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The Best Week that Never Happened

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After her parents’ bitter divorce, family vacations to the Big Island in Hawaii ceased. But across the miles, eighteen-year-old Tegan Rossi remains connected to local Kai Kapule, her best friend from childhood. Now, Tegan finds herself alone and confused about how she got to the Big Island. With no wallet, no cell phone, purse, or plane ticket, Tegan struggles to piece together what happened. She must have come to surprise-visit Kai. Right? As the teens grow even closer, Tegan pushes aside her worries and gets swept away in the vacation of her dreams.

But each morning, Tegan startles awake from nightmares that become more difficult to ignore. Something is eerily amiss. Why is there a strange gap in her memory? Why can’t she reach her parents or friends from home? And what’s with the mysterious hourglass tattoo over her heart?

Kai promises to help Tegan figure out what is going on. But the answers they find only lead to more questions. As the week unfolds, Tegan will experience the magic of first love, the hope of second chances, and the bittersweet joy and grief of being human.

300 pages, Paperback

First published April 21, 2020

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About the author

Dallas Woodburn

15 books137 followers
Dallas Woodburn's debut YA novel, The Best Week That Never Happened, was a #1 New Release on Amazon, a Featured Bestseller on Apple Books, a “Must Read” on Reedsy Discovery, and the Grand Prize Winner of the 2020 Dante Rossetti Book Awards for Young Adult Fiction. Her novel Thanks, Carissa, For Ruining My Life is forthcoming from Immortal Works Press in February 2022, and her nonfiction book 1,001 Ways to be Kind will be released by Familius Publishing in 2023. Her collection of short stories Woman, Running Late, in a Dress was published in 2018 by Yellow Flag Press and won the Cypress & Pine Short Fiction Award.

A former John Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing and a current San Francisco Writers Grotto Fellow, Dallas's writing has been honored with the international Glass Woman Prize, second place in the American Fiction Prize, and four Pushcart Prize nominations. She is editor of the series Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. She is also the host of the popular book-lovers podcast "Overflowing Bookshelves" where she interviews authors about their creative lives. Connect with her at www.dallaswoodburn.com.

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5 stars
67 (41%)
4 stars
62 (38%)
3 stars
28 (17%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 75 reviews
Profile Image for Stay Fetters.
2,017 reviews116 followers
March 9, 2020
"I am not certain of anything. Life is a mystery, just as death is a mystery. The best answers come from listening to the murmurs of your heart. Your heart is wise. Your heart is strong. Let yourself love, dear one. Let yourself, love, hugely and bravely. That is all any of us can do.”

This is a book that made me think about my own life while I was reading it and way after I was done reading it. Have I lived my best week yet? Or is it still to come? We never know when our time is up but that doesn't mean that we should stop trying to live our best lives.

From the start, you know that something about this book is going to make you emotionally break. I felt the weight of that the entire time while reading. You know that the devastating truth was going to fall but not really sure when. I was sitting on pins and needles with my heart in my throat.

Kai and Tegan are our star-crossed lovers who find their way back to each other after a tragic accident strikes. Their relationship seems perfect and they fit easily together. The week they spent together was the sweetest thing that I've ever read. But I was waiting for my heart to drop when one or both of them find out the truth. When it happens, it wrecks you. Even though I knew it was going to happen and I waited for it. The emotion that drips through these pages will make you weep.

The Best Week that Never Happened was heartbreaking and mesmerizing. Words escaped me when I finished because I was so enthralled by the beauty of this book. Nothing has ever made me feel this way after reading. Prepare yourselves for a book that will make you appreciate everything that you have in your life and you'll fall in love all over again.
Profile Image for alana ♡.
640 reviews1,236 followers
June 17, 2020
“Before this week, I never realized that real-life romance isn’t like the movies. Things don’t have to be so serious and intense all the time. You can have intensely serious feelings for someone and be silly with them. You can go from making out to laughing, and back to making out, and that’s okay.”

