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These Things I've Done

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Before: Dara and Aubrey have been inseparable since they became best friends in sixth grade. Dara is the fearless one, Aubrey the prodigy, yet despite their differences they support each other unconditionally. However, as they begin their sophomore year of high school, cracks in their friendship begin to form, testing the bond they always thought was unbreakable.

After: It’s been fifteen months since the accident that killed Aubrey, and not a day goes by that Dara isn’t racked with guilt over her role in her best friend’s death. Now, after spending a year away from home in order to escape the constant reminders of what happened, Dara is back at her old high school to start her senior year. Dara thought the worst thing about coming home would be confronting the memories of Aubrey that relentlessly haunt her, but she soon realizes it’s not half as difficult as seeing Ethan, Aubrey’s brother, every day. Not just because he’s a walking reminder of what she did, but because the more her feelings for him change, the more she knows she’s betraying her best friend one final time.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published August 1, 2017

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About the author

Rebecca Phillips

10 books304 followers
Rebecca Phillips is a copyeditor by day and a TV series binger by night. Oh, and sometimes she writes novels. Rebecca lives in beautiful Atlantic Canada with her family, which includes a spoiled senior-citizen cat.

Learn more about Rebecca's books by visiting her website: www.rebeccawritesya.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 150 reviews
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,107 reviews532 followers
April 30, 2022

Tragedy strikes two best friends. Accidents happen, but Dara cannot forgive herself for her role in the incident that claimed the life of her best friend, Aubrey.

Dara used to be a popular, fun-loving daredevil - well-liked by everyone. Dara, Aubrey and Ethan were inseparable.

But after the accident, Dara became a social pariah and a "statue" - fearful of touching anyone or doing anything that might hurt those around her. Her parents send her to live with her aunt for a year, but Dara's guilt won't let her hide away from reality anymore. She returns to her small town to face the condemnation and judgment that she feels she deserves. Aubrey is dead: she, Dara, should not get off so easily.

Dara, Aubrey and Ethan (Aubrey's younger brother) used to be best friends. She can't imagine that Ethan will ever forgive her for the accident that caused his sister's horrible death, but Ethan has grown up in the year and a half that she has been away.

He has put away his violin and now plays base guitar in a rock band.... and his feelings for her are not what she expected them to be.

Dara's feelings of guilt and isolation are heartbreaking and vividly portrayed. From start to finish, I was so anxious to find out how this story would end - (you won't be disappointed!) This book touched all of my feelings - there were even a few laughs, and the relationship between Dara and her little brother was just adorable.

Bad things happen to everyone. This was Dara's story, and how the people who loved her and were truly there for her helped her find her way back to self-acceptance and a bit of peace. I'd give this an 10 out of 5, if the system would let me!
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,744 reviews1,306 followers
May 8, 2017
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“They’ll never let me forget that my best friend fell into the path of an oncoming pickup truck and was crushed to death right in front of me.
And they definitely won’t let me forget that I’m the one who pushed her.”

This was a YA contemporary story about a girl whose best friend died a year earlier.

Dara was an interesting character and it was clear how much Aubrey’s death had affected her. It was brave of her to go back to her old school and to face all the people who had labelled her a murderer though.

The storyline in this was split between the present day, and Dara’s Sophomore year in the weeks leading up to the accident. It was interesting to see what had happened then and what was happening now in tandem, and I was also waiting to learn exactly what had happened between Dara and Aubrey before the accident, and why people were calling Dara a murderer. We also got some romance in this, although that was also tainted by what Dara thought Aubrey would have thought to the relationship.

The ending to this was pretty good, and this was an enjoyable read overall.

7 out of 10
Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,227 reviews257 followers
February 17, 2019
“Mistakes happen, we can hate ourselves for them all we want, but it doesn’t help anything. It just ends up hurting us too.”

I wanted an emotional read, and I got it! These Things I’ve Done is a beautifully powerful story of forgiveness- forgiveness for yourself and for things you can’t undo. Wracked with the guilt she feels after her best friend Aubrey’s death, Dara Shepard returns home to confront her memories and her remorse. But, Dara begins spending time with Ethan, Aubrey’s brother, and starts to feel guilty for an entirely different reason. As Ethan and Dara grow closer, Dara worries she’d betraying her friend as she finally begins to heal.

