Thanks to Wednesday Books for the gifted copy of Never Saw You Coming!
Last year I read Erin Hahn’s sophomore novel, More than Maybe, and fell in love with the story and its characters. When I found out that Meg would be getting her own spinoff novel, I was thrilled and added the book, Never Saw You Coming, to my TBR ASAP.
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.
Never Saw You Coming had an interesting plot style – there was a lot of skipping ahead in time. I think for this story – these time jumps made sense, though they were a little tricky to get used to at first. Meg’s journey to self-acceptance was a long one and telling the story across a longer period helped fully realize her story/journey.
Meg and Micah were too stinking cute together – they supported each other emotionally and their mutual respect was so lovely to see. As they both struggled through major events in their life (Micah with the release of his father from prison and Meg with her ongoing reconciliation with her faith), their connection grew through their support of each other. I loved how Micah respected Meg’s boundaries at every turn – and stood up for her when she needed it.
The big story of this book was Meg taking a step back from her life and beginning to reconcile her relationship with the church and with her Christian faith. While this was a relatable storyline for me (former bible camp kid here, who got told she would go to hell for listening to Katy Perry), I found the overall themes and tones of Christian theology to be overwhelming. The book tackled topics like the treatment of young women in the church and modesty and purity culture, but then it never truly reconciled these topics. I think one of the prime examples of this was when Meg was removed and as a youth group leader for her (so-called) immodesty. Her uncle, a pastor in the church, stood by and allowed the church to walk all over her. When he was called out on it, he gave a half assed apology but ultimately fell back on his faith saying that culture was ok. I saw this as an ultimate betrayal of Meg and an example of the overwhelming theological themes undermining the story.
Overall, I think this is an important story and would likely be appreciated more by someone who is actively engaged in religion or has closer ties to it than I do. I did enjoy reading Meg and Micah’s love story, though and the plot about Micah’s father. If you haven’t already, definitely check out More Than Maybe. 3/5