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Looking for a new book to get in lost in this summer?
Pack your bags because we’re going to Hawaii for this mystery/romance novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

What I Liked

🌌Star crossed lovers. I’m usually the super intense enemies to lovers with an extra side of hate type of gal – so this was quite different then my normal romance reads but I really enjoyed it. The week Tegan and Kai get to spend together was so freaking sweet that I never wanted it to end. And knowing (or at least knowing certain parts) of how it was going to end had my heart aching from the very start. This was like childhood best friends to lovers meets star crossed lovers and I loved every single second of it. This also had me feeling super nostalgic about all my beach friends I made as a kid/teenager when my family would go on vacation every year.

🌴 The setting. A large part of me wanted to live inside this book, like dive right in and spend the rest of my life here. I mean, who really wouldn’t want to live in a book that takes place in Hawaii? The author did a great job of making readers feel as though they were right next to Tegan and Kai as they spent their week together and you can definitely tell that a lot of research went into the setting and the local culture as well.

⁉️ What really happened to Tegan? The question we all want the answer to. Unfortunately for me this was spoiled, however, I think that now that the risk of it being spoiled for other readers (see below) is gone it will be something readers really look forward to and is definitely a driving force for this book.

⚠️ Underlying themes. If you think this is just a story about a girl trying to figure out why she had a sudden case of amnesia with a dash of romance think again. This is the type of book that makes you stop and think long after you’ve finished it. It’s a bittersweet story of first love, grief, joy, the cycle of life, and so much more. In other words buckle up, my friends.

What I Didn’t Like

📉Goodreads spoiled the ending. Okay, maybe like half of the ending but it still spoiled the major twist of this story. And I’m not talking about scrolling through reviews and happening to see a spoiler-y review. I’m talking going on Goodreads to add the book to my TBR and the first sentence of the synopsis was the plot twist. Luckily, it’s no longer there but it definitely was a bit of a bummer to know the gist of what was going to happen prior to even opening the book.

💌 Kai’s letters. This is something that I think could have worked for the story had they been a little more important. I truly loved how the story went back and forth between the past and present and gave readers a lot of insight into Tegan and Kai’s relationship/friendship. With Kai’s POV added to the mix in the form of letters it just seemed a bit redundant to the plot. So, I think either the letters or the flipping between the past and present would have worked better for the story but not both.

🔚 So so on the ending. Despite having the big plot twist spoiled I still definitely wanted to stick it out and see how Tegan and Kai’s story would end. For a book that gets real and tackles some deeper themes that really make you stop and think I found the ending to be a little too perfect. While I didn’t outright hate it, I wasn’t head over heels with it either.

All in all, even with the ending getting spoiled for me I still did enjoy my time with this book. For anyone looking for a mystery with a side of romance and just a dash of fantasy elements The Best Week that Never Happened is definitely worth checking out. This is the perfect type of book to take with you to the pool or the beach and get lost in for a few hours!

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Profile Image for Natalie.
Author 3 books77 followers
February 27, 2020
I had the opportunity to get my hands on an advance copy of Woodburn's The Best Week that Never Happened and wow! Woodburn weaves a bittersweet love story between star-crossed lovers—thwarted not only by distance but also by insurmountable tragedy. This captivating, poignant story is perfect for teens on the brink of discovering who they are and what really matters in the time they have left.
Profile Image for Danielle - BookishRhetor.
63 reviews6 followers
February 26, 2020
Woodburn has written a great debut novel, and I truly enjoyed this book! I can tell research went into the novel because of the Hawaiian based myths and legends that are a running theme though out the book. Furthermore,she created an entirely new take (at least to me) on what happens in limbo, or when you’re between life and death, which comes through in the form of magical realism. Woodburn’s take is that when you die, you get to live the best week of your life whether it’s happened or not. The Best Week That Never Happened is all about pushing fear to the side and second chances. While it is a friends to lovers romance, she seamlessly integrates past character interactions with present day interactions so develop the characters story. However, one draw back is I felt like the love portion was a little too instantaneous. There was a little tension but not a lot. It’s like once Teagan and Kai found out about the accident, everything was rushed and it was fleshed out like the proceeding chapters.

