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BOOK REVIEW: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: Call It What You Want by Brigid KemmererCall It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father's failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they're both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they've built. But when Maegan learns of Rob's plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship . . .

In her compulsively readable storytelling, Brigid Kemmerer pens another captivating, heartfelt novel that asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

Review:

Call It What You Want was a beautifully, emotional story.  If you’re looking for something that will consume you, pull your emotions every which way and will stay with you for a long time to come, then definitely pick this one up.  I easily became obsessed with Rob and Maegan’s lives.  And I’m so happy I fell madly in love with another book by Brigid Kemmerer.

We were from two different worlds once: popular boy and nerdy girl. We’re still from two different worlds: cop’s daughter and criminal’s son.

This story started off with an emotional bang and we get brought right into Rob’s life.  His dad betrayed his family in multiple ways and he and his mother were left with the damage and fall out from it all.  There was no escaping it and I could feel Rob’s heart bleeding from the pages.  And in the next chapter we were dropped right into Maegan’s world.  Her sister came home from college pregnant, and if that wasn’t enough to push the tension in her house through the roof, Maegan did something that labeled her a cheater at school.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “Maybe . . . we can start over.”
His eyes search my face. “Fine.” He puts out a hand like a businessman. “Rob Lachlan. Non-slacker.”
“Maegan Day.” I shake his hand. Most boys at school shake hands with the passivity of a trained cocker spaniel, but Rob’s fingers close around mine securely. I can feel the strength in his grip. I have to swallow. “Overly judgmental.”

Rob and Maegan had both been branded at their school.  They became outcasts and their classmates had no problem saying horrible things to their faces.  They were both drowning in their own problems and pain, and it felt like they were both so alone.  So when Rob and Maegan got partnered together in math class, to work on a project, I had so much hope.  But right from the start they got off on the wrong foot and were completely awkward around each other.

I pull a slip of loose-leaf out of my binder and write a quick note to him.
Are you okay
When I slide it on top of his notebook, he stares at the words for the longest time.
I wish I could crawl inside his head and figure him out. Then he gives me a brief nod, folds the note in half, and tucks it into his backpack.
And then, for the rest of the period, he keeps his eyes focused forward and never once turns to look at me.

But as they met more and more, they started to talk with each.  When Rob gave little peaks of his life to Maegan, my eyes would sting with tears.  His world was pain and I hurt so bad listening to him.  But Maegan’s world was extremely emotional too.  Even just a family dinner at her house was a mine field.  The tension was horrific and drama and emotions were always running high.  Rob and Maegan both wanted to escape their houses and who they were.  So when they were next to each other, not even talking, it seemed like they felt a little less alone.

I don’t deserve her friendship. I don’t deserve kindness. Not from anyone.
But her fingers were so warm on mine. The air so quiet between us. The beginning of trust.
Then her friends showed up.
We know who he is.

If you’re a sucker for tortured characters, you’re going to love Rob.  His thoughts were dark, deep and brutally honest.  I quickly connected and was consumed by Rob.  But I desperately wanted to protect him since he was so immersed with his hurt and it felt suffocating at times.  And when obstacles were thrown in his path, I just wanted him to find some happiness or peace.  He deserved it and I hoped he’d find that with Maegan, while also helping her with her pain.

“One mistake doesn’t define you.”
She sniffs and carefully swipes at her eyes. “You’re going to wreck all of Sam’s handiwork.”
That makes me smile. I want to touch her so badly that my hand aches , but I still can’t tell if she feels the same way, or if she’s saying these things out of kindness.

On top of Meagan and Rob, there were two side characters I became attached to also.  Samantha, was Maegan’s sister, and I I loved watching their relationship play out.  And Owen, who seemed like a possible friend to Rob.  Watching both of those relationships transform added so much depth to this story, especially since Samantha and Owen shined so brightly.  So YES, I definitely recommend this book.  If you love YA, emotional stories and deep characters then definitely pick this one up!

BOOK REVIEW: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: Call It What You Want by Brigid KemmererCall It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads






Synopsis:

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship...

