Our Song

( 13 )


Olive Bell has spent her entire life in the beautiful suburb of Vista Valley, with a picture-perfect home, a loving family, and a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a near-fatal car accident, she’s haunted by a broken heart and a melody that she cannot place.

Then Olive meets Nick. He’s dark, handsome, mysterious . . . and Olive feels connected to him in a way she can’t explain. Is there such a thing as fate? The two embark on a whirlwind ...

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Our Song

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Olive Bell has spent her entire life in the beautiful suburb of Vista Valley, with a picture-perfect home, a loving family, and a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a near-fatal car accident, she’s haunted by a broken heart and a melody that she cannot place.

Then Olive meets Nick. He’s dark, handsome, mysterious . . . and Olive feels connected to him in a way she can’t explain. Is there such a thing as fate? The two embark on a whirlwind romance—until Nick makes a troubling confession.

Heartbroken, Olive pieces together what really happened the night of her accident and arrives at a startling revelation. Only by facing the truth can she uncover the mystery behind the song and the power of what it means to love someone.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fraiberg (In Your Room) has written a tender and truthful story about a high school senior looking to reinvent herself after a brush with death. Everything changes for Olive Bell the night she runs her longtime boyfriend’s Mini Cooper into a pole in a near-fatal accident. Now Derek isn’t speaking to her, her mother is hovering like she expects Olive might slit her wrists, her father is keeping late hours, and her grades no longer feel important. Then Olive meets drop-dead gorgeous Nick at the Near-Death Society, a support group for people in her situation. Nick appears to know just what Olive needs to do to reconnect to the world, but he also has secrets. Olive’s waffling between Nick and Derek is at the core of Fraiberg’s story, but her subplots give it depth. Olive’s conflicts with her mother and her best friend help her make some much-needed realizations, as does a touching reminiscence with her father. Still, Fraiberg lets this story be what it wants to be: one girl’s story of finding true love and who she really is. Ages 12–up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (May)
From the Publisher
"The resonant and poignant themes of memory, loss, and forgiveness haunt this novel the way the elusive song haunts its heroine."
-Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of My Life Next Door 

"From dreamer Charlie in In Your Room to tortured Nick in Our Song, Jordanna Fraiberg knows how to write a hero readers will fall in love with."
-Jennifer Echols, author of Love Story, Such A Rush, and The Boys Next Door 

"A tender and truthful story... Fraiberg lets this story be what it wants to be: one girl's story of finding true love and who she really is." 
-Publishers Weekly 

VOYA - Beth Karpas
Our Song is an engaging summer romance. It begins as high school senior Olive Bell is riding home from the hospital in the passenger seat of her father's car. Her head still throbs from the wound which almost took her life (two weeks ago she was technically dead for a few minutes). The reader is in Olive's head, but has no idea what exactly happened as Olive is avoiding thinking about it—a car crash maybe, but who was driving? When her mother is introduced, readers think, maybe a suicide attempt. Through the novel, what happened becomes clear, as Olive works through both the accident and the relationship which led to it. That is not the only story here, however, as Olive will soon meet the mysterious Nick—dark, handsome, with an engaging British accent; and he drives a sports car. Together, they will explore untouched wild lands of the "real Los Angeles," abandoned churches, and an overgrown maze. Through it all, an unidentified song will run through Olive's head, a remnant from her accident. The source of the song and the ending of the book are a twist left for the last pages of this book. Well written, with a clear audience of romance hungry teens, this book may also find a niche in book talks about dealing with psychologically manipulative relationships or suicide. It is a little long for complete popcorn, though, and a bit too predictable for a best-of list. Nonetheless, it is a good addition to a general collection. Reviewer: Beth Karpas
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—On the night of a terrible fight with her seemingly perfect boyfriend, Derek, Olive stole his car. She ended up having an accident and was seriously injured; her heart even stopped beating for three minutes. Once she has recovered enough to return to school, she finds everything (except for her best friend, Annie) has changed: her now ex-boyfriend has a new girlfriend and students are gossiping about her. Plus, her parents and the school administration think her accident was a failed suicide attempt. Olive has no real memories of that night, but she is haunted by a song that she has never heard before that is constantly on her mind. When her mother insists that she attend a suicide support group, Olive begins to go to a group for those who have had near-death experiences instead. There she meets bad-boy Nick; he whisks her out of her depression and the stagnant world of her Vista Valley suburb. Olive is perfect as flawed character; she is often mean to her best friend and her adoring younger brother, and she can't let go of the past. The plot is almost clichéd-girl and boy break up, girl finds new boyfriend, old boyfriend wants girl back, girl must choose between them-but the unforgettable and eerie quality of the song and the secrets (both those purposefully kept and those that memory can't retrieve) raise it beyond the normal teen romance.—Janet Hilbun, Texas Women's University, Denton, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Having been revived after her heart stopped beating for three minutes, Olive is given a second chance at life and love. Olive tries hard to convince herself and others that she didn't drive into that tree on purpose. Even though she was devastated by her breakup with her boyfriend Derek. Even though she was speeding and she didn't slow down at the curve in the road. Alive but not well, 18-year-old Olive returns to school. Now, however, Derek has a new girlfriend, Olive's grades are slipping, and she's got this inexplicable song continually swirling about in her head. At a gathering of near-death enthusiasts, Olive meets Nick, a mercurial young man with an English accent. He makes her feel valued and beautiful, but there's something he's not revealing. There's a slim mystery threaded throughout, but this story has all the elements of a formulaic romance: Jerk boyfriend breaks girl's heart, girl meets new guy, ex comes begging back, girl has misunderstanding with new guy, true love prevails. Olive is wishy-washy, obsessive and has no real sense of self. Eventually, she begins to clear her boy-befuddled brain to better understand her family and create some goals for herself. Irritatingly, the song's mystical origins come as a stunningly anticlimactic nonrevelation. Readers looking for an undemanding beach read may find a few hours' pleasure here. (Fiction. 13-18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595142689
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 5/2/2013
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 581,975
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Jordanna Fraiberg was born in Montreal, Quebec, and currently lives in L.A., where she settled after receiving degrees from Harvard and Oxford. A former national squash champion and Hollywood film executive, she now divides her time between dreaming up stories and chasing her toddler. She is also the author of In Your Room. Check out her website at www.jordannafraiberg.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    'Our Song' is a young adult contemporary novel that follows Oliv

