Monday, August 19, 2013

Lessons Learned by Sydney Logan Review

From Goodreads:

"A young girl needs to spread her wings, but a young woman needs roots.

English teacher Sarah Bray never thought she’d return to Sycamore Falls, but a traumatic event at her inner-city school leaves her desperate for the sanctuary of home. By returning to her roots, an older and wiser Sarah hopes to deal with the demons of her present and confront the ghosts of her past. 

She discovers a kindred spirit in Lucas Miller, a teacher from New York with demons of his own. As the newest faculty members at Sycamore High School, they quickly become friends – bonding through Lucas’s culture shock and their mutual desire to build new lives. When they open their wounded hearts to each other, their friendship effortlessly evolves into romance. 

Their love is put to the test when Matt, the quarterback of the football team, shares his deepest secret with Sarah. When the conservative community finds out, Sarah and Lucas – along with the town of Sycamore Falls – are schooled in the lessons of acceptance, tolerance, and love."

My Thoughts:

Lessons Learned is an insanely powerful story about love, loss, and acceptance. This is not a typical romance novel, so get that out of your head real quick. It is so much more.. 

After tragedy strikes the life of Sarah Bray, while teaching at a school in a large city, she chooses to return to her small home town of Sycamore Falls. She knows she is coming back to a very small and extremely conservative community, but it is still home to her. Right now, she needs to comfort of home beyond anything else.

" 'Sycamore Falls has its issues' Grandma had told me... 'We're too sheltered from the rest of the world. Sometimes its a good thing. Sometimes it isn't. The world can be a scary place.' "

Upon moving home, Sarah reconnects with friends from her past, and a new guy in town from up north, Lucas Miller. Lucas will be teaching at the same highschool as Sarah, and their connection is immediate. They both have things in their past they would rather move on from, but it will always be haunting their lives, and in this they find a very in-depth understanding of each other.

"Rumor has it he was in the middle of some big scandal up North and moved to the mountains to make a fresh start. Kind of like you (Sarah) actually."

Sarah and Lucas have both moved to Sycamore Falls in hopes for an escape. Their friendship slowly builds to more, and they form a very powerful duo. Knowing they are both fighting internal battles grows them even closer. 

"You're not alone in this world. I'm right here, and I'm trying so hard to love you. All I want to do is love you...
...Let me love you."

When Matt, a student, popular kid, and football player, confides his own secret in Sarah, she starts to realize the very thing she was running from, can easily happen again. Except this time, it's in a very small town, with even less acceptance than a city. The small town mentality of Sycamore Hills is about to be put to a very hard test.

" 'He's just a kid,' Lucas murmured. 'Why can't they just love him, no matter what?' "

Lessons Learned touches on a vast amount of sensitive topics such as, racism, sexuality, cliques, change, toxic relationships. However, the main topic, is bullying. 
(warning, I may go off on a bit of a tangent here..)

Bullying.. sucks. Don't do it. Plain and simple.


 Looking back on my childhood, I do not remember the type of bullying that children currently go through (heads up, I'm only 28 years old). I think that bullying has gotten completely out of control, and I have no idea how it changed to be this terrible and horrible. To be quite honest, I fear for what my 4 year old son is in for once he starts school. Don't get me wrong, I do remember bullies growing up, but never to such an extent of how kids are today. I was raised colorblind, and accepting. I don't care if you're black, white, purple, gay, straight, trans, have 3 eyes, whatEVER. I will support you, and I will love you just the same. It's who you are that counts, and this book shows it.

Lessons Learned takes acceptance to a whole new level, showing how terrible bullying really is, and how horrible the result of it can be. However, it also shows, that sadly, some people will not change. Some people will not accept, and will not tolerate. Honestly, it makes me sad. Sad to know that still, in 2013, some will not accept someone for who they are. I grew up in New York, and 7 years ago, moved to a small town in North Carolina. I was not prepared for the tolerance difference from up north to down south. It hurts, because so many of my closest friends are "not accepted" by so many people down here. Now, my town definitely isn't as small as Sycamore Falls, but living where I do helped me understand the old school mentality that Sycamore Falls still holds on to. Ahh.. this book.. so many feeeeels. So many controversial topics, and so many emotions. Not to mention.. a pretty amazing love story. There needs to be more Sarah's and Lucas' in the world.

Teachers take note, strive to help your kids, let them be who they are, and support them, I say this as the daughter of amazing teachers. If one of your kids is in trouble, do whatever it takes to break down the wall.

The prologue of this book had me. After reading it, I immediately got chills. It was off the bat, a heavy topic to take in. 
But the fact is, it's real. And it happens every day.
Do whatever you can to help stop it.

Please, visit this website:

Favorite Quote: 

"Aren't you supposed to love your child unconditionally? Even if you don't agree with him? Even if he breaks your heart? Even if he's not at all what you expected him to be?"

PREACH Mama Bear.




Post a Comment