If Only/Grace by Richard Paul Evans

I have been in a reading slump all of August, in fact until the 28th when I read this book I hadn’t read a single book in August. One of my friends sold me this book as a surprised. She told me the genre but that was about it. I don’t think I would have just picked this book up on my own so I was a little hesitant, but I liked it. It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t bad at all, it was just one of those “alright” books to me . It did keep me up reading way later than I expected it to, and I finished it in one sitting.


” If only I could stay with you forever. I would.

Eric is having a hard time adjusting to his family’s move from California to Utah. Then one night he discovers a girl Dumpster diving behind the burger joint where he works. Her name is Grace. She’s a classmate and a runaway. Eric and his younger brother, Joel, decide to hide her in their backyard clubhouse.

While the adults are concerned about the looming Cuban Missile Crisis, and the boys’ father recovers from illness, Eric grows closer to Grace—but can their new relationship survive the harsh realities of life? Not everyone can get a happy ending, but maybe Grace and Eric can create their own.” – Goodreads

Favorite things:

The pattern. Pattern isn’t the right word but I really liked how the book ran. At the start of each chapter there was a sentence from Grace’s diary, then the rest of the chapter was from Eric’s point of view. This was pretty refreshing to me. I liked that I got to see a tiny bit of Grace’s inner thoughts without having to jump to her point of view.

The foreshadowing. I knew ahead of time the thing we find out in the middlish of the book, but the ending I didn’t see coming. However, there is a tiny bit of foreshadowing for it that I didn’t even realize was in there until I was flipping the pages to pull quotes for this post and I happen to catch it. If you have read the book comment below and tell me if you caught it.

Grace & Eric. I really loved Grace and Eric, not just as a couple but as individuals. My heart hurt for both of them and I wish things would have ended differently. However, I do like how you get to see how the pain changed his life, it was a good reminder.

The message. I really liked the overall message of the story. I won’t go in to full details because of spoilers.

Not so Favorite things:

I think if I could go back I would have read the original publication of the book. It was originally published as Grace and when I went to Goodreads I realized that the people who read Grace (instead of If Only), had pulled some quotes that had not been in my copy. Quotes that would have been helpful to have like.

“There is pain in bringing out these memories. I suppose I don’t really know why I feel compelled to write at this time, only that I am. Maybe I want those closest to me to finally know what has driven me for all these years. Why, every Christmas, I occasionally slip away into my thoughts to someplace else. Or maybe it’s just that I still love her and wonder, after all this time, if I can still find grace.”


“As I begin to write, a part of me feels as if I am awakening something best left dead and buried, or at least buried. We can bury the past, but it never really dies. The experience of that winter has grown on my soul like ivy climbing the outside of a home, growing until it begins to tear and tug at the brick and mortar.

“My memory, like my eyesight, has waned with age and I pray I can get the story right. Still, there are things that become clearer to me as I grow older. This much I know: too many things were kept secret in those days. Things that never should have been hidden. And things that should have.

Who was she? She was my first love. My first kiss. She was a little match girl who could see the future in the flame of a candle. She was a runaway who taught me more about life than anyone has before or since. And when she was gone my innocence left with her”.

Neither of these were anywhere to be found in my copy and it makes me wonder what else I am missing out on. I think I’m going to try and find a copy of the original publication and read it to compare.

Why did they do this? I’m not really sure.

A favorite quote:

“How do you really know when you’re in love?”…”When you don’t have to ask.”

The quills:



Physical romance?

A couple of short kisses.



Will you cry?

I was still crying for a good ten minuets after I read this book, you’ve been warned. It crushed my heart.

Overall rating?

Three out of five hedgehogs.

It wasn’t bad it just wasn’t amazing. I am also pretty upset that they seemingly took out whole paragraphs when they republished it, thus changing the experience.

The Author:

Paul Richard Evans



Have you read this book? If so what edition and what were your thoughts?

Photo source

5 thoughts on “If Only/Grace by Richard Paul Evans

  1. Theresa @ TheCalicoBooks says:

    Great review! I’ve seen this book around stores, and I’ve always been intrigued, but I’ve never picked it up. I had no idea it was originally published under a different title! I’ll be sure to check out the original version of the book since your copy seems to cut things out!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. annadailyreads says:

    I have read every Richard Paul Evans book that I know of and I am on the waiting list for one at the library right now. I do not recall reading this one. This gives me another good book to look forward to. My goal as a writer is to one day write a book like he does.

    Liked by 1 person

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