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

 

**ARC sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

I won’t lie to you guys-I begged for this book. It wasn’t classy. It wasn’t dignified. And it was honestly a bit pathetic-but IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT. This book? It’s gold. I loved every minute of it.

I was sitting in Tennessee, on vacation, and legitimately had zero time to read. My daughter has always been a peculiar sleeper, and the circumstances of our vacation led to my husband and I’s sanity to be tested. She’s turning two this month-don’t make me cry-and really only began sleeping in her own crib every night in October. It was a miracle-I never have questioned it, and I refuse to look back. But, that being said, we have finally gotten used to sleeping alone again, and it’s glorious, to be honest. What’s not glorious? Sharing a bed with your now used-to-her-own-bed toddler.

To say we got no sleep? Yeah. VASTLY downplayed. SO, seeing as I got a beautiful physical ARC (I took three physical ARCs, don’t know WHAT I was thinking) I was SOL when it came to speed reading at night as I’ve come accustomed to again. But, luckily, my saint of a husband offered to help her nap every day, and I got to read for two hours or so every day off and on, pending my family’s interruptions (there were aplenty)(and let’s be clear-he only offered this because it was MY family and who doesn’t need a break from in-laws lol he’s no saint. I lie).

That being said-I picked this book up and DEVOURED IT in less than three days. Quite a feat, if you ask me, what with all the interruptions and no time to read! But that’s the power of a Kemmerer book-you know you’re in for a morally gray and addicting ride.

I fell so hard for Rob, because how can you not fall for one of this woman’s main leading men? She creates the most tortured and lonely souls I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and I love what she did with his character. I literally had to question every motive, every move, every play-yet never wholly disagreed with what he did. That’s a true author-to make you wonder whether something is right or wrong, yet never telling you if it is or isn’t. In all honesty, he was wrong. Every time. But then you would hear his reasoning, see it through his eyes. Live it like he did-and I found myself saying [almost every time] I’d have done that. But that’s the ambiguity of it-It’s for you to decide, and she didn’t make it easy. Each character in this story has a difficult decision to face every day, and I loved reading about these confused and lost souls.

Rob’s father screwed everyone in town over that invested with him, making Rob seem guilty by association since he interned there. Either way, he’s now a social pariah when he used to be the most popular guy in school (it sounds familiar, but it’s done oh so well!). And his home life? It’s terribly sad and without a doubt broke my heart every time he was home or talked/thought about it. Then we have Maegan. ‘Typical overachiever’ and now an outcast besides her best friend. Caught in a scandal and compromising other students in the process, she is deemed lowest of the low, just after one simple mistake when, before, she was simply dubbed a goody-two shoes.

One mistake can change your whole life, the way you’re viewed, and can influence each new decision you have to make, and we get to see what the aftermath is like for both someone who made a one-time mistake that marred their chances of getting into ANY college when they were a shoe-in before, and someone who didn’t do anything wrong, nor know anything about it, yet pays the steady cost of betrayal every day, both at school and, more devastatingly, in his own home.

I always love the star-crossed lover books where a popular guy is paired with an unpopular girl, or vice versa, on a project, so this was right up my alley. Except, here, we have two totally different social groups coming together…but they’re both now outcasts, and I loved the twist on that trope I love so much. And, even more than that, I love that Kemmerer could explore trust among two ‘wrongdoers’, along with betrayal, friendship, attraction-and standing up for what you believe to be right. I loved it. It’s all so convoluted and twisty and turny in the sense that Maegan doesn’t know what to think about Rob, whether he was involved or not, and where his morality is questioned as he finds himself turning into a modern day Robin Hood.

The family relationships and friendships were handled well, in my opinion, and I even thought it was well rounded out…I’m never tough on these situations, though. So long as there is a conflict, characters fighting-both together and separately-to figure out a solution, a resolution to said conflict, and a general mending and moving forward of severed relationships in result to the conflict, I’m happy. And I don’t need the dwelling on it, either, which is where people get mad. They want to hear more, see more, expect more…but it’s YA and relationships are messy-especially with family-people are just too harsh. But to each their own.

