Purchase on: Amazon, iBooks,
Add to: Goodreads
Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.
As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she's unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she'll always be trapped in the past.
Peace hid from me this year, and I’d searched for it at Metal Pete’s, in therapy sessions, in long runs on the beach, and hours of Star Time. I hadn’t found it hiding among that dark, black sea of sparkles or anywhere else. But tonight, in the gentleness of my friend stretched out next to me, breathing in and out so rhythmically that he sounded like breaking waves, it felt within reach again.
Okay so….I’ve been undeniably excited about another Courtney Stevens book coming out. After Faking Normal she became an instant favorite and I knew I would never pass up a book if she was the one who released it. I can’t say this blurb intrigued me like it did all of my friends…but this was more of a ‘I’m reading this because I am in love with this author always and forever’ type of thing. And while I want to say I loved this new addition despite my earlier trepidation about the lack of connection with the blurb, I just…didn’t. And it makes me sad because there was so much that I did like about it.
For one, I haven’t really had the time or patience to be reading new books lately, and I was hoping this would pull me out of my stupor and new book reading hiatus. Alas, this was not the case. As always, her writing was beautiful and her male lead was over the top perfect-two things with which I find to be without flaw in each of of her novels-making this a page turner…even if the story wasn’t as gripping as I’d hoped.
That’s not to say I didn’t love the idea of the story (once I delved into it), but there was a matter of living in the past for most of the novel and while in some books I tend to love this if done correctly, most books I find it to be rather tedious. It just so happens this book fell in the latter category, and that makes me incredibly sad. And it’s not so much the content of the story as much as how it’s delivered. Flashbacks and old emails encompassed the story to lead the readers into her life and why she is the way she is and what makes her tick, helping us to grasp onto a circumvent view of the girl that is Sadie (Love that name, by the way).
And I guess it’s not even the flashbacks. I hate them, but I could have made it work. No, my biggest problem is the lack of…hmm….presence? The lack of presence when we were in her current state. I felt like most of the story relied on those flashbacks and old emails to pack emotional punch in the story and make us fall in love with the people they all used to be…and while I did find some enjoyment out of these moments, I was bored more often than not when we were in the ‘now’. I think I noticed this about 40-50% in.
But, like I said, I love this author and her writing so it pretty much evened out for enjoyment level. That being said….there was a certain boy named Max, who stole my heart. I don’t think it’s possible for Stevens to create a boy that doesn’t break my soul and immediately cause me to pledge myself to him within a measly amount of numbered pages.
“Cassiopeia was a queen,” I said.
He took his eyes off the sky. “Like you.”
“Um, not exactly, Romeo, since she went around boasting about her unrivaled beauty.”
He laughed. “That does sound like you, but…” He turned back to the sky. “You should boast about your beauty.”
“Max.” I didn’t mean to sound so condescending, but it came out that way before I could correct my tone.
“I’m not joking.”
Loyal, sweet, kind, confident, and supportive, Max is everything Sadie needs in her life. She is in a shell and doesn’t show any signs of leaving said shell, but Max is determined to bring her back to life again. He, too, was in the wreck that killed their friend and his brother, leaving him with a permanent loss of regular voice, causing excessive whispering and raspy speech tendencies…ummmmmm….Am I sick? Because….yum. Oops. My favorite thing in a guy paired with a Courtney Stevens character? Shoot me dead, because I have fallen.
He huffed.”God, I’d like to kick Gray Garrison in the nads.” He sat up and forced me to do the same. His hands cupped my face and he locked eyes with me. “Look at me.”
We were inches apart. There was nowhere else to look.
“Your face is beautiful, but I’m not some shallow asshole who falls in love with a face. You hear me?”
That rasp in his voice was perfect.
I braved an answer. “Yes.”
“Sadie, you could go through a million windows and nothing would change.”
So, this book isn’t without it’s positives *cough* writing *cough* boy. But it definitely lacked the passion of Faking Normal. I fell so hard for FN and even want the hardback (DESPERATELY) for my bookshelf. But all I could think while reading this was how I couldn’t wait to start a new book. And it’s not fair because I am obsessed with Max and I loved everything to do with him. I got uncontrollable butterflies and could hardly breathe as they were falling in love….but that’s not enough to make me love a story. I need to fall for the substance, not just for the boy. And in this case, that’s really all the book had going for it, for me. And OKAY FINE I’LL ADMIT IT: I. FELT. BAD. FOR GRAY. There. I SAID IT. I adore Max. He’s the best….but still. I’m forever a bleeding heart.