Purchase on: Amazon, iBooks,
Add to: Goodreads
For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.
Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.
It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.
I don’t know what to say. I really really don’t. JLA was my absolute favorite author for two years….two years…and now I feel like she’s an acquaintance that used to be a best friend from High School-We pass each other in a store and do that awkward hi/hello/ass-out-hug that plagues us when we realize we no longer have anything in common with our dear old friend. I mean, I knew JLA wasn’t for me anymore, I knew that. But I had thought I remembered her writing being more…fluid?? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s the fact that I read wonderfully long, fleshed out, beautifully written fantasies now, maybe it’s because I’m SO DAMN PICKY with my contemporaries, or perhaps it’s just a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’
For those of you who adore JLA, I’m sure this will be a home run for you. I found that JLA and I stopped seeing eye to eye at the end of the Lux series-her last two books left so much to be desired, in my opinion, because I just had so much love for the first three stories. Hell, her Lux and Covenant series have a bunch of space taken up on my bookshelf because I love them so damn much. I still held out hope for her writing, though, as she began to switch into the contemporary field. Turns out? Her attempt at contemporary stories was the final nail in the coffin for our relationship as I began to see how boring her stories were without the threat of death, mayhem, evil aliens, and crazy deities. If you look back on my older reviews (wait for me, last two lux) you’ll see I did rate them highly-this goes back to my ‘I don’t want to be the only weirdo who is turning on this popular author’ days where I didn’t have a voice and, frankly, wanted to stay loyal and hold onto the last thread of hope that my favorite author could still do it for me and not turn into someone who failed to make my heart beat faster (aside from my love for the Covenant series and the first three Lux).
So why in the hell did I read this if I don’t like her anymore, you ask? Well…there are a multitude of reasons. I may not think she is as amazing as she used to be after being let down so many times, but I always found her writing addicting as fuck. I ALWAYS loved her story-telling abilities. But here, I found there was a lack of fluidity in the writing (FOR ME, I just didn’t connect with her flow) and I had to keep going back to re-read paragraphs just to get the feel of the sentences right. Secondly, this story line seemed epic and unlike anything she has ever done before. But, as it turns out, I was bored from the beginning until about 80% when things finally started to come together and I got to see the deepest parts of our two main characters emerge. I loved seeing Rider’s vulnerability and Mallory’s voice..it just took forever to get there. Third, she always creates my dream BBFs. *shrugs* I mean, I am who I am lol. And on this front? She delivered. Wonderfully. Lastly? I wanted to love another JLA book…in the deepest part of my heart, I wanted to go back to when JLA was my whole world, I wanted to be proven wrong and find out that I had just become a snooty, pretentious bitch who snubbed her old favorite author. Alas, this didn’t happen…in fact, it went the exact opposite way, and that makes me want to cry.
I know one of my best friends will always love JLA-always. And I sincerely wanted to be that person, again, who fell hard for the author who made me realize I am a peril whore who thrives on that dreadful, heart-shattering cliffhanger (Cough Opal Cough). I mean, guys, she is the author who made me the crazy with want after a crying desperate plea of love perilista I am today-I didn’t even know I had this type of masochistic bone in my body (I had read these types of books my whole life but had never realized it was an addiction until JLA) before her, and she shaped my GR name, my reading style, and my whole world. So, yes, I read a book I knew I might not like….but my hope was so much stronger than my common sense and doubt.
The writing may have not worked for me, but I imagine many of you will find no stilt, no disconnected feeling like I did-it’s a personal preference, really. And, as for the main characters, Rider and Mallory, I think that’s a personal preference, too. Rider was perfection, no doubt about that, and I felt like skimming all the time until I could get back to him (again, all about the boy, not a good sign). He was sweet, loyal, flawed, and absolutely adorable. When he blushed my heart soared and I became all giddy. When he got all protective of Mallory I fell harder in love. And OMG, the book, guys, that book….*sigh*.
But, and this is a small but, I didn’t get to bbf status with him….so close, but just, I didn’t get enough of him, I guess. He made my heart and stomach do crazy flips, but maybe I was just so bored with the story I didn’t give my full attention…and that really sucks.
As for Mallory….*crickets*. She was fine but….she was the main reason I was bored and her stuttering, while fine when she talked, made her inner monologues grating and hard to read. I might be a bitch, but it’s how I felt. And I feel bad because I know that’s just how she talks, but I just didn’t fall for her as a character.
So, yeah. I feel bad because there wasn’t anything wrong with this story, per se, but I just didn’t ever feel 100% immersed. I felt detached and indifferent, most of the time, and only really started loving parts when Rider was in them. Seriously-he was all I looked forward to (I guess I loved him way more than I let on, whoops lol) and was ecstatic when his name or dialogue popped on the page. And, hey, maybe it was the relationship he was involved in that bothered me? Not heavily, but maybe it just bored me that we had to go through that drama, as well. Fuck, guys, I don’t know-Here I am, again, saying this horrible phrase: I hated this book….but I loved it, too. Whatever. I don’t know.
I’m side eyeing you, JLA
I know *monkey covering eyes emoji* I added it, anyway, Jen 😛