There was even a HUGE trigger issue in this book, for me, and it was handled as well and as authentically as I think it could be-that being said, I was satisfied. (view spoiler), thus, a trigger. Literally my only complaint but not really complaint? I wanted a LITTLE more in the epilogue. More HFN than HEA, but I loved it all the same.

So, once again Kemmerer proves why I love her so dearly and makes me a loyal slave and follower. Don’t even question when this comes out if I’ll have it on my shelf-it’s already preordered. And you should do so, too.

View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1) by Brigid KemmererA Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1)
by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads






Synopsis:

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she's instead somehow sucked into Rhen's cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Review:

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.” 

Okayyyyy, folks. I’m sitting here trying to figure out how exactly I should approach this review. On one hand, as you can see, I gave it four stars. Obviously that means that I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters, it was SUCH a great new take on a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and the writing sucked me in from page one. However….the ending?????? I just don’t even know where to begin on that so I’ll try to leave any ranting for the very end AFTER I talk about all of the lovely things in this book!

First of all, this is my very first book by Brigid Kemmerer and I can say with certainty that I will be picking up another one of her books in the near future. I realllllly liked her writing and as I said earlier, it sucked me immediately into the story.

The story: Let’s face it, the story of Beauty and the Best has been redone over and over and over again. In my mind, there are really only so many things you can do to change things up and turn it into a new thing that no one else has ever done before. That being said, I think that this story is a prime example of being that something “new.” Rhen is the prince of Emberfall and is cursed to live the fall season over and over again until he can find a woman to fall in love with him and break the curse. At the end of each season he turns into a horrible beast but instead of just sitting around, moping in the castle, he completely loses himself and a lot of people (usually his subjects) end up dying. His commander, Grey, is the only person he has left with him and is the one who crosses over into our world to find women for Rhen to basically court and try to woo each season. Our main protagonist, Harper, was not Grey’s target. No, she had been out on the street, waiting for her brother to return from doing a dangerous job for a loan shark when she sees this random guy seeming to drug and try to kidnap this woman. Naturally our spunky lead picks up a rusty tire iron and tries to stop that from happening. She is instead taken to Emberfall and the rest of the story ensues.

Characters: Aside from being madly in love with both Rhen and Grey, Harper was my favorite character. She has cerebral palsy which gives her a pretty bad limp but that literally never stops her from doing anything. There were actually a few instances of Rhen or someone else saying something about her “broken body” or how she was “crippled” and she was always the first to remind them that she wasn’t broken, she wasn’t damaged. I don’t personally know anyone with cerebral palsy and I know that there’s a pretty big spectrum of how it can affect your body so it was great getting to read about a main character who has it but didn’t let it slow her down. I hope she was a great representation for those out there that read this that also have the disorder.

Back tracking to the two wonderful men…sigh…they were great. You could tell that Rhen had come a long way from where he started during his first cursed season. He became more selfless, he started to care more about Grey, and obviously about Harper too. Her spitfire attitude also re-awakened in him a sense of duty for his kingdom which is great because I felt super bad for everyone outside of the castle who had spent the last five years feeling like their King and ruling family had abandoned them as they starved and were killed off by a rival kingdom and the monster……Anywayssss he was just very kind and sweet and watching him fall for Harper was a treat. Grey reminded me SO MUCH of Chaol which obviously made me love him right away. That’s really all I have to say about that lol.

Lilith…she was the worst and that’s all you need to know for now.

Ending: Well, here we are at the end. I decided that I can’t actually rant about anything because that would reveal spoilers and I can’t do that. Maybe I’ll post more on it after the book comes out…..just know that I was not satisfied with the ending. Like part of me ~kind of~ gets what Kemmerer was trying to do but then another part of me was just left SUPER confused. Like I just didn’t get why this certain main component of the book was so important if things ended like they did…I DON’T KNOW. It made me confused/ annoyed enough that I had to dock the book a star but that’s just me. That epilogue on the other hand had me very intrigued….haha yes apparently my thoughts on the end are very jumbled. Overall though, this is a really good book and I need a second book in my life, please and thanks.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review! ♥

BOOK REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid KemmererA Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads






Synopsis:

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

 

*ARC Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Rhen puts his hands on my arms and leans in. When he speaks, his voice is very low, very quiet, just for me. “My father is dead, my lady. My whole family is dead.” He pulls back, meeting my gaze, but his voice doesn’t change. “That monster killed them all.”

