I was SO excited when I was notified I was receiving an ARC of Lessons Learned. I have read probably just about everything Sydney has written loved all of it so I want in to this story with expectations and let me tell you, I was NOT disappointed in the least. Sarah and Lucas, the two main characters draw you in from the beginning. I knew from reading the premise this was going to be a story with quite a bit of drama and it was but all the drama served a purpose, to highlight the main characters back stories and tie the past in with the present. Sarah is a sweet woman who has suffered so much tragedy in her life, with the loss of her parents as a 16 year old girl, then her beloved grandmother. The way Sydney describes Grandma Grace reminds me a great deal of my own Grandma Gracie, ironic I know! Lucas is a guy hiding a secret that nearly ended his career, moving to a small town to get away from the big city and it's problems. Lucas and Sarah both think that moving to/back to the small town of Sycamore Falls will help them escape the problems of the big city, but in the end they find that no matter where you go there is bigotry, hatred of those who are different and also a great capacity for love. I love how well developed the characters are, even the minor characters of Aubrey, Tommy, Howie and Monica. So many times I have read stories where the minor characters don't draw me in or make me want to know more about them, that is not the case in this book. I would love to read more about Matt, the other somewhat main character who Lucas and Sarah bond over trying to help. Sarah is the kind of teacher I strive to be, someone who is there for her students to help them through the hard times and to show them that they are worthy and capable of more than they think they are. Principal Mullins, yeah I would LOVE to strangle that man, he is so narrow minded, which we all delude ourselves in to believing is not the case with administrators, but in reality it is, sadly, more true that anyone cares to admit. I loved the line where Sarah says "Good teachers get fired all the time" or something like that, this is SO very true.What the principal at another high school had to say really is true "You see it on television all the time," she said quietly. "Kids being bullied to the point they see no possible way out. We are a profession ruled by test scores, and sometimes, we forget there are bigger lessons that need to be learned. Sometimes, teaching tolerance and love is far more important that teaching them about chemical equations and Robert Frost." The end of this story left me happy and feeling like Lucas, Sarah and Matt all got what they deserved, a happy ending after enduring so much hardship.I HIGHLY recommend this book to read, I am sincerely grateful for the chance to read and review it early. Make sure you add this to your to read list and pick it up on September when it comes out!