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In all honesty, there were several good things and several bad things about this book. I was up and down on whether I liked it or not and more often than not I was debating what I really felt while I was reading. I think that this is one of those books that became extremely infected by the ‘rating disease’. I was internally conflicted as I read every page on what I was going to rate this and it really effected the overall feel of the book. But then, that’s also a very telling sign-this book never 100% had me. I fell in love with Daniel from the moment we met him, but never once really connected with Ashlyn. There was a particular bar scene that sticks out to me from about the 20% mark (or so) and I can honestly say, it was the last moment when I felt fully immersed with BOTH of the two main characters. It was cute, flirty, and was beginning to give me the butterflies. The two characters gelled and I was excited to see where the story went from there, because if it was even a fraction as good as that scene, I knew I’d love the story….but it was never like that again.
Before her, I never knew life. After her, I’d never know death.
Let’s say what the biggest problem really is: I’m sorry, but there was just…too much death. I am all for the emotional angst, I really am. But there comes a point and time when enough is enough. I never had time to get sad because, well, it was almost comical how many bad things happened to this girl. Like, how can so many bad things surround one person? It wasn’t ever, for me, believable and it therefore took away all the pain and heartache I was supposed to feel because so much tragedy struck at every twist and turn. That’s not to say that people don’t have their inner demons and don’t ever have to deal with this kind of devastation, but it just didn’t feel right. It was too much drama for three separate families, and even the bullying felt forced and unlike anything I’d expect from a new student enrolling into a new school. I just wanted to feel more, and I never had the chance to, and that makes me sadder than anything that happened in this novel.
No, he wasn’t Daniel anymore.
He was Mr. Daniels.
And I was his naive student who he’d frostily dismissed.
Aside from a few writing faux pas, that really was my biggest gripe with the story-the lack of tangible tension and heartbreak. But I haven’t forgotten the reason I gave this a 3.5-4 star-there was also so much love. The love Daniel felt for Ashlyn was absolutely adorable and jumped off of every page. There was no doubt in my mind that Daniel was pure, kind, selfless, and would do anything to protect and save Ash. The way he ‘looked’ at her, treated her, took care of her-it was beautiful. I adored the intimate scenes and loved the kissing scenes even more. There was something so pure in that portion of writing that couldn’t be faked or forced, and those are the moments where I fell for the story and fought myself on my earlier gripes.
His hand wrapped around my neck and he pulled me closer, his taste covering my lips, his body heat warming every inch of my body. “I don’t want to be your friend,” he said. We breathed together and exhaled in harmony. “I want to be yours, I want you to be mine, and I hate that we can’t be us. Because I think we were meant to be us.”
I’ve been doing this a lot lately, showing my favorite scenes…but I think it kind of serves the purpose of showing what I liked most about these controversial stories and the kind of emotion I expect (expected) throughout the entirety of these novels (this novel). Obviously the first bar scene is one of my favorite scenes, but my other favorite scene of this story comes in two parts: View Spoiler »The break up scenes. Daniel was defeated, deflated, and heartbroken in these scenes and they touched me more than any other scene possibly could. The way he cried and lightly begged for her to stay and how he cried when he had to break it off broke my heart. But mostly, the scene where he begged her not to leave him was the best. « Hide Spoiler They were raw, powerful, addicting, and I gobbled them up in seconds. The candid emotions conveyed between Daniel and Ashlyn on these two scenes broke my heart and I can’t skip mentioning them.
I cringed. “Don’t call her a chick.” A chick was what you called a girl who you didn’t give a crap about. Ashlyn wasn’t a chick. She was so far from just a chick.
She was smart.
She was funny.
She was intriguing.
She was so, so far from being a chick.
So….no. No, this wasn’t a complete win for me and no I didn’t get everything I wanted out of this tale of forbidden love. I went in with high expectations and maybe expected too much, so I was a tad disappointed when I wasn’t blown away immediately like some of my best friends were. I know not everyone can fall in love with the same things and I fully understand that, but it’s so much more fun when you can just enjoy everything about a book and gush with those who absolutely cherished it…sadly, I wasn’t one of those people. But I did see what everyone loved and connected with and I can understand the hype and appeal. I just never got to that level. Oh well, maybe next time.
Life wasn’t fair, and I felt like a dumbass for thinking that it should be. But I wanted it to be. I needed for life to be fair, just for a little while. Because I needed her.
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