Things I Liked
This is such an emotionally resonant novel. You feel Dara’s overwhelming melancholy at the beginning of the story. She’s still coming to terms with her guilt and pain. There’s a sorrowful resignation that really breaks your heart.

The flashbacks to sophomore year were really perfect. They allowed us to see Dara as a fearless girl unable to turn down a dare, so it’s all the more devastating where she is now. It also helped establish Dara and Aubrey’s relationship. They are the best of best friends, supportive, caring, goofy. You become invested in their relationship so you care about Dara’s emotional journey.

Ethan McCrae is one of the nicest people ever. He’s so kind-hearted and just this effervescent ray of light that you want him to be happy. And his relationship with Dara develops perfectly - they talk to each other. It was so nice to see them be so open, and even when they’re scared or it’s hard, they support each other.

I really liked Dara’s family. After Dara comes back the dynamic is off, but they only want what’s best for her. She has some fantastic moments with her brother, Tobias, in the second half that I loved, and a moving conversation with her dad that made me a little misty eyed.

Things I Didn’t Like
I would have liked to see how Dara dealt with the immediate aftermath of Aubrey’s death. It is referenced a couple times, but I would have liked to be with her when she was going through those chaotic and confusing emotions.

Wanting more from the story isn’t that strong of a negative, but it’s all I got. This story was so easy to become invested in - Dara’s emotions are so tangible that it really feels like you’re on this journey with her. This was a fantastic story of guilt, forgiveness, and acceptance that tugs at your heartstrings.

I received a copy of the book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,449 reviews1,109 followers
June 15, 2017
A touching story of how one girl copes after losing her best friend. But not just a simple loss-oh no. Her friend died right in front of her and she (along with some others) holds herself responsible. I can't even begin to properly get the emotional baggage that must come with.

Ethan, the brother to her best friend, is by far my favorite character in the book. He is so far mature and wise beyond his years. And sweet, stable and caring. Truly a gem in Dara's life. I liked Dara too, but sometimes her self-guilt gets to be a bit too much. Over a year later and she doesn't' even try to move on? She feels she deserves to be unhappy but not once does she stop and fully reflect what it is doing to her family and how it hurt her friendships. I get that she is suffering but to deliberately force yourself to never hug or touch another person, to refuse to smile...that is not good. Even for the guilty. So she tended to also frustrate me a bit at times even though I overall liked her character. Paige and Travis-I never got a decent feel. And they seemed wishy-washy in personalities to me.

This book comes with some feels. There are a few sniffle or eye watering moments, so readers beware.

*I received this book in exchange for a fair, honest review.*
Profile Image for Thamy.
489 reviews24 followers
July 31, 2017

The book deserves 3.5.

This is a romance between Dara, who had to change schools after accidentally killing her best friend and now decided to go back and face punishment from their peers, and Ethan, the same best friend's little brother, who has all the reasons to hate Dara and is surely isn't as little anymore. In fact, he's about to become the most important person in Dara's life.

And Rebecca Phillips did it again for me. I wasn't ready for a story with so much depth. I mean, were it not YA, I think it would have needed more but as YA this is the second book I read from this author and this is the second time I'm sure she went beyond. It's great to read one of those form time to time, to know authors still respect YA readers enough to do a little more.

There's a little about bullying, of course that's the main problem Dara faces when she's back at her former school, but I don't think it deserves trigger warnings. For one, they were never the focus so there isn't much detailing; for two, there wasn't much in number, either. Or maybe I was just ready for much worse—and I'm glad it didn't happen.

I think Phillips knew to keep focus on the romance. That's why I was reading the story, after all. But for most of the book each chapter in the present was followed by one during the school year right before the accident. I'm not a fan of this style—although it's quite used lately—but it contributed to have some mystery hang in the air and also to eliminate or at least reduce the oddness of a girl falling for someone she used to see as a little boy.

Talking about those flashbacks, not only Ethan's change was very well portrayed but also Dara's. I'm not sure if I can call it subtle but it was a great way to show and not just tell. You can really see her go from "Dare-ya", as they used to call her old self, to current traumatized Dara.

Even though I liked it better than Phillips's previous release, Any Other Girl, I can't say I had as much fun to round it to 4 stars. It was an easy, quick read, I don't mean I was bored, but I can't say I was that much into it. I confess I expected a plot twist or anything big that never came. So this is just the nice book you'd expect it to be but it has a plus of being very well executed. And I loved the cover!