    'Our Song' is a young adult contemporary novel that follows Olive Bell as she returns home after a terrible accident two weeks earlier. Olive had been out of control - driving too fast during a hard rain - and she crashed her boyfriend Derek's car. She died during the crash but was revived by paramedics. After the crash, Olive feels like a completely different person. People start treating her differently - her parents, her neighbors, friends, and schoolmates - all begin to act like she wrecked the car on purpose that night; that she tried to kill herself. Olive can't think about the events of the night of the crash, but she knows that she isn't the same person as before. She's beginning to see behind the curtain of her so-called "perfect" life with her "perfect" family and her "perfect" town. The things Olive believed before the crash don't seem so important now and the only one who understands is Nick - the handsome and brooding guy Olive meets at a near-death experience support group. Olive must figure out what she wants for herself in life and what that might mean for her expectations for herself and what others expect from her as well.

    This was a wonderfully written contemporary novel that deals with some major issues. Olive is a magnificent leading character. She's smart, loving, devoted to her friends and family - but after her crash, she begins questioning her choices in life and her future. Things don't feel the same and what once seemed so important barely registers for her. We see significant character growth and maturation with Olive's character throughout the novel as she begins making her own decisions concerning her life and her future. She also starts seeing the world in a different light - that things aren't always what they seem and life isn't a perfect fairy tale. The story line isn't a wholly original one, but the author writes with such clarity and emotion that I felt immediately drawn in. I could feel what Olive felt - all the good things along with the bad. She was very realistic and accessible to the reader, which makes the story all the more believable. There are deep topics discussed in the story - death, life, love, betrayal, finding yourself, grief, faith, and family - just to name a few. The book touches on topics that are intense but common to readers of all ages; everyone will be able to identify with the characters on at least one level. We all have experienced at least some of what Olive does in the book, which I find makes it all the more powerful for the reader. The writing was exceptional and shows the immense talent of the author. The book has a fast pace and I was eagerly turning the pages to see what was going to happen next. I normally don't read contemporary YA fiction, but I'm incredibly glad I decided to give this one a shot. It far exceeded my expectations and is one of the best books I've read so far this year. Highly recommended for readers of all ages, especially those who like YA contemporary fiction.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    Sweet, romantic, and sad all at once . . .

