Underneath the Sycamore Tree by B. Celeste was both a hit and a miss for me. There were some aspects of it that I really enjoyed, but there were other aspects that I could just not get behind. Overall, I think I would recommend it, but I also had some issues with it as well.
Emerson’s father left when she was very young. Her twin sister ended up dying from an incurable autoimmune disease. Then her mother started breaking down. Emerson was then diagnosed with the same autoimmune disease that took her sister. Emerson realized her mother could not handle all of this so she moves in with her dad and his new family, which includes a new stepmom and a new stepbrother. Her stepbrother Kaiden, is the only person who has made her feel normal, but also, hated, cared for, loathed, and even loved. Her and Kaiden form an unbreakable bond, but Emerson knows that nothing good ever lasts.
I think from the description you can kind of see where things are going to go with Emerson and Kaiden. I thought the story was very interesting, and raw, and real, but I could not get behind her falling in love with her stepbrother. I understand that they have pretty much just met and it is not the same as growing up together, but all in all, he is still her stepbrother. There were so many aspects of this book that I loved, but I was really having a hard time with Kaiden and Emerson falling in love. There was just something about it that made me uncomfortable.
I gave this book 3/5 stars. I would recommend it even though I had my own issues with it. I think overall the story is important and it talks about real problems and you see a lot of character development from all of the characters. I even felt most of the plot was really strong. The biggest issue I had was that I could just not get past the fact that they were essentially siblings. I do think the book is worth it if you like romance or contemporary fiction. This book kind of comes down to what you like and also your own biases.