February 10, 2021

My February Book Review: 'In An Instant' by Suzanne Redfearn (no spoilers)

For the year-long 'Friends'-themed read-athon, February's prompt was to choose a book from your "backlist". I have a LOT of unread books on my Kindle (mostly Amazon First Read books that I get for free each month). When I get to choose one each month, I pick the one that sounds most interesting to me, but then I forget about it. So, I decided to pick one of those from a year ago.

I chose a book called 'In An Instant' by Suzanne Redfearn (Amazon affiliate link). I literally knew nothing about it when I started reading, which actually makes it more interesting to me. When I read reviews, even ones that don't contain spoilers, it tends to sway my opinion of the book before I've even read a single page, and I don't like that. (Yes, this is ironic, considering I'm writing a review. However, I don't have a super strong opinion of this book.)

As always, I will not have any real spoilers in this post.

Here is the description from the editor:

"A deeply moving story of carrying on even when it seems impossible.

Life is over in an instant for sixteen-year-old Finn Miller when a devastating car accident tumbles her and ten others over the side of a mountain. Suspended between worlds, she watches helplessly as those she loves struggle to survive.

Impossible choices are made, decisions that leave the survivors tormented with grief and regret. Unable to let go, Finn keeps vigil as they struggle to reclaim their shattered lives. Jack, her father, who seeks vengeance against the one person he can blame other than himself; her best friend, Mo, who bravely searches for the truth as the story of their survival is rewritten; her sister Chloe, who knows Finn lingers and yearns to join her; and her mother, Ann, who saved them all but is haunted by her decisions. Finn needs to move on, but how can she with her family still in pieces?

Heartrending yet ultimately redemptive, In an Instant is a story about the power of love, the meaning of family, and carrying on…even when it seems impossible."

The story is told from the point-of-view of Finn, a 16-year old girl who dies in an auto accident at the beginning of the book. She is in the car with her parents, her brother, one of her two sisters, their dog, her best friend, a close neighbor/friend-couple and their daughter, and a young male hitchhiker they picked up while driving. The camper goes over a cliff and winds up in a very remote area. It happens to be freezing cold and snowing, and none of the family is prepared for that type of weather.

The story is full of scruples--situations where characters are torn between making decisions that will have major consequences--good or bad. I was sad, surprised, angry, proud, and upset with some of the decisions that were made. Of course, I've not been in their situation, so I can't say what I would do when facing the moral dilemmas they did.

"More was revealed in that single tragic night than was revealed in a lifetime." - This quote stuck out to me because it is so very true. From Finn's perspective, the decisions each character made when faced with a challenge showed more about them than anything she'd ever known about them. Because she was dead, she could see everything that happened, while the rest of the family only saw bits and pieces.

Something else I highlighted: "...regret is the most difficult emotion to live with, but in order to have regret, you need to have a conscience: an interesting paradox that allows the worst of us to suffer the least in the aftermath of wrongdoing."

That's is super powerful! When reading the book, we realize that the "worst" people (i.e. people without a conscience) suffer the least after a tragedy in which they have to make life or death decisions that affect other people. The people with a conscience may make good or bad choices, but they live with them and either feel good about them or regret them (the latter causing a lifetime of suffering).

Overall, I really liked the story. I only gave it three stars on Goodreads, however. (Let it be known that I am VERY stingy about how many stars I give!). The reason for the three stars is because the book didn't make me feel like I just couldn't stop reading. There wasn't a "whodunit" or something that I just had to find out. I wouldn't call it a "page turner". It did, however, keep me interested enough to choose the book over television or something else at night.

It was a very good story and the author notes in the end of the book that she got the idea for it based on a real experience that happened to her and her brother. It's sad to read!

Despite the three-star rating I gave it, I definitely recommend reading it. It makes you question your own scruples and wonder what you would do in a situation such as this. A good, thought-provoking read!

Here is the link to the book on Amazon (affiliate link):
Here is the link to the book on Goodreads


  1. It's ironic you reviewed this book,as I have it in my que to read next. But I'm currently reading 'The Selection', based off your recommendation. I'm about 3/4 through and it's good, but I'm starting to be annoyed with America. She's playing a dangerous game with Maxon and Aspen, just saying!

  2. I have never enjoyed audiobooks, but gave them a try after reading about how much you enjoy them. I started with The Dutch House because it was recommended from my library and I could instantly download it to listen to while I walk. Imagine my surprise when Tom Hanks' voice started reading the book! It is really good and I'm enjoying it during my daily walks.

  3. Conviction by Denise Mina. So many twists and turns it was such a page turner!

  4. I read In an Instant las year and thought it was so good! You made excellent s points and highlights!


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