    This book made me laugh, cry, and smile. Best book i've read in a long time.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2013

    As much as I want to read this, I cant see myself spending $11 o

    As much as I want to read this, I cant see myself spending $11 on a book when I can get similar Nook books for under $5...:(

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014


    I think it depends on the voice but good lyrics

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2014

    Sinking- by Song Girl For Megan

    This song is for Megan :) <p>
    ~Sinking~ <br>
    I used to look at everything so bright <br>
    Now things are dimming down my light <br>
    Was I wrong to think that way about you? <br>
    Feelings that couldn't have been more sure <br>
    Are now not coming up anymore <p>
    [Chorus] <br>
    Do I want to know? <br>
    I wanted you for so long <br>
    And now you've turned your back on me <br>
    Leaving me in my own despair <br>
    I don't want to know. <br>
    You left me all alone <br>
    Now you should know that I'm sinking. <br>
    Sinking in the feelings I can't control <p>
    Things were always great <br>
    Now its as if I can't catch a break <br>
    You and all your friends tauntingly haunting <br>
    Those happy memories I rejoiced <br>
    It seems now that I have lost my voice <br>
    I just can't break the news to you <br>
    That we could have been more <p>
    [Chorus] <p>
    They all say we'r just friends <br>
    You agree with them <br>
    But has it ever crossed your mind <br>
    That I wanted to be something more <br>
    Now I'm sinking in these feelings that I used to want <br>
    All I want now is to push them off <br>
    The words you said, they still hurt <br>
    I need to move on but I just can't <p>

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  • Posted July 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    What really happened the night Olive crashed? That¿s what everyo

    What really happened the night Olive crashed? That’s what everyone wants to know and Olive wants everyone to forget. Now that she is out of the hospital she hopes things will go back to normal. They don’t and Olive goes to a dark place until she meets Nick.

    Olive meets Nick in a support group for people that have died. She feels a real connection to him, someone that she can relate to. But Nick has secret of his own and he is not willing to tell, but all secrets come out eventually and Nick's is shocking.

    Will Olive be able to handle Nick's secret or will she spiral out of control?

    This is a very heart warming and inspirational book, that deals with some deep topics. Everyone is convinced that Olive tried to kill herself even though she tells them it was an accident. We watch Olive a once bright and vibrant person turn into a depressed and social outcast. She changes herself, some things for the better and then she meets Nick. Nick makes her feel beautiful for once in her life and she loves it. Has all these amazing experiences with him, but he is holding back. There is a part of him that she doesn’t know and there is a part of her that he doesn’t know. It was sad, but also happy to watch, sad that they are not opening up and happy that they found each other. Also the song plays a huge part in the book(Obviously). I kept waiting for it to be complete. This book was slow at times, but made up for it with the content. It was really emotional and I found myself crying in most parts. I love reading books like this because they teach you that you can’t be what everyone wants you to be. You just need to be yourself because there is NO ONE out there quite like you. And that sometimes things don’t make sense until you look at it with a different perspective.

    What would you do if you had a second chance?

    Ok so I got a little deep there, but let’s get to a light topic….the cover of course. I adore this cover. It is just so sweet to look at. And major *SWOON* LOL Oh and the name. I know a lot of people said that it reminded them of Taylor Swift’s song, but I didn’t even think of that until I read their reviews. I just knew that is was going to be more than a love song. :D

    Overall: A deep and emotional book that will touch a lot of people’s hearts. :D I highly enjoyed this book and I recommend that you read it.

    Olive: She is not a very confident person. She is constantly putting herself down. Like she is too big or that wouldn’t look good on her. I just wanted to shake her and be like who cares what they think of you, you are beautiful. She is only really herself with Nick. He makes her feel safe and…..beautiful. YAY I love it. She also can be a little harsh at times, especially with her friend, but it's a defense mechanism. She doesn't want to let anyone else in just to be hurt again.

    Nick: He is dark and mysterious. No one knows his story and that’s how he likes it. And for him to be so gloomy at time he is very thoughtful. He really cares about Olive, and is strong yet gentle. He was hot and cold throughout the whole book. You never knew when Olive might say the wrong thing and he would shut down. With all that hurt locked inside, it was had to watch/read.

    Annie: What a great friend. She only wants the best for Olive. She is blunt at times, but Olive needed to hear it. She gets Olive to step out of her comfort zone. She got her to realize things that Olive thought she was bad at, she was actually great at. Annie was the BEST!!

    4.5 STARS


    “This song was a part of me now, like a heartbeat, as fragmented and incomplete as I was.”

    “It reminded me of the lone orchid that thrived in the dead maze at Nick’s, reminded me that life went on even when you thought it couldn't.”

