Moment of Truth Series by Lauren Barnholdt

There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently.”
-Robert Evans

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The Moment of Truth series centers on three girls who used to be the best of friends until one event, and their subsequent actions, break their friendship apart. A class trip to Florida forces them to face each other, learn more about themselves, and gives them a second chance.

In this series, there are four sides to the story: Lyla’s side, Quinn’s side, Aven’s side, and the truth. Each of their perspectives is valid and they each played a part in the fight that ultimately fractured their friendship.

Lyla’s parents announced their divorce and she decided to stay with her mom. After witnessing a moment of weakness from her father, she briefly second-guesses her choice. I think any child who witnesses their parent as a human, and not just as their superhuman parents they appear to be, would do what Lyla did. Even though she knows she wants to stay with her mom, she still loves her dad and doesn’t want him to be as upset as she saw him.

Aven is Lyla’s sounding board when Lyla just needs to talk about her thoughts. Aven is there for her, listening and supporting her friend, even if the possibility of Lyla moving with her dad means the three girls would be split up. If Lyla told her not to tell anyone else, including Quinn, Aven didn’t hear. But it’s not only on Aven. When you have a group of friends who share everything, the idea of not sharing something just doesn’t pass through her mind.

Once Quinn learns, from Aven, that Lyla might be considering moving with her dad, she tells her mother. She doesn’t do it vindictively or with malice. She’s trying to find a way to have a relationship with her mom that goes beyond parent-child. She wants that closeness with her mom that other girls seem to have, where she can talk to her mom about anything and know her mom will be there for her. When she shares with her mom that Lyla is thinking about moving, she’s hoping to have a special moment with her.

At school several days later, Lyla blows up at Aven and Quinn, not understanding their sides of the story, and in her anger, refusing to listen to their sides. I honestly don’t blame her for this action because it can be hard to think clearly and rationally when things are already so tense. However, even after she cools down, she doesn’t try to approach them.

Aven and Quinn get mad at each other for not keeping things a secret. Eventually they stop talking because their anger can’t be fully resolved until Lyla’s frustrations can be worked through. Somewhere in the middle of their fights and behavior lies the truth.

None of them was singularly responsible for the fight that ended their friendship. They all played a part. I loved that aspect of the story; that these three girls lived the same event, but their perspective of it and the impact on the rest of their lives was entirely different.

The love interests weren’t always the most important aspect of these novels. There’s some sweet romances in there, but it was also about these girls learning about themselves and their place in the world. Each book was a bit of a coming of age story as the three girls evaluated their high school career and looked forward to college.

Yes, there was some suspension of belief. I don’t think everything in the books was entirely believable. I think the accompanying teachers would definitely check in more than they did. The kids probably wouldn’t have been given the same level of freedom if it had taken place outside of a book. But all of that doesn’t take away from the meanings behind each story.

Lyla had to learn to forgive and to trust, both things she struggles with. She doesn’t think she has trust problems, but that’s only because she never really places in situations where she has to trust someone else. Quinn has to do something crazy and break out of her shell, doing something that isn’t going to look good on college applications or ensure her place at the top of the class. She has to do something just because she wants to and because it has possibilities. Aven has to take a risk and put her heart on the line before everything she doesn’t know ends up hurting her. She has to put herself out there and be willing to be hurt on the off chance that everything will go right.

That’s what I really liked about the series. Each girl had something to do that would challenge them and bring them out of their comfort zones. They had to grow up a little in order to face their promises. The romances were nice, but the personal growth was what made me keep reading.

Overall Series Rating:
★★★★☆

Heat of the Moment
Rating: ★★★

Purchasing links:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

One Moment in Time Rating:
★★★

Purchasing links:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

From This Moment Rating:
★★★★☆

Purchasing links:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

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