It's only been two books but I guess I can say I'm becoming a fan. I can't wait for Phillips's next work.

Honest review based on an ARC provided by Edelweiss. I also want to thank the publisher for giving me this opportunity.
Profile Image for Sara (sarabara081).
685 reviews336 followers
September 30, 2017
You can find more of my reviews at Forever 17 Books.

4.5 stars!

The premise for These Things I’ve Done immediately grabbed me. I always gravitate towards angst and novels that are on the heavy side leaving me filled with a plethora of emotions as I read. This story is about a girl who blames herself for her best friend’s death and the path to acceptance and letting go.

The chapters are divided between the Before and the After of Aubrey’s death and both time frames were equally important to the overall story.

Before: The Before starts at the beginning of Dara and Aubrey’s sophomore year of high school and about 9-10 months before the accident. In these chapters we get a real feel for who Dara is and it provides a lot of perspective on how much Dara has been affected by her loss and her guilt. Here we meet a Dara that is confident and reckless. She is never one to turn down a dare to the point her friends often called her ‘Dare-ya’. These chapters give a great glimpse into Dara and Aubrey’s friendship and how important to each other they were as well as providing the details leading up to Aubrey’s death.

After: A few months after the accident happened Dara moved out of town with her aunt and uncle hoping that would allow everyone time to heal, including herself. But after a year away she has decided to return home to face her guilt head-on and finish her senior year at her old high school. The Dara we meet in the After is nothing like her previous self. Now she is afraid of human contact, is sort of reclusive, and very fragile. In blaming herself for her friend’s death, she doesn’t feel like she deserves to be happy. Everyone seems to be avoiding Dara at school, whispering and gossiping behind her back and well pretty much right in front of her as well, except Aubrey’s brother Ethan.

I really connected with Dara as a character. Her pain and guilt was devastating and a huge obstacle she needed to overcome. A huge part of her healing was Ethan. It was obvious in the Before that Aubrey’s little brother had a crush on Dara and they had a great friendship back then as well. But in the present he helped show her that finding happiness and moving on wasn’t selfish. They have a rocky road to get through as they both are still healing but I loved how real and raw their paths were together and on their own.

I truly loved everything about this story. Dara is such a complex and well-rounded character and I thought her portrayal was incredibly realistic. And Ethan! Gah, I loved him! So understanding, sweet, and patient. There are a lot of demons Dara has to work through but her journey touched my heart.

I’m in awe with how well the author crafted a story filled with so much emotion and hope in a way that felt completely organic in every aspect and not at all overwhelming. This book was everything I hoped it would be and more! Definitely one to pick up!
Profile Image for Louisa.
7,175 reviews43 followers
April 3, 2021
Really amazing book! The story was sad, but uplifting! Accidents happen, and they can really change your life. There was a lot of pain, but there was also healing! Really enjoyed this book!
Profile Image for Bridget.
157 reviews245 followers
October 25, 2022

Loved Dara and all the relationships that she was involved in, especially between her and ethan. Usually i’m not a fan of the whole dead friend/bf sibling thing but they were sweet and they genuinely did fit and work together around the trauma and grief they’re shared.

I do however wish we got to see more of aubrey and dara’s friendship before the accident and a bit more after, it would’ve helped with the emotions that I so desperately wanted to feel.

Also extra stars for the whole band/ hot bandmates thing I absolutely loved it.
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,340 reviews227 followers
November 25, 2017

Determined to face her guilt, Dara returns to her hometown fifteen months after she killed her best friend. She expects Aubrey’s brother Ethan to hate her, but not that all her friends would hate her too. Even her family treat her like she’s unwanted.

THESE THINGS I’VE DONE is a fairly predictable story, yet Rebecca Phillips managed to hold my interest with flawless writing. Told in Dara’s voice alternating chapters between sophomore and senior years, leading up to Aubrey’s death and Dara’s return home.

With the exception of Ethan, minor characters were fairly one-dimensional. I empathized with Dara for most of the story, but when her self pity became hurtful under the guise of “I’m only doing this because I’m so awful and don’t deserve you” she lost me.