I did appreciate how Woodburn presented the POVs of Teagan and Kai and how the switch between past and present was purposeful. We are with Teagan the entire time but we do get Kai’s POV in the form of letters to Teagan. But, I wish the letters would have held a little more purpose. They just reiterated and retold everything we just read but in Kai’s voice. You could even skip over the letters because they didn’t bring anything new to the story.

One last tidbit. The ending was very satisfying and wrapped up nicely, but it was very predictable. I almost didn’t read the last 7% of the book because I knew how it was going to end. I feel like the book could have had more of an impact if it had ended differently, which is one of the reason I finished it. I needed to see if Woodburn was gonna sucker punch us. All in all, it was a very quick, enjoyable, and, in an ironic way, lighthearted read
Profile Image for Dallas.
Author 15 books137 followers
March 4, 2020
This is my first published novel, and I am so thrilled it is making its way out into the world! More than three years of writing, research & revising went into The Best Week That Never Happened. While it is hard to pinpoint exactly where ideas come from, I began writing this novel after one of my best friends was killed in a car accident. I didn't realize it while I was writing the first draft, but looking back on the book now, it is clear that on some level I was writing -- trying to write -- a different ending for her than the one she was dealt. She was always such a huge fan of my writing, and I hope this book makes her proud. <3 The Best Week That Never Happened, with its gorgeous cover and interior designed by my wonderful publisher Month9Books, is being released on April 21, 2020 as a paperback, ebook, and audiobook!
Profile Image for Gina.
4 reviews
May 4, 2020
I just finished this book after absolutely devouring it. And now I'm so sad it's over! This was a beautifully written love story that transported me to paradise and held me in an emotional grip the whole way through. It's incredibly moving, the characters are adorable, and the way the author makes the setting come alive is the perfect escape during quarantine. I couldn't put it down and I'm sure you won't be able to either! I can't recommend this enough!
August 18, 2020
Full disclosure, this book was written by my college roommate, Dallas, and I’m just so so proud!! This is her first novel, and I think it’s just exactly what YA should be. The text is accessible and the protagonist is relatable, but Dallas eases in so many huge and valuable life lessons. This book starts as just a cute mystery of teenage crushes, but it builds into a lesson on grief, letting go, and living your best life. It is done in such a manageable way that even though I spent whole sections of the book sobbing, I could feel the weight on my heart getting lighter.

One of Dallas’s inspirations for writing this book was the earth-shattering passing of our beloved and utterly singular college roommate, Céline, at the age of 26. Reading it brought me joy and solace, even as tears streamed down my face, because of the celebration, love, and hope that Dallas infused into it. If you’re in a place where you could benefit from some healing tears, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. And if everyone read this book, I think we'd all be happier for it. Love you, Dal <3
Profile Image for Christy.
1,505 reviews258 followers
July 13, 2020
Lots of emotions on this one. Full RTC!
3,808 reviews106 followers
April 23, 2020
Month9Books and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of The Best Week That Never Happened. I voluntarily chose to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

A friendship was born from a family vacation. Will the bond that Kai and Tegan formed long distance provide a connection at a most crucial time?

