Publishers: Seth Clarke
Published Date: March 16th 2013
My rating: 3 out of 5
I wasn't always in love with Colton Calloway; I was in love with his younger brother, Kyle, first. Kyle was my first one true love, my first in every way. Then, one stormy August night, he died, and the person I was died with him. Colton didn't teach me how to live. He didn't heal the pain. He didn't make it okay. He taught me how to hurt, how to not be okay, and, eventually, how to let go.
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I loved it. It's gritty and raw, deals with emotions on such a scale I haven't read before - the deep, deep stuff that scratches and burns inside us. On the other hand the situations that happened in the book, topics that are at the forefront of our modern society, were used and exploited to such an extent that I wondered how on earth these two people would ever make it out. And while our two main protags have been crushed up and burnt to a cinder inside they still survive by helping and opening up to each other. The book starts with Nell and Kyle. It's a shame that we all know this romance is doomed because the synopsis tells us so. But I loved the build up in their relationship, how it changed from friendship to romantic. Two young people in love and then turn into lovers. What I read was natural, simple and so sweet in every sense of their journey. Then tragedy happens and Kyle is ripped from Nell's life. She suffers. A lot. And the suffering doesn't stop. At the funeral she comes across Colton, Kyle's older brother. She barely knows him - he left the family home five years before. Point one of the story that I didn't get was that if Kyle and Nell were best friends and living so close to one another then how did Nell not even know Colt as a child. They must have crossed paths at some point. Then we flick to two years later and its Colton's point of view. Personally I loved the switching POV's. While Nell's voice is compelling and laden with pain Colt's has a calm rhythm to it. As if he's in complete control all the time. Okay, he's not, going by his narrative, he's panicking inside when he first sees Nell but its so smooth. And its at this point we find he has the major hots for her. Then things get complicated. Such an overused word but generally in NA this is the part where lots of arguments, unspoken feelings, jealousy, rage, pretty much everything ignites. Point two of what didn't come across as quite true was that Nell comes from a distinguished background. Her parents have money. So two years later why on earth hadn't Nell's parents put her into therapy. They already put down stipulations when it came to Nell and Kyle sleeping together i.e. don't get pregnant because it could ruin her fathers reputation. But any sane family of good standing would do this for their only daughter who was barely keeping her head above water even at the funeral. So, two years down the line she's got to the point where she's cutting herself and drinking heavily. Granted, now she's in New York away from her parents but they should have sorted her grief way, way beforehand. I know grief isn't something you can just box up and put away hoping it'll disappear but this is serious stuff and I hope that readers don't think it's in any way right to leave this kind of hurt and pain because we all need help at some time in our lives. We all need to talk to someone. And therapy is nothing to be ashamed of. Anyway, I digress. I actually loved Nell and Colt's relationship. For me this was real. Needing, wanting and having someone who can just be with you. Not trying to rain on anything I said earlier but with Colt NOT telling her that everything would be okay was kind of the right thing to do. The sex was pretty raw too. Sometimes I think writers just want an excuse to write erotica into a romance novel but with New Adult emerging as a great new genre this seems to be the way its going. Not that I don't like it ,) After all they do say that the best relationships stay together because sex is the glue that keeps you close. Nell and Kyle meld together well and it works for both of them. So, yay. The aftermath? I thought the last catastrophe that happened was going a bit overboard and wasn't exactly necessary. Yes, I'm talking about the pregnancy thing. For me this was too much for our characters. Yes, I agree that we needed one final twang thing to give the two a HEA but I didn't like this part. So, like I said. On one hand I loved it. Definitely read. Definitely try to enjoy it. There aren't a whole lot of laughs but it is full of love, love lost, pain, angst, tremendous courage, guilt and a huge pile of emotions. My only concern, and the reason why I ranked this as a lower rating is that this and other New Adult books are becoming very samey. It wasn't the content of the story, the writing was superb. The two point of views actually sounded like two different people which some authors don't get right. But I fear for this genre and worry that readers will get bored of it. We'll see what happens... -CB x
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