I enjoyed reading THESE THINGS I’VE DONE, despite its many flaws.
Profile Image for Andi (Andi's ABCs).
1,550 reviews189 followers
August 31, 2018
This review was originally posted on Andi's ABCs
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I don’t think I have the words to talk about how much I loved this book. I’m actually really mad at myself for waiting so long. I downloaded this book over 550 days ago and am ashamed of myself for taking so long. The writing was fantastic, the story was amazing, and the characters were perfect. It was the perfect storm for me. Everything that I love in a book was there. My heart broke for Dara and all the blame she put on herself for an accident. It was heartbreaking to read, but it was also beautiful to see her build herself back up and be the Dara she was before tragedy struck her. And let’s not forget how adorable Ethan was! Definitely a book everyone needs to check out. I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Stephanie.
952 reviews7 followers
February 13, 2018
3.5 stars.

So, I didn't love this book, but I didn't hate it either. Dara's struggle to come to terms with her role in her best friend's death felt real for the most part, although I had a few quibbles with the way people around her handled it. And while I was skeptical at first, I thought the alternating present day/flashback chapters ended up working really well in terms of pushing the story forward while also laying the groundwork for the romance.

Another big plus is that this book was exactly as advertised - a story about a girl coming to terms with the accident that killed her best friend. No last minute reveal that Aubrey was actually a horrible person who got what she deserved or . It was just a story about a girl learning to forgive herself (while falling in love with the one person most people would assume had every reason to hate her). And I liked that.

Ethan's willingness to forgive was a highlight for me, although as the novel progressed, I questioned a bit more than I would have liked .

I had a few other nitpicks, such as a disappointing number of side characters who smoked and the fact that at 15/16 Ethan has apparently already learned to use alcohol as a crutch to help him cope with certain situations .

The present-day dynamic with Paige and Travis also left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Unfortunately, I suspect it's an all too true scenario these days. And while I know it was a necessary part of the plot, I do wish Aubrey and Ethan's parents had been written differently. So many YA books cast parents as the bad guys (or portray strict parents as evil with no explanation or accommodation for the reasons why), and it makes me sad.

Bottom line: a worthy read, but watch out for a few pitfalls.
Profile Image for Krysti.
364 reviews124 followers
August 3, 2017
THESE THINGS I'VE DONE is equally heartbreaking and heartwarming and is such a beautiful story of friendship, grief, love, and forgiveness.

I really enjoyed the way Phillips flips back and forth between Dara's present and her past. We get to see the build up to the terrible event that resulted in the tragic death of her best friend as well as the emotional aftermath that she has to attempt to cope with. The pacing of the story was perfect, and the moments when Phillips chooses to switch from past to present and vice versa were perfectly timed and kept me glued to the pages.

Though there are some really sad and difficult moments in this story, there are also some really beautiful, hope-filled moments as well. It's true that sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself, and Dara has to learn that lesson in the most difficult of ways in this poignant and heartfelt story.

This is the first book of Rebecca Phillips's that I've read, and I will certainly be reading more in the future.
Profile Image for Sharon.
570 reviews3 followers
December 9, 2017
One of those stories that grabs you by the throat, hits you in the gut and twists your heart!

Told by Dara, a teen suffering guilt over the death of her best friend Aubrey, These Things I’ve Done follows the pair from their first meet to their sophomore year at high school, the accident and what happens after.

My favorite character transformation isn’t Dara but Aubrey’s younger brother Ethan who grows from a shy geeky child to a confident mature person and shows Dara what forgiveness means even in the midst of tragedy.

Totally recommended, just be sure to have a Kleenex packet close at hand.

Profile Image for Solara!.
344 reviews82 followers
May 10, 2022
dara is me. i am dara. idc what anyone says cuz shes the best and absolutely did not deserve any hate. but ethan💟
August 16, 2017
These Things I’ve Done Review Original Blog Post
"Mistakes happen, We can hate ourselves for them all we want , but it doesn't help anything. It just ends up hurting us too."

This story was beautiful and heart breaking. It was about loss, coping with guilt. This story was about Dara who accidentally killed her best friend. Honestly if you think about this how hard would be to a person to see you best friend die in front of you? This book brings about a lot of emotions for you to feel.
The chapters alternate between the past (sophomore year) and present (senior year) constantly. And you get to know about what happened before in flash as you weather the present. This format was quite interesting and fun for me to delve into. It gave you perspective and information about the past at exactly the right time. And told you how characters have changed and differ from their past selves.
I loved to see the friendship between Aubrey and Dara. To see the dynamic between them and how different they were from each other yet so compatible. And how it was effected by Justin, Aubrey's new boyfriend.