The Best Week That Never Happened tries to show how personal bonds can provide a connection in the most unlikely of ways, but the book was largely unsuccessful for me. The story travels back and forth in time, providing a loss of continuity that prevents a bond between reader and the characters. I never felt any connection to either of the main characters, though their personal stories should have evoked an emotional response. I wanted to like this book, but I felt cheated by the overall resolution of the premise. There is not enough of a story for a full book, so the author employs what I feel is a trick to push the plot forward. This YA novel is not overly memorable and is not one that I would recommend to other readers.
Profile Image for Maureen.
888 reviews39 followers
April 19, 2020
This reminded me of one of my favorite books of all time, Anita Shreve’s The Last Time They Met. I mean no disrespect to this author, but rather many kudos to her. The stories are not really that similar, but I loved them both because of the “what might have been” story in both novels. Dallas Woodburn has a great career ahead of her and I’m glad I’m one of the readers who can first tout the wonder that is The Best Week That Never Happened. Tegan finds herself in Hawaii rekindling a friendship with Kai, who she has known for years. This is a beautiful and tragic YA love story. I’m thankful to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an eARC to read in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Sigy George.
59 reviews11 followers
October 14, 2020
I kept putting off writing this review because I knew that by the end I would have a stack of tissues wet with my tears. Dallas' debut novel has every flavor to make it a bestseller. I was drawn to the book by the blurb which was mysterious and yet gave away the main premise. "What if, when you died, you got to relive The Best Week of Your Life - but you died too soon, and The Best Week of Your Life hadn’t happened yet?".

I knew that the book was going to be a heart-breaker and most probably leave me with puffy eyes and dullness. Braving this knowledge, I read the book and was sucked deep into it. I read the book in one sitting. On my second reading, I found myself pausing to avoid tears and the dull ache that arose due to the circumstances the characters find themselves in.

I knew from page one that this book would break my heart into shreds and that it might even drain me emotionally. The thought was always at the back of my mind while reading. It was like knowing you are about to get cut, but not sure when the knife will hit you.

The book is about childhood friends, Kai and Tegan. Kai and Tegan are best friends which strengthens over a period of time and develops into love which both fear to admit. Fate plays a cruel game and the lovers find their way back to each other after a tragic accident strikes Tegan. The book then further explore this relationship where they both confess their love to each other despite their fears and anxieties. Isn't this the same in real life too? We fear that we will lose a person if we admit our true feelings. Often regretting too late, thinking "what if?"

Their relationship is dealt with masterfully. It sneaks upon you without a shadow. You will be engulfed in their love and be an active participant with them. I won't reveal the story because it will ruin the pleasure of reading.

You will be aware of the bitter truth, but it will still kill you when Kai and Tegan discover the devastating truth for themselves. You wish you could hug and console them. Holding back the tears is very difficult when reading this book – it will make you cry with love, with pain, with joy and in revelation. Each page is laced with so much emotion that one wonders how the author managed to capture it all.

This is a great debut novel; I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend everyone read the book at least once. It's not just a book about friendship or family or romance. It is also about giving life a second chance and to attempt to live beyond fear. There are important life lessons that one can take away. We don't know which hour will be our last, and this should not stop us from living our best lives. There are beautiful words that can be etched into our minds.

We can also see that a lot of reading and research has gone into writing the novel, as evident by the Hawaiian-based myths and legends that are interspersed throughout the book.

The Best Week that Never Happened is heartrendingly beautiful. Words seemed to flow with a mind of their own before I even framed them. Such is the beauty and power of this magnificent novel. No book has touched me this way after reading it for quite some time. This book is a rare gem that will make you appreciate everything and everyone that you have in your life. Come, close your eyes, learn to trust, and fall in love all over again.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange of a honest review. My views about the work are not influenced or biased towards the author or publisher.
Profile Image for MANVI NARANG.
146 reviews13 followers
November 15, 2020
"If this is it—if this is all the Heaven I get—I’m going to soak up every last drop of it. I’ll make this week enough to last a lifetime."

The Best Week That Never Happened, The debut novel by Dallas Woodburn, is a YA novel that is not only heartbreakingly raw but also deceptively poignant, drawing reader's in with the brilliant themes it reaches across!