This book is everything I knew I wanted and needed in my life. And, also, this book is everything I didn’t know I wanted and needed in my life. Yes, it’s a Beauty and the Beast re-telling (the most used and, in my opinion, most successful Fairy Tale retelling) but it was far different than anything I could have hoped for or anticipated.

This is the most reckless thing I’ve ever done.
Wait. No. The most reckless thing I’ve ever done was attack a guy on the street with a tire iron. So I guess this is fine.

In many ways I did long for the more traditional approach, such as hanging out in the castle together, etc., but, from what I can tell, the author was trying to accomplish something far greater for our two heroes and I think it would have came off as boring, comparatively. Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t want them to have more time together, because I felt that, sometimes, we lacked that. But, as a whole, this book made my feels go crazy and I was on the edge of my seat the entire story.

This feels like the cruelest season of all, to present me with a girl with the fierceness to stand at my side—yet with a home and family she needs to return to so badly.

Every moment was just so beyond addicting, such as it always is with Kemmerer’s writing, but there was something just so cool about her writing a fantasy-a fairy-tale retelling from the woman who creates the most deliciously tortured male leads, like, ever. Declan is a BBF I will NEVER forget, and now Rhen is way up there for me, as well. He was just so alone. My poor lonely soul *tear*

I give her a nod and turn for the door.
“Rhen,” she calls after me.
I pause in the doorway and face her.
“I’m not going to fall in love with you,” she says. Her words are not a surprise.
I sigh. “You won’t be the first.”

And the dynamics between Rhen, Grey, and Harper? Oh my gosh, words cannot even describe how strongly I fell for this trio. My heart, my soul, and my entire being longed for this story to never end because there could never be enough of their story. For real, though-my biggest complaint with this story??? I. NEEDED. MORE.

More Rhen and Harper. More Rhen and Grey. More Grey and Harper. More. More. MOAR. I cannot stress that fact enough-I’m starting another book tonight, but my heart remains with these characters, this curse, and the love that might or might not have blossomed between Rhen and Harper. And this is really hard for me to talk about, because I don’t want to spoil anything…so I can’t say why I wanted more. It just….I need it.

Rhen has made it to his feet. “You cannot harm her,” he says. “You swore.”
“I swore not to kill them,” Lilith says. “I swore not to interfere with your attempts at courtship.” She steps closer to me. “That,” she says, “is all I swore.”

And can we talk about that torturous storyline? I’m not exaggerating. I absolutely ADORED when Lilith (I hate her but loved what she brought to the table) came around to bother Rhen. Many of you will call me a sicko, but I was a sucker for the struggles Rhen faced and how Lilith tested his limits and went over his boundaries. There’s something about a character in the worst moments of their life that make a story more candid-and I lived for these moments…for better or worse. And why couldn’t I have gotten that oneeee thingggg I realllyyyyyyyy wanted at the end?! GRR. I kind of did…but it was toned down and boo.

I stay close to Rhen and keep my voice low. “Do people always do everything you want?
“Not always.” He turns to look at me, his expression inscrutable. “Clearly.”

I’ll leave most of the story alone so as not to spoil it, but I want to draw the comparisons between the Fairytale and this book, because I actually found them wonderful. Rhen was the beast, obviously. Grey, I believe, was Lumiere. Lilith had to be a mix of the witch/the mirror. Harper’s brother and mother were Belle’s life (the mother was the father in this case, but she had a true sickness, she wasn’t mad as they said the father was). There was dancing!

Adorable. Harper was clearly Belle (I know, Captain Obvious), and the curse was the same-to find true love to break the curse….but with a HUGE, nasty twist for poor Rhen: Instead of being a beast full-time, at the end of every failed season, he turns into a beast (a different one every time) that ravages those around him and all his people, only to come to after the fact with blood staining his clothes and hands…and everything resets for the next season. Rinse. Repeat. For eternity. Yikes. But no library. That sucked haha.

