling faith and belief in God with the Church as an organization. I’ve often thought that it’s strange that God is supposed to love us, but the Church adds a bunch of terms and conditions to that love. Anyway, I bring this up because this struggle is similar to Meg’s struggle, and I really enjoyed reading about it.

From the last paragraph, it’s clear that this book deals with some heavy topics. It’s critical of the Evangelical church and how you can do everything right and love God with all of your heart, then be shunned for one little sin. It also deals with a Pastor who was found guilty of taking advantage of his congregation and committed several transgressions. Finally, there’s a search and rescue scene in the book that left me on the edge of my seat, and there were moments during it that were a bit tough to get through.

I also liked the side characters in this book. Meg’s friend Vega seems amazing, and I’m hoping to read More Than Maybe soon, which features her as the main character. I also liked Micah’s best friend, whose name I cannot remember for the life of me, but I’d be interested in reading a book where he’s the main character. This book also features a very lovable dog, and I think all books should feature loveable four-legged creatures.

This book isn’t for everyone. There will be many people who pick this up and are totally turned off by the religious aspect, or they just won’t get it. But for that section of the population of people who grew up with the Church playing a role in their lives and they’ve questioned or struggled with faith versus the Church, this book will make you feel less alone. The romance is also super cute, which is an excellent bonus.

Rating: 5 Stars!

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