The story begins with our protagonist, Tegan waking up in the middle of a strange place in Hawaii, a place where she has some bittersweet memories with her family and her *coughs* childhood bestfriend cum star crossed lover Kai Kapule!
Tegan slowly tries to piece together what happened and why and how she is on the island. Later she and Kai realise that she is dead and this is her last week to have the best week that she never had!

The part where they find this out was especially heartbreaking and I loved the first half of the book, it was so promising at it's core!
The ring of authenticity that the characters had, stood out during the course of the whole story.

The writing and the plot held me captivated since the beginning but I felt a little pace disturbance in the second half. I was hoping for a more poignant ending that would shatter my soul apart but instead got a pretty predictable ending, which was the only thing that icked me about the book.

But Overall, this was a brilliant piece for a debut fiction and I loved the starting concept of the book. The research that the author had done showed in the writing and the "bittersweet joy and grief of being human" in the book was just Beautiful!

"I am not certain of anything. Life is a mystery, just as death is a mystery. The best answers come from listening to the murmurs of your heart. Your heart is wise. Your heart is strong. Let yourself love, dear one. Let yourself, love, hugely and bravely. That is all any of us can do.”
Profile Image for Morgan Waltz.
98 reviews19 followers
January 5, 2021
**Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an e-arc of The Best Weekend That Never Happened**

After her parents’ bitter divorce, family vacations to the Big Island in Hawaii ceased. But across the miles, eighteen-year-old Tegan Rossi remains connected to local Kai Kapule, her best friend from childhood. Now, Tegan finds herself alone and confused about how she got to the Big Island. With no wallet, no cell phone, purse, or plane ticket, Tegan struggles to piece together what happened. She must have come to surprise-visit Kai. Right? As the teens grow even closer, Tegan pushes aside her worries and gets swept away in the vacation of her dreams.  

I felt like from the first page of the book I had figured out the story line. And while that was the case I found that I really still enjoyed reading the book. There's something very intriguing about a story plot that follows that "limbo" of time in between being alive and dead. (ahem I'm looking at you The Midnight Library) And I'm finding that I REALLY enjoy these types of books as there's a million ways to interpret what is waiting for us when we die. The touch of mystery, with a sprinkle of romance and the tropical setting really kept my interest and kept me hooked with the book.

3.5 stars rounded to 4
Profile Image for Fernanda Granzotto.
576 reviews112 followers
April 15, 2020

*Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an early copy of this book for review, all opinions are my own *

This book surprised me because I ended up liking it much more than I thought it would.

For me this book was divided into three parts, the first one I liked a lot, a 5-star book that left me intrigued to know what happened to Tegan then the second part where we have confirmation of what happened to her, as I already did I imagined what it was I was a little disappointed but it continued to be a 4-star book, as soon as the third part started we were able to see what would happen in the end and I didn't like it, from there on I lost the desire to read the book, for me I didn't make sense to read the book anymore because of what the end was going to be, the end of the book arrived the thing that the book was telling us was going to happen, happen and for me the book kind of lost all the purpose being just a 3-star book, good and solid but nothing spectacular as it could be if the ending had been different.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
2 reviews34 followers
May 3, 2020
A heartwarming, wholesome YA novel with relatable characters that tug at the heartstrings, “The Best Week that Never Happened” was an uplifting love story and fast-moving read for me to escape to given all the craziness going on in the world.

There were some predictable plot lines and generic prose throughout the novel, which is why I docked a star. Overall, though, it was an enjoyable and engaging read.

As someone who grew up in Hawaii, I also appreciated the nods to local culture (it made me miss malasadas!) and lush depictions of the island setting in the novel.

Look forward to future books from this author!
3 reviews
April 26, 2020
Not just for young adults!

