"Everyone We've Been is a dazzling love story with mystery and dizzying twists. Sarah Everett's puzzle of a debut will easily hook readers as they piece together this consuming tale of hope and heartbreak."
-Adam Silvera, New York Times bestselling author of More Happy Than Not
"Addictive, charming, and full of surprises, EVERYONE WE'VE BEEN is a gorgeously written novel about our mistakes and how we recover from them."
Adi Alsaid, author of LET'S GET LOST and NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES
For fans of Jandy Nelson and Jenny Han comes a new novel that will be hard to forget.
Addison Sullivan has been in an accident. In its aftermath, she has memory lapses and starts talking to a boy who keeps disappearing. She's afraid she's going crazy, and the worried looks on her family's and friends' faces aren't helping.
Addie takes drastic measures to fill in the blanks and visits the Overton Clinic. But there she unwittingly discovers it is not her first visit. And when she presses, she finds out that she had certain memories erased.
Flooded with questions about the past, Addison confronts the choices she can't even remember and wonders if you can possibly know the person you're becoming if you don't know the person you've been.
About the Author
Sarah Everett remembers growing up in enchanted forests, on desert islands and inside a magical wardrobe. She would only ever erase her memory of past karaoke performances and certain fashion choices. She was born in west Africa but currently resides in Alberta, Canada where she attends graduate school and writes YA novels. Visit her on Twitter at @heysaraheverett.
Read an Excerpt
On the first turn, I think about my orchestra uniform: a knee-length black skirt, soft and silky between my fingers.
On the second turn, a stack of sheet music, pieces I’m halfway through learning or planning to learn.
On the third turn, I slam into the seat in front of me. The boy three rows ahead jerks forward, too, but it’s a backpack he guards instead of a viola case.
On the fourth turn, the world bursts with noise. Smattering applause of broken glass. A startled scream from a little girl. Yellow streetlight that is too bright and thick and long. The trees whirl around us; it’s hard to tell whether they are gliding around on a sheet of ice or we are.
Finally we stop spinning.
There is no sound.
AN HOUR EARLIER
An hour earlier
About thirty miles outside of Caldwell, we pick up the last set of passengers. An elderly Asian couple and a teenage boy who looks about my age--seventeen. The couple sits in the second row closest to the doors, but the boy keeps walking through the aisle, rubbing his palms together and breathing on his hands to warm them.
He scans the bus as he enters the aisle, surveying the seating options. There are five or six other passengers, a small enough number that we’re not wrestling for armrests or invading each other’s personal space, which is the single worst thing about public transportation, especially on Saturdays. I’m near the back of the bus, just in case we get a surge of people.
The boy passes the drowsy-looking college student on the left whose jet-black hair flops down over his eyes. He stops a few rows from my seat, on the right side of the aisle.
Behind me, a mother shushes one of her two elementary-school-age kids.
I watch as the boy peels his backpack off his shoulders and places it on the seat closest to the window. The backpack is half unzipped, the short metal legs of a tripod sticking out. He glances up at me, catching my eye, just as I’m about to look away.
“God, it’s cold,” he says, rubbing his palms over his shoulders.
“I know, it’s freezing,” I say back disappointingly. Uninterestingly.
I notice that he’s completely underdressed for this cold. His hair is tucked under a black wool beanie, but he’s wearing a thin cotton shirt pushed up at his elbows. No coat, no scarf. How has he not frozen to death?
“Jackets help,” I blurt out, past the acceptable response time. Then add in a slightly more normal voice, “Or so I’ve been told.”
The boy assesses me and breaks into a grin that takes up his whole face as he looks down at how he’s dressed. “Hmm. I might have to try that one of these days.” His smile makes a funny feeling slide through my stomach. He hesitates a moment, then sits with his back to me, three rows ahead.
I pull out my phone to check the time and see three texts from my mom, asking how the trip is going and what time the bus arrives so she can pick me up from the station. I send her a quick response before sticking the phone back in my pocket.
“What do you play?” the boy asks a few minutes later, turning his entire upper body around to face me. He nods at the case occupying a seat next to me. The bus to Caldwell this morning got me there four hours before the concert started, so I’d brought my viola in case I found somewhere to practice and kill time while I waited.
