“In the end, only three things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” – Unknown
It was a big lie. The biggest lie she’d ever told. It reverberated through her head as she said it, ringing eerily, and the girl behind her eyes—the girl who knew the truth—screamed, and her scream echoed along with the lie.
“Are you in love with Noah, Mercedes?” Cora asked. “I mean . . . I know you love him. You’ve been friends forever. We all have. But are you in love with him?”
If it had been anyone else—anyone—Mercedes would have stuck out her chest, folded her skinny arms, and let her feelings be known. She would have claimed him. But it was Cora. Brave, beautiful, broken Cora, and Cora loved Noah too.
So Mercedes lied.
And with that lie, she lost him. With that lie, she sealed her fate.
She was the best friend, the bridesmaid, the godmother, the glue. She was there for the good times and the bad, the ups and downs, the biggest moments and the smallest parts. And she was there when it all came crashing down.
This is the tale of the girl who didn’t get the guy.
Wow. Just WOW, seriously, that’s all you really need to know. This book was AMAZING. It was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, while also having some wonderfully funny and light moments. The way the story was woven together, with the moments from the past informing the present situation, was, it was just, it was everything. EVERYTHING.
The Smallest Part is a stand-alone novel, though it does have some cross-over with Moses from The Law of Moses. While his page time is not significant, his role in this story is vitally important in more than one way. It’s written in third person semi-omniscient perspective, primarily following Mercedes, with the occasional look into Noah’s life as well.
I honestly have no idea how to convey how phenomenal this book is. It just took all of my feelings, ripped them out, distilled them into their unique reactions, then wove them back together in a way I’d never experienced. It made me uncomfortable in the best way, and aware of the possibility of a world I never really thought about. This is a book that is going to stick with me for some time.
Cora may have looked like the sun, but her soul was painted only in the darkest shades of grey. Cora, beautiful, broken Cora, was a difficult character to like, but she was even harder to dislike because she was so damaged. She was frustrating in the way she treated the people she cared most about, but then she’d turn around and be the most protective and wonderful person she could be. She’s not given a diagnosis in this book, but she reminded me so much of my baby sister it’s hard for me not to wonder if she suffered from bipolar disorder, with her horrific lows and fleeting highs.
Mercedes was the light to Cora’s dark, in every way beyond appearance. She was selfless and solid and soulful. She was literally everything Cora wasn’t but wanted to be. She was the heart of their trio, the living, beating embodiment of all the good she, Cora, and Noah needed. She gave when she had nothing; she loved when she was devastated, she forgave when no one else could. All of that and she was still a pillar of strength and refused to let others run roughshod over her, except Cora, whom she was unable to refuse in any way.
If Cora and Mercedes were darkness and light, Noah was the earth basking in their alternating days and nights. He needed both to survive, to discover his own strength and they each needed him in their own way. Cora needed him to keep her from disappearing into the shadows, and Mercedes needed him to remind her that even the sun has days when it hides behind the clouds. He balanced their extremes and offered them each an outlet for the parts of themselves they weren’t good at dealing with alone.
The Smallest Part reminds me of the line from John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.” It took some time to build, but I was completely wrapped up in Cora, Mercedes, and Noah before I even realized what was happening. They each won separate pieces of my heart – in different ways – until I was so deeply invested in their story it almost felt like I wouldn’t be whole if they weren’t. It was a heady experience and one I wish I could live through again, for the first time.
Amy Harmon writes amazingly powerful stories. She is extraordinarily skilled at arranging words into a beautifully devastating tapestry, then finishing it off with such flourish the devastation falls away and all that’s left is the gorgeous finished product that leaves your heart beating with renewed fervor. With each book she writes she delves into demanding subject matter with such grace it makes me want to see the world through her eyes, and I’m glad she allows her readers the opportunity to experience the beauty she sees in the most tragic things.
Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in eighteen different languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.
Amy Harmon has written eleven novels — the USA Today Bestsellers, The Bird and The Sword, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as The Queen and The Cure, From Sand and Ash, The Law of Moses, The Song of David, Infinity + One, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her next novel, The Smallest Part, will be released February 13, 2018.