    “I think everyone gets to the edge sometimes,” he said, taking a step closer. “Maybe you went a little further than you intended, but you came back. You didn't stay there. One single action can’t define who you are forever. You’re the one who taught me that.”

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    This book was good, but not my favorite. I found it filled with

    This book was good, but not my favorite. I found it filled with unnecessary details and I was constantly wishing for more between Olive and Nick. I admired the story between her family but the parts about Derek were annoying. I wanted more development and romance between her and Nick rather than drama with her bestfriend and ex boyfriend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013



    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Olive's carefully constructed life comes crashing down in the wa

    Olive's carefully constructed life comes crashing down in the wake of an accident that should have, and almost, left her dead. For the first time she is forced—against her Martha Stewart-mother's will—to face imperfection, to face flaws, and it is only when she finally admits to them, she begins to see clearly who the ones that love her are, and just how special a place they hold.

    Olive doesn't want to satisfy the expectations of her mother—the mother who prunes her social circle as she prunes her petunias—and realizes she needs to escape the suffocating grasp of Vista Valley, where she hasn't ventured more than a hundred miles past since she was born, all the more. Enter: Nick, a brooding, devastating British bad boy with a penchant for spontaneity and a wicked, wicked smile. And suddenly, Olive is free. Olive is happy. And if she allows herself to, Olive just might find what she's looking for...

    Simply put, Our Song is a sweet, coming-of-age YA romance—nothing riveting, but accurately tender in some parts and emotive of teenage angst, insecurity, and heartache in others. There are so many different issues raised in this teen novel, including friendship, rebellion, sexuality, dating danger(ously handsome boys...), the aftermath of a near-death, and of course, Olive's haunting song. They're all great topics, but I was disappointed by how none of them are fully explored, just sort of dabbled in, and then neglected. They do have proper ties at the end of the book, but it's like the author introduced these great plot points, ignored them, and then brought them back up in the closing chapters just to form a clean conclusion.

    I had a bit of an issue with Olive. It's not that she's difficult to sympathize with—in fact, I'd say her frustrations and hard-headed determination are easy to relate to—but she just isn't portrayed in a very likable light; through the story's progression, she grows and realizes her mistakes and, as with most young adult novels, she learns from them, but her general attitude towards her friends and naïve ignorance of her surroundings makes her a hard character to grow on. This was mainly a problem for me since she narrates the story first-person; whenever I got annoyed with her, I was still stuck with her because we only ever get to see through her (narrow) perspective.

    Nick, on the other hand... I could use a guy like him in my life! He's wonderfully portrayed (let's not kid anyone here, I had a big-time swoon-fest while reading about him), but poorly developed. As a person he seems wonderful and charming and BRITISH♥ but as a book character, he's too quick in his affections for Olive—making him rather unrealistic—and two-dimensional. I thought his troubling past would really add depth to him, but there's really no suspense nor a huge bang leading up to his &quot;dark&quot; secret... it's just suddenly revealed, which was not only anticlimactic, but also further weakened his character.

    Fraiberg is a storyteller at heart and really knows how to integrate the protagonist's point of view into the novel. Stylistically, Our Song is straightforward and contemporary in tone; this could be your own diary.

    Pros: Great voice // Fraiberg captures teen spirit perfectly // Authentic depiction of high school horrors // I want Annie as my best friend! // Story moves quickly and smoothly; constantly left me wanting more // Evocative of Los Angeles and surrounding areas // Clean, chaste romance

    Cons: Olive is rather bratty // As much as I loved Nick, he isn't anything special... mostly because he's underdeveloped as a character and because his big dark &quot;secret&quot; is too hurried at the end // Olive's romance with Nick, mysterious song, emotional healing, and coming-to-terms with self are all a bit disjointed

    Verdict: Jordanna Fraiberg's newest novel is a fast-moving account of Olive's post-tragedy struggles that touches upon the pain of heartbreak, the true meaning of love and companionship, and the importance of accepting second chances. As heavy as the topics of this book are, the story itself doesn't go too deeply into them, so for the most part, this was a light, undemanding read—although it does have its share of bleak, depressing notes. I was disappointed by the lack of complexity and weightier content, but still enjoyed Our Song regardless. This is a fun, believable, and ultimately touching book, and simultaneously a fantastic addition to the YA and middle-grade genres.

    Rating: 7 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): Not perfect, but overall enjoyable.

    Source: Complimentary ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review for the Itching for Books virtual book tour (thank you!).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013


    I really like this author...both books I've read were great!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 9, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

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    Posted May 14, 2013

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