“The viola,” I say. Why do I always spend so much time hoping someone will talk to me, only to have absolutely nothing to say when they do?
Presumably just to witness my verbal ineptness, Goth College Guy rouses a little and turns back to look at me. He blinks a few times, then turns around again.
“I don’t know one thing about the viola,” the boy says, grinning at me. I know I’m on a concert high--“outside my lane,” as my pilot father might say--because something about the grin elates me. His smile is so easy, his face so open, that I feel like he must do it a lot--which, of course, ought to put me back inside my lane. He probably smiles like this at everyone.
But staying firmly in the wrong lane, I smile back and speak a little more quietly, in case anyone is trying to sleep.
“Well, they look a lot like violins but they’re not.” I hear myself quickly going down the path of many Violas Are Not Violins activists who have gone before me, so I change directions. “Rumor has it that Jimi Hendrix started off playing the viola.”
“Really,” the boy says, and, God bless him, pretends to be interested.
“Yeah. I actually just came from watching a concert,” I say, wanting to keep the conversation going. “Not Jimi Hendrix. Obviously.”
“Obviously,” the boy repeats, teasing, and something flutters inside me again.
“Pretty sure dead people don’t have concerts.”
I might be rambling, but he is playing along. “I’ve never been invited to one,” he says.
I laugh. It slips out quickly, without permission, and Goth Guy rouses again to glare at me. But the boy looks pleased he’s made me laugh.
I drop my voice to a whisper. “Unless it’s just that they’re exclusive. Think how many people would pay to see a Ghost Mozart concert,” I joke. Then, sobering up, I add, “It was actually this orchestra at Samberg Auditorium.”
“Were they any good?”
“They were incredible,” I say.
My mind swivels back to the performance, especially to the second movement of that Bach orchestral suite. I could see why it had become famous as “Air on the G String.” Through that dark, echoing auditorium, the sound stretched across all the empty space and reeled me in closer. A long musical finger, crooked at me.
I’d heard it before, but there was something about that piece. Something different and powerful. I’d clung to the armrests until the very last note ended.
Now I blink back into reality, realizing the boy is still looking at me.
“What about you?” I ask, embarrassed by my lapse in attention. “Where are you coming from?”
He looks out the dark window then and tugs on his hat. “Long story, but my piece-of-shit car wouldn’t start.”
He grins again as he speaks, and I wonder if “piece-of-shit” is actually code for a Lamborghini and why blood rushes to my face every time he smiles.
“That sucks,” I say.
He shrugs. The kids at the back of the bus are arguing over something while their mom threatens to confiscate it. It feels awkward to keep talking across three rows, so the boy turns back to face the front and I finally force myself to pull out Great Expectations, the book we’re discussing in English class.
We stop for gas at Riverton, and the boy gets off behind the driver. The mom, a short woman with light brown hair to the middle of her back, shepherds her kids down the aisle.
“I don’t waaaanna go to the bathroom,” the little girl whines, her brother following her, skipping between the seats. The girl’s hair is almost identical in length and color to her mother’s. The mother gives me this look I can’t explain when she walks past me, then hurries her kids along.
When I squint out the window, I see the boy standing next to the bus driver, smoking. Both of them march in place, trying to stay warm, tufts of cigarette smoke intermingling with the clouds of their breath. It’s judgmental of me, but the discovery of Smiling Boy’s nicotine problem makes it easier to dismiss any connection we might have shared. He’s a random boy on a bus in the middle of January.
The family comes back on first, and I feel the mother’s gaze on me again, but this time she jerks her eyes away when I look up. As if she’s embarrassed to have been caught staring. She walks to the back of the bus and retrieves a sweater and backpack, then the three of them relocate to the very front of the bus, opposite the couple.
I wonder what her problem is. I self-consciously check the cover of my book. Does Great Expectations have some reputation for being super racy that I’m not aware of?
My face is back in my book when the boy and bus driver get on again, but the letters quickly blur into meaningless squiggles, and I doze on and off for the next hour.
I wake up to the spinning.
The bus sliding out of control, careening off the road. The other passengers screaming. Underneath it: the sound of sharp things breaking and blunt things--heads, elbows, backs--slamming.