Ethan was my favorite character. I loved seeing what he was before and what he was after the accident. He was sweet and caring. It was exactly what Dara needed to cope or to process and finally move on. Someone who would also understand and would have gone through the same pain as her.

Dara and her journey was so hard to read. For her to constantly feel guilty and numb. Wanting to punish herself. All her feelings, thoughts. The way she restrict herself around human beings and social cues.

Although you already know whats gonna happen but when it happens and is told. It quite so shocking and leaves you stunned, That how unpredictable life is. And in the end you are left with nothing but guilt. I love that we can get a much much deeper meaning about life from this book. Which is so much more than loss. And about life and its suddenness. Its unfair-ness.

I have added this to one of my fav books of 2017 list I just could help but fall for it badly. I must admit even before reading the cover had me. Its so beautiful. I love the person on the cover and her t shirt dress and the whole lake behind. Its beautiful.
I would recommend it to every one who is looking for a heart felt contemporary.

"I received a copy of this book by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are, of course, honest and completely my own."
Profile Image for Melannie :).
347 reviews199 followers
September 29, 2017
Give it up for this book! *clapping emoji*
Review to come.


I've been starving for some contemporary jewel this year. So far this has probably been the busiest year of my life so far (and that's saying a lot) and I have read a whooping 4 books so far--and it's friggin April.

So I was desperately needing some good quality story to get me out of my funk. These Things I've Done turned out to be the miracle I was hoping for.

I didn't even expect it. I haven't even read a blurb for the book so I was on a blind date. It's so shocking to realize you are so compatible with your blind date (not that I have ever been on a blind date before, mind you) that I am still trying to make sense about what happened.

The book is about a tragic accident where a girl named Aubrey died. It's about the very different and heartbreaking ways the people closest to her, her best friend Dara and her brother Ethan, deal with it.

I saw someone comparing it to In Honor, which has sort of a very similar plot, but I disagree. I thought These Things I've Done was deeper, sadder and more realistic. I actually felt sad about Aubrey dying, which *never* happens. I mean, I am usually very aware that this is only a book and no one died, but this time I got sad anyway. I tend to find flashbacks annoying and repetitive, but in this book I really enjoyed them, and they made me care.

I was so happy about Dara, Aubrey and Ethan and their odd three-way friendship. I was literally so invested. Then I was devastated to learn that a friendship so awesome had crumbled apart so easily.

I loved Dara. She was such a likable protagonist, vulnerable with a side of fierceness. I loved her before, as that fearless girl who loved adrenaline, but I also loved her as a broken, sensitive kid who is full of guilt and confussion. Here's a hug for you Dara: *hug*.

And don't even get me started on Ethan, who handled things so perfectly, so maturely. He's a huge reason why this novel works so well.

Anyhow. I loved this novel. You can't change my mind about it. It's been put on my "read again" shelf. And you should try it too!
Profile Image for Luke Reynolds.
653 reviews
February 13, 2018
YA contemporaries are a very predictable field. If you want books that have a girl coming to terms with stuff in her life, a sweet if safe romance, and a brief glimpse into heavy issues that may or may not be satisfactory depending on who you ask, you're in the right place. I value them as comfort reads, pillows to rest upon whenever I finish something really edgy and out of my comfort zone. These are in a safe place for me.

Looking back at Rebecca Phillips' other novels shows that her contemporaries have a little bit of edge. This is my first novel from her and her debut from HarperCollins, but her past novels have a focus on darker themes than lighter contemporaries from other authors. She reminds me of Sarah Dessen but with much more focus on the internal conflict of the protagonists to make them better sketched. This was the one that captivated my attention, a story about a girl returning to town a year and a half after her best friend died while flashing back to the events leading up to that horrific accident. Granted, the idea of another best friend's brother relationship sounded tried and true, but the beautiful cover and the delicacy that would have to be shown between the past and present flashbacks had me intrigued.

Overall, Phillips did a solid job with These Things I've Done. It's exactly what you'd expect from a realistic fiction release: a girl trying to find herself again amidst a budding relationship. While it's nothing new, above average writing, genuine effectiveness in nailing emotion, and inverting a lot of the stereotypes helped make this a little more interesting. However, issues still arose, namely with repetitive drama and a somewhat cheesy romance that while sweet ended up bringing this back into very familiar territory. But thanks to the flashback chapters and the strengths listed above, Phillips tried her best to make this landscape her own, and it was effective for the most part.

