BOOK REVIEW – Puddle Jumping by Amber L. JohnsonPuddle Jumping by Amber L. Johnson
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Love, for those lucky enough to experience it, is extraordinary.

Wow. What an honest and beautiful portrayal of a young girl’s first love and all the pitfalls that come along with it. I guess I didn’t realize what this book would really entail when I decided to pick it up, but I am so glad I did because what I found was a decidedly heartwarming and wholesome read about finding love and holding on so strongly to it that it consumes and envelops you-makes you long for that person even when you can’t be with them and wishing only to be closer when you are together. It was heartbreaking and tear-inducing, but well worth the light angst and emotional journey they both went through to discover what lengths they were willing to go to to be together.

Love? Sometimes it’s so big it hurts.

Ya know…even as I write this review I feel giddy, breathless, and light.

I feel those butterflies creeping upwards, attempting to steal the air right out of my throat when I think back to some of my favorite moments. I’m not going to lie-while this story was light as air, the subject matter wasn’t. Sure, the story didn’t focus on the disease, but it was always there in the background behind each conversation and misunderstanding, threatening to make this not-so-newly connection fall apart. But, perhaps this is why the story resonated so deeply within me. I felt each and every struggle they went through deep down into my core, felt how strongly they felt for one another through each new hurdle they faced-because no matter how bleak their outcome looked and no matter how little Lilly knew about Colton’s condition, she never stopped trying to understand. It was beautiful how she attempted to put herself in his shoes in each situation and how she was willing to bend and break for him, even as it broke her heart to do so. She knew he didn’t always understand 100% what was going on, but she never once thought negatively or got exasperated with him-she always, always tried to understand where he was coming from and never once held him accountable when he screwed up-and believe me, this happened a lot.

What I’d like to really stress about this is when you love someone, their differences fall away.

I’m not going to lie. I absolutely adored the two main characters, if that wasn’t clear before. Lilly was rambunctious, kind, and caring-from page one I knew I was going to love her silly persona and altogether protective and playful nature. She was the type of narrator you couldn’t help but relate to and repeatedly think to yourself, ‘Hey!! That is SO something I would do or say!’ I always found her thoughts and ideas totally relatable, zaney, and so hilarious. But Colton…I adored Colton. He was absolutely, undeniably precious. There was not one single moment where he was present in the story and I wasn’t gooning like a teenage girl with a celebrity crush. He was candid and sweet and loved Lilly with all of his heart. His love was my undoing. Every kiss, every touch, every moment engrained itself into my soul because I saw his progression and what it did for our wonderful male lead and the love seeping from his pores. It’s crazy to think this 200 page book touched me so deeply, but it really and truly did-and for once I can attribute this to both Lilly and Colton. It wasn’t one-sided (okay, maybe I loved Colton a little more…so sue me).

The one thing I wish I could explain to people is he’s not what they think he is. Words he’s been branded with could never describe him. He’s not special. He’s extraordinary. To me.
And I feel like I am, too, when I’m with him.

Okay, there was one part I have to mention that killed me inside-both for good and bad, because, yes, I’m evil like that, I suppose- View Spoiler »…just wow. It was beautiful and raw and powerful and it just touched me, ya know?? I loved it. I can’t help it, I just loved it and I wish I could re-read and re-read and re-read. Maybe it was his unyielding love for her and the ‘given’ fact that ‘of course’ he loved her. ‘Of course’ they were together….as if it didn’t make sense otherwise that they wouldn’t be. I don’t know. He was sweet, loyal, trusting…..I could go on and on and on. Even as I gush right now it doesn’t seem like enough-it doesn’t seem like enough for Colton and every moment of happiness he gave me. I keep floundering, trying to think of a way to express how special this guy is, but no matter what I type, it just doesn’t seem like enough….thus why I’m still rambling after a bajillion examples and paragraphs…see Chelsea flounder.

I don’t believe there’s such a thing as conventional love. Love is bending. Love is breaking. Love is constantly learning about the other person until you go crazy because it will never be perfect, but there’s no fault in trying.

Yikes, I still have so much I wish I could say, but as I reach deep within me, I realize I just can’t pull the right words out and I don’t quite know how to express myself. So I guess I’ll leave you with this: This story was stunning. The beauty of this story is in it’s simplicity. I didn’t know what I was going to get when I randomly picked this one up, but I knew the moment I started it had potential. The idea that true love really does conquer all is such a strong, emotional, visceral feeling to me and I think that’s why I loved this story so much-I’ve always been a sucker for love and a hardcore romantic, so of course I’d love this story. It was as natural as breathing and as romantic as a candle-lit dinner and there was hardly anything I’d change about this story. So if you want a fun, light, emotional read, pick this one up. It will make you laugh, smile, tear up, and embrace the hopefulness that emanates off of every page.

But I’m always up for a challenge. Especially when it’s with him. Or for him. Because it always comes back to him. 

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