Then I’m flying forward, falling. A sharp, hard pain pierces the side of my head.
Everything goes black.
Excerpted from "Everyone We've Been"
Copyright © 2016 Sarah Everett.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Children's Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wow, that was a deep little book that I don't fully know what to deal with. Did it turn out the way I expected? No. Am I totally okay with that? Maybe. Am I sitting here fully in complete book hangover because this book kind of just psychologically messed me up in a somewhat great way? Yes. To be completely honest, I thought the concept of this book sounded really interesting. And then I saw that GORGEOUS cover and well, Mandy needed it ASAP. In fact, I even put it on a birthday book list, and then never read it because I was fully convinced that it would not live up to its gorgeous cover? However, this book totally proved me wrong. Everett created not only a wholly unique and creative concept, but had the backup to follow through with it. I mean, it's a lofty plot - girl gets into car accident, starts mysteriously seeing a boy (delusion? ghost? figment of insomnia?) while there is a shady medical place that helps forget things in town that she's been to before???? I mean, honestly, it sounds all suspenseful and crazy, and how can it possibly love up to it? But it diddddddddddd. I devoured it in two or three sittings, because I just had to know if this was about to end up like The Sixth Sense or other mind mess ways. Addy was a good main character. I enjoyed her as a heroine. She felt real and realistic and I definitely felt for her. She was lost, and I just desperately wanted to help her be found, since I was invested in her journey as a main character. She was smart and passionate about her music and she cared deeply. She reacted like she should have for someone in her situation. I liked the side characters as well. Zach certainly felt real. The romance between him and Addie was really cute as well - both Zachs, lol. I really liked Katy by the end of the novel. Kevin and Raj were fantastic. I felt like there was a very good amount of side characters that felt real and supported the story. The writing was the biggest place that I had a struggle with. I felt like it was a lot of overwriting at times. I would skim like three giant paragraphs and it was like I never left off with where I started skimming at. I felt like the book could have used fewer words in parts, since they didn't seem needed at all. And that's why sometimes that even though I would really be enjoying the story, I would feel this general feeling of boredom or eh. But the writing was pretty good elsewhere and pretty easy to read. The ending was quite interesting as well. I didn't fully see anything in this book coming besides what was supposed to be easy to guess. I certainly didn't see the full ending coming, but I have to give Everett credit for going for it. Definitely impressed with the twists and turns. Although there was one point that I just gave major side eye for stupid decisions by Addie although I felt her pain for it. Overall, this was a pretty good read, and the only issue that I really had with it was one particular thing. I thought it had such an interesting plot filled with twists and turns and what is really going on??? The characters were good, and the heroine was quite well done. I definitely enjoyed it, and the concept lived up to the cool sounding summary. 4 crowns and an Ariel rating!
Everything We've Been is the debut novel from author Sarah Everett. It is one of those books that gives all the feelings, but sorting them out is next to impossible. Sadness, laughter, anger, disbelief, even horror of the emotional variety. The story is told in two timelines, one from before Addison's accident and the other after. The accident has caused memory lapses and hallucinations involving a boy no one else can see. Because of that, she takes some aggressive steps to find out who he is and what is missing in her memory. And that takes her down a path she never imagined. The twists and turns... I loved them. Combined with the two timelines, the story was thoroughly engrossing. At times, it was like reading two different stories. Pre-accident Addison and post-accident Addison were almost like two separate people. I loved the story, and the premise behind it. How far would you go to move forward beyond pain? Should parents be allowed to make that choice for their child? Does the loss of memories change who you are, who you become? How much pain is too much? Erasing memories... is that always the right choice, or is it sometimes just the easy way out? These are the kinds of questions that this novel makes a reader consider for themselves. My only issue with the book is hard to discuss without fear of spoilers. It has nothing to do with the book itself, but choices that may or may not be made. But that isn't a bad thing. Instead, that is exactly why I enjoy the novel so much. By disagreeing with a character's actions, or feeling disappointment at their thought processes, I've connected with the character. On top of that, it makes you consider your own position with the issues at hand. All in all, this was a thought-provoking read that I loved. I love any novel that makes me think about my own beliefs and views!