The protagonist, Dara, was both hit and miss. The novel is centered around her return to Hyde Creek after a year away. Her best friend, Aubrey, died after a pick-up truck ran over her, and Dara feels responsible. If she hadn't pushed Aubrey, she wouldn't have died. Wracked with guilt and the fact her classmates believe she deliberately killed Aubrey, Dara has become a statue, a relic of who she once was. She isn't the brave girl who accepted the dares her classmates threw at her anymore. While I feel like her self-pity defined her character and got repetitive very fast, it was still gripping. Her self-esteem was so low to the point where she didn't think she deserved any of the happiness coming to her, and that was hard. Her family situation was rough too, with a stoic dad, a mom who wants to rely on the therapist, and a little brother who doesn't know how to reconnect with his sister. Those little details kept me going, and the drama was very suspenseful.

Dara reconnects with Aubrey's younger brother, Ethan, throughout the course of this book. Rather than have the protagonist fall for the best friend's hot older brother, we have the opposite this time around. Kudos to Phillips for trying something else. It's an awkward relationship, pretty much because Dara and Ethan grew up together through most of their adolescence. We see this in the past chapters, where Aubrey and Dara both fall for a cute junior guy who ends up dating Aubrey. But I loved how nice and unapologetic Ethan was, even if his newfound anger got the better of him. He was so forgiving of Dara to a fault. He never really understood why she held so much weight on her shoulders, but he wanted to show her she deserved the love the genuine people were giving her. That was really nice.

I felt like some elements of his character were very similar to main male love interests in his vein, like his outbursts of anger, his transformation from adorable to hot, and his love for playing music in a band. He also had a really irrelevant girlfriend that was only on like four pages before he ended the romance. But the band thing was alleviated by some cool characters and decent development. I need a novel about lead singer and heartthrob Kel, please.

Moving past that, I really liked the plotline of the past chapters. Even though it revolved around boy drama (and we know it's in pretty much every YA novel), it felt gripping to read it in a different tense from the present and to have it be more self-aware. Dara knows her crush on Justin is wrong because her best friend really likes the guy, even though his friends are jerks and Ethan doesn't trust him. She wants Aubrey to be happy. and that's very selfless of her. It was also cool to see sophomore Dara be gutsy, particularly in a scene where she walks across the monkey bars barefoot. It provided a nice contrast with the current her, who was hollowed out and struggling with bullying from her classmates that made her sink lower into the quicksand.

However, there were some setbacks with this title. Like I've mentioned before, Dara's inner turmoil gets recursive fast, and by the end of the book, it was more annoying than empathetic. The romance got very cheesy at its climax, trying to juggle both subtlety and explicitness to the point where I couldn't stop laughing. Some of the characters lacked development and felt like cut-outs from other titles or like a cartoon villain. Lastly, a definite ending to some of the subplots was heavily lacking, particularly involving Aubrey and Ethan's cutthroat parents and who was slipping notes into Dara's locker and making her life hell. We never learn the bully's identity; we're only left to guess Having clarity would have definitely made things more conclusive.

Beyond that, These Things I've Done is a fine enough title. I won't deny it's very safe with an all white and straight man cast, not to mention a formula we've all read before. But Dara's emotional state, the tender moments of her relationship with Ethan that aren't freshly-melted orange stuff, and the reversal of some of the tropes found in YA contemporary may make this worthwhile to some fans of the genre. It's a decent read that's perfect to fall back into when you just need something that feels comfortable, like an old sweater or a warm mug of hot cocoa. And that's perfectly fine sometimes.

