Review: This Is What It Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow || This is too personal and I’m feeling THINGS

This Is What It Feels Like

Rebecca Barrow


It doesn’t matter what the prize for the Sun City Originals contest is this year.

Who cares that’s it’s fifteen grand? Who cares about a gig opening for one of the greatest bands to ever play this town?

Not Dia, that’s for sure. Because Dia knows that without a band, she hasn’t got a shot at winning Sun City. Because ever since Hanna’s drinking took over her life, Dia and Jules haven’t been in it. And ever since Hanna left — well, there hasn’t been a band.

It used to be the three of them, Dia, Jules, and Hanna, messing around and making music and planning for the future. But that was then, and this is now — and now means a baby, a failed relationship, a stint in rehab, all kinds of off beats that have interrupted the rhythm of their friendship. No contest can change that. Right?

But like the lyrics of a song you used to play on repeat, there’s no forgetting a best friend. And for Dia, Jules, and Hanna, this impossible challenge — to ignore the past, in order to jumpstart the future — will only become possible if they finally make peace with the girls they once were, and the girls they are finally letting themselves be.

Rebecca Barrow’s tender story of friendship, music, and ferocious love asks — what will you fight for, if not yourself?

Publisher: HarperTeen

Published: November 6th 2018



Trigger Warning



Alcoholism, Death, PTSD, Grief, Depression, Mention of Past Panic Attack, 

To everyone sitting in their bedrooms in the 2am stillness,
listening to that song that makes your heart ache.

You ever go into a book, thinking you’d remain a spectator? And as you continue reading, you find it’s much more personal to your life than you were ready for?

That was me. 

Now, I’m not an alcoholic, I’m not a teenage mom and I’ve never been in a toxic relationship. But each character had something I could relate to, no matter how minute.

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Hanna drummed on her knees. “It’ll make a good story,” she said. “When we’re famous.” “A great story,” Dia said. “Teenage mother, out and proud lesbian, reformed bad girl. We’ll be on every blog worldwide.”

The story is simple: former friends and bandmates, must bring the band back together after a bad break two years ago to win $15,000 in a band showdown. 

Dia – Afrolatinx teen mom who’s baby’s father died before her daughter was born and is still grieving two years later. She’s dealing with some PTSD and was probably my favorite POV to read.

Jules – A lesbian who was in a toxic relationship before the story starts and is trying to maneuver a new relationship without messing it up.

Hanna – A recovering alcoholic who’s suffering from depression. She’s the most comlpex character of the three for me and I related to her or at least her little sister. Because I went through the same things her little sister Molly went through almost to the T…

 ❥ Elliot – The father of Dia’s two year old who dies before the story starts. His perspective of the events before Hanna sobered up was something that was actually necessary with an inside look of an outsider observing how Hanna’s alcoholism affected those around her.

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Then the guilt had given way, as it often did, to the burn of resentment. They were going to make her pay for it for the rest of her life, weren’t they? Nothing she did would be good enough. Nothing she said would ever convince them.

And though I did prefer Dia’s POV, Hanna’s struck my heart something fierce. Like I mentioned above, her story was more personal to me than I’d thought it’d be… or at least from the view of her sister.

It felt like looking through a mirror, it felt like some experiences were put straight from my life to the page and yes, it was hard to read at times for personal reasons, but damn it, the portrayal was A+.

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The romantic relationships were great Jules and Autumn were so sweet and soft and the fact that Autumn is fat and questioning? My heart???

And though Dia’s romance was also something I was behind- it was very cute and I was here for it, I do wish it was more developed? I know a lot of their development happened off page before the story starts, but the eventual get together felt rushed with exposition. But again, I liked the development we did get let me reiterate, I really liked them together, so it’s not too much of an issue. And her relationship with her family made up for it because the support was everything ❤ .

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It gave her a moment to consider exactly how ridiculous an idea this was—she didn’t even want to speak to Jules, she hated Jules the same way she hated Dia. Except she loved them the same amount she hated them, and that was how she found herself walking over, gravel crunching beneath her feet, and then she was standing across from Jules.

But even still, this book is more than that. It’s messy relationships and finding your way back to those you loved. It’s about finding yourself and getting through past trauma and bettering yourself for yourself.

It’s self discovery and growing up and dealing with what life throws your way. And if you’re not catching my drift, I one million percent recommend this book with a passion.

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