So refreshing to read a young adult novel that doesn’t rely on tired or cringeworthy tropes. No dystopian future with the perfect teen heroes. A beautiful story about two young teens who must work through their own fears and insecurities while supporting each other to be their best (not perfect) possible self. All in front of the backdrop of an original and creative idea! Highly recommended!
1 review1 follower
April 24, 2020
I read this debut novel by Dallas Woodburn and highly recommend it to all book lovers! This delightful story made me cry and laugh out loud! At different points I thought I had the story line all figured out- only to be completely and pleasantly surprised. Order your copy today and enjoy!
1 review1 follower
April 30, 2020
I loved this book. The characters are so real, so full of wisdom, and so fun. It was great escape reading for me. I could not put this book down and cannot wait for the next book by Dallas Woodburn!
1 review1 follower
May 3, 2020
Sooo good!

This book is amazing! I love how real the characters were and the story keeps you guessing! Such a great love story
Profile Image for Hope Bolinger.
Author 18 books238 followers
July 17, 2020
A really enjoyable read! I absolutely love the concept of this and cannot wait to see what else this author writes
Profile Image for Jennieke Cohen.
Author 2 books371 followers
August 19, 2020
A beautiful and haunting debut that tackles grief, love, loss, and second chances by an author to watch! I fell head over heels for Kai and Tegan and their love story. Dallas Woodburn transported me to Hawaii just as I was getting stir crazy in lockdown, and I really wished I didn't have to leave the beauty of the island, even as I *had* to get to the end of the story. :D If you enjoy poignant romances with a bit of a twist, I highly recommend you pick up this contemporary gem!
Profile Image for Mary Kenyon.
Author 14 books114 followers
April 24, 2021
Excellent book I'm passing on to my daughter to read. Couldn't put it down and loved the characters. Made me want to read more by this author.
10 reviews
August 18, 2020
Really cute metaphysical love story set in Hawaii. Made me wish I could be reading it on the beach, just as I worried for the main character and tried to figure out the twist. Definitely recommend!
1 review
June 6, 2020
Great Read.

While I would not normally choose this genre had I not know Dallas, I am so glad I did. This is a real page turner and I am better for having reveled in Teagan and Kai’s relationship and growth. I would recommend this to anyone.
Profile Image for Jennifer Shanahan.
890 reviews12 followers
May 27, 2020
This book was short but so sweet. Teagan and Kai meet as 8 year olds when she is on vacation in Hawaii from Philadelphia with her parents. They become fast friends and spend all their time together. She returns to Hawaii several years alter and on the last day of her trip runs into Kai accidentally. They meet up that night and exchange cell numbers to keep in touch. They become the closest of friends. Best friends.
Then, 3 years later Teagan wakes up in Hawaii and has no idea how she got there or what happened. She seeks out Kai and they spend then week together falling in love and slowly figuring out how Teagan got there as they have their best week ever. This is such a cute story and so adorable how Teagan and Kai meet and become such close friends. Definitely don't miss this one! Quick, happy read!
Profile Image for Sarah Combs.
32 reviews
June 23, 2021
So it’s definitely young adult fiction, but that’s how it’s marketed and advertised. It doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t. Some parts are a little cheesy or cringe-worthy, but overall it’s a beautiful book I could NOT put down!
I may have cried a little…
But I didn’t go to sleep until I’d finished it!
Profile Image for Braden.
Author 1 book8 followers
July 12, 2021
This was a re-read for me so I could be refreshed for my live stream with the author Dallas Woodburn.

I loved this book just as much as the first time I read it! It's such a beautiful, yet sad story. I loved it so much!

My favorite part of the book is and will always be when we find out why the book is called The Best Week That Never Happened.
Profile Image for Kris.
944 reviews20 followers
March 26, 2020
Mm big nope with this one guys. Did not like it at all. It was slow, cliched, and just overall meh. The characters were also very boring unfortunately and while the story had potential it just wasn’t there for me.
Profile Image for Stephanie Kroepfl.
Author 1 book9 followers
June 24, 2021
Very well written story that takes place in a fun, tropical place. The characters are believable and likeable, and you want to know what happens to them. Also, there's a great twist at the end.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 75 reviews

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