ARC Review: Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn

Title: Never Saw You Coming
Author: Erin Hahn
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Hardcover, 320 Pages
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Summary: 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.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and I'm so glad that I did, because once again I got to dive into a fabulous Erin Hahn story that I loved from start to finish. I have so many amazing things to say about this book that it feels like my brain is whirring a mile a minute with all of the gushing that I want to do, but don't worry, guys -- I'm going to do my best to rein it in and not ramble! So without further ado, let's get into my review:

As the summary explains, Meg is taking a gap year before college and really trying to figure her life out after some shocking secrets about her parents and their marriage come to light. She ends up fleeing to meet some members of her long-lost family that she didn't know existed, only intending to stay for a little while to get to know them better, but soon enough, she meets Micah...the son of a disgraced pastor who has his own baggage to carry. As they get closer to one another and feelings start to bloom, they begin to explore all the different ways that their faith has both helped them and held them back growing up -- all while trying to find the balance of keeping God in their lives without succumbing to the pressures and prejudice that are all to common in so many church teachings.

Ugh, you guys, I LOVED this book. Seriously. It made me laugh, swoon, and gasp in surprise, all in equal measure. This book is equal parts an exploration of pushing past the more oppressive ideas of the Catholic church while also finding ways to embrace faith while still letting yourself enjoy life. And the super adorable, swoon-worthy romance between Meg and Micah just made the whole thing better, because I was shipping them from the start! And as always, Erin Hahn's writer is spectacular, as there were actual moments where I was laughing out loud or actually gasping in shock and rereading a few times because I couldn't believe that something happened. And yes, there was also lots of blushing and swooning! And cheering on characters as they fought back against some of the church's more antiquated beliefs. Basically, this book is going to take you on an emotional roller coaster in the best way, so buckle up and be prepared for it!

My favorite character in this book was Micah. I have to admit, I fell head over heels for him right from the very beginning. The way that he managed to still care about Meg and Duke and Cash and his family, even after all of the injustices that were thrown at him as a kid who had nothing to do with his father's prison sentence, really stood out to me. And the way he loved Meg...gosh. There were some moments where I just held this book to my chest and sighed and thought for a few seconds, because something that he said or did was just so lovely and it made him perfect boyfriend material for her, and it just made me feel really happy. I was cheering for him whenever he was on the page, and I was really glad that we got to read some chapters from his perspective as well, so you got to watch Meg and Micah fall for each other in real time, hearing everything play out in their heads. 

Something else that I really loved about this book was the way that it addressed some of the more unfair teachings of the church head-on. There was so beating around the bush here, and that's what I really appreciated. As someone who grew up in the Catholic church, there were a lot of ideas and lessons that I didn't agree with, especially when it came to the teen girls of the church and homosexuality. So being able to see these issues being grappled with in the story -- while having some characters who were staunchly unaccepting and set in the church's ways, while others were openly against it or in the process of coming around -- really helped make it seem a lot more realistic to me. I had (and honestly, I still do have) a hard time fitting in with my congregation, because while for the most part they are very accepting about a lot of things, there are still many ideals that they cling to that I really don't agree with. So I really identified with Meg's situation, believing in faith and a higher power and something greater than ourselves, and loving that entity with your whole heart, while being able to look at the church and recognize that what you're taught in a parish is not the only way that one can love and respect God. For someone who felt really stuck in that situation for a very long time, I felt so seen, and I appreciated it more than I could ever express.

Overall, I really loved reading NEVER SAW YOU COMING! If you're a former church kid who is looking to reconcile your faith with wanting to live a happy, full life, or you don't fit into that category but still want a sweet, swoon-worthy read that keeps you blushing and cheering for the main characters, then I definitely recommend picking this one up. Erin Hahn is a spectacular author whose books I always enjoy, and this was certainly no exception. It's safe to say that I'm already looking forward to Erin's next sweet YA romance...and I also have my eye on her adult rom-com that she's been working on!

Once again, thank you so much to Wednesday Books for sending me this review copy! 

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