Also, the photographer who's responsible for the cover, Marta Bevacqua, has absolutely stunning work. Check out her stuff here. Maybe you'll find the cover of Phillips' next book....
Profile Image for Haley.
338 reviews24 followers
May 11, 2017
*I received advance readers copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins*

4.5 stars
Wow, I wasn't expecting this book to be as good as it was. I didn't know what to think about a girl who accidentally killed her best friend. Honestly, what would you do in this situation? How do you react to accidentally killing your best friend and having to deal with the guilt of just watching her die right in front of you? How? This book brought out so many emotions in me and you can just feel it in the author's writing and the character's feelings in what they thought. Lets just say this book has a beautiful cover and the first chapter is just WHAT THE HECK!
The Bad
I honestly don't know what there was bad about this book. There didn't seem to be anything wrong because the characters were well-written and everyone played a part in the book. The only thing I didn't like was that Paige and Trevor were only mentioned a few times in her senior year. I just wish we could have known what they were really thinking. I wish that Dara could have shown that it wasn't fully her fault in the end.
The Good
I found the concept of this entire book just incredible! At some points, I felt my eyes watering due to it just being a heart-breaking story.
I found this book wonderful and the writing was perfect! I just loved the entire concept and I felt the heartbreak when reading this story because just think about it how would you feel after accidentally killing your best friend? I will definitely call this one of the better upcoming books that are to be released.
Profile Image for Holly.
539 reviews1 follower
August 7, 2017
I'm going to state up front that I'm a crier. I cry at pretty much everything - so I often go out of my way to avoid books that I *know* will make me cry and a book about a girl who feels responsible for the death of her best friend ranks up there as a "Book That Will Make Me Cry". I figured since the friend was already dead at the start of the book I could manage. I wasn't counting on flashbacks to when the friend was still alive - although the flashbacks were perfect. Seeing the three main characters as they were helps you understand how the two survivors come to be who they are in present day. The flashbacks give all the characters depth and meaning and were literally perfect.

And yes I cried - I started probably a little over half-way and finished with a big old ugly cry at the end - but such a good cry. This is a book you want to read. But it's a book you should read at home - and when you have the time to read it all at once - because once you start you're not going to want to stop! #canada150 #readthenorth
Profile Image for Jackie.
582 reviews58 followers
January 7, 2018
Wow. This was a wonderfully written story. The blurb caught my attention (how could it not? I mean, how do you accidentally kill your best friend?) and I was drawn into the story immediately.

What I liked most about this story is that the characters are all so realistic and relatable. It was clear that Dara struggled with guilt over what happened to the point where she was pretty much punishing herself from having any happiness. It was incredibly brave of her to go back home and face what happened, knowing how people would react to her being back. The people at her school weren't kind to her, but she took it without complaint. Noelle was a great addition to the story and I was so happy that Dara was able to find a group of people who accepted her.

I was really curious about how Ethan would react to Dara being back. His love for her really showed. I liked the fact that things between Dara and Ethan weren't rushed. That made it all the more realistic.

I like that the chapters switched back and forth between the present and flashbacks to the past that led up to the accident. I feel like that really amped up the mystery aspect of the story for me. I flew through this book in a day because I just had to know what exactly happened that led up to the accident. With all of the rumors that circulated the school about Dara, the reader is also left to wonder if it really was an accident or if Dara did it on purpose.

I couldn't have asked for a better ending for this story. It was beautiful and a perfect way to close out Dara's journey of trying to forgive herself, moving past what happened, and healing.
Profile Image for Stella Maria.
33 reviews13 followers
August 26, 2017
{Review coming soon.}

I was fully expecting this book to be your typical cliched summer romance book, but the writing surprised me. The grief and romance didn't feel staged, which made me adore this book.

Fun fact: I read the last line of this book as my plane to Florida landed - and I literally mean when the wheels touched the ground. Talk about emphasis.

3.66 stars ✩✩✩✩
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
194 reviews21 followers
August 16, 2017
The thing about this book is that this premise and plot are CHOCK-FULL of things that, handled poorly, could turn this into a trainwreck. Like, around every corner, but Rebecca Phillips navigates this masterfully and with sensitivity. As a writer who is currently wrestling with a similarly booby-trapped manuscript, I appreciate the skill displayed here.
Profile Image for Rebeca.
151 reviews20 followers
January 9, 2018
WOW.... I have tears in my eyes right now, it was so good❤️ I heard about this book a while ago and I immediately added it to my TBR, I was intrigued and while it took me a while to read this book, I’m glad I finally read it. I read this book today, I couldn’t put it down. This story is about friendship, love & loss, as soon as you start to read it, you won’t be able to stop reading!
Profile Image for Alexa.
2,214 reviews11.7k followers
July 28, 2017
I liked the writing in this one, as well as the narrative style that Phillips employed. Plus, I thought the characters were interesting and the personal conflict that Dara was experiencing and working through was pretty compelling to read about.
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