This story was about Harper making him see what he can do to save his people. It was about finding who you were meant to be, no matter the cost, and it was about a Prince who never could find true love…until a girl called him on his games and demanded more. Sincerity. Love. Kindness.

This early in the season, the other girls would sit by the hearth and gaze at me over crystal goblets, while I’d pour wine and tell stories with just enough devilishness to make them blush.
If I put a crystal goblet in this one’s hand, she’d likely smash it and use the shards to cut me.

I loved this book. So much. Is that not clear? There were a few moments that got to me, though, and the one that sticks out the most is this trigger: View Spoiler » And that was the only specific moment it showed-what purpose did this serve? To make me madder? Well, it succeeded. Other than that, I loved what Rhen had to go through, but that bothered me.

A sound chokes out of my throat. I want to weep for an entirely new reason. The burning pain has reached my head, and my eyes begin to cloud with stars.
“You are responsible,” she says, her terrible voice fading away. “You, Rhen. You alone will destroy them all.”

I sometimes thought that Grey and Harper’s relationship got more time developing than her and Rhen’s…and I’m not sure that was ever not true. But his relationship with Rhen was also a big part of the story, and it just showed how truly wonderful Grey was in every way

-he was such a comedic relief that I lapped up in every moment. I wondered if this was going to be a love triangle…and it wasn’t? As time passed nothing arose that worried me in that way, but, in the end, I was thinking-so…was I right?? Did he like her?? That was a bit odd, as well, I will say. And I fear people will say she had more chemistry with Grey, but I am ride or die for Rhen and Harper and it didn’t effect me one bit-I just know how fickle we readers are and I fear this is a reaction I will see from many of my friends or other reviewers. I’ll deny them wholeheartedly, of course, but that doesn’t make it true for anyone other than me.

I step closer, until her skirts brush my legs, and I rest a hand on her waist. “I am inviting you to dance, not dragging you behind a horse.” I sigh dramatically. “Must you look so tortured?”

Okay. This review was not what I wanted it to be at all-this is in part because I wrote my review at work and people kept interrupting me and it made me severely scatter-brained…and partly because I am a bit confused on my feelings toward the end. I. WANTED. MORE. Lol. Clearly.

And this is totally Rhen-Sorry not sorry.

**********

Okay. Okay. So….I pos-i-tute-ly LOVED THIS….but that end??? Like-I don’t-What?

Tell me there’s more? Because my thirst cannot be quenched when it comes to my baby Prince Rhen and my baby Grey!!!!!!!!!! I NEED MORE!

RTC.

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BOOK REVIEW – More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW – More Than We Can Tell by Brigid KemmererMore Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads






Synopsis:

With loving adoptive parents by his side, Rev Fletcher has managed to keep the demons of his past at bay. . . until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue's parents are constantly fighting, and her only escape is the computer game she built from scratch. But when a cruel online troll's harassment escalates, she not only loses confidence but starts to fear for her safety.

When Rev and Emma meet, they're both longing to lift the burden of their secrets. They connect instantly and deeply, promising to help each other no matter what. But soon Rev and Emma's secrets threaten to crush them, and they'll need more than a promise to find their way out.

From the author of Letters to the Lost comes a new compulsively readable story for fans of Nicola Yoon.

Review:

More Than We Can Tell was an emotional book that was the perfect mixture of heart-wrenching and oh so sweet.  So I definitely wasn’t surprised that I had tears in my eyes, when I was only a few chapters into this story.  It was a testament to how easily these characters captured my heart.  And while this can be read as a standalone, I recommend picking up Letters to the Lost too.  That story first introduced us to Rev, and it was one of my favorite books from last year.

I think of the girl beside the church.
You’re afraid.
I’ve spent years learning how not to be afraid. And now, with a few short sentences, my father has sliced through all my defenses. – Rev

Confession time – I had already fallen for Rev Fletcher in Letters to the Lost.  He was Declan’s best friend, and we saw what an amazing man he was.  He was always there for Declan, had so much compassion in his heart, and was such a good guy.  Even though it was obvious that he suffered from his own personal demons.  So to start off the book with his world exploding?  Oh.  My heart ached so badly for him.  And it was all because he received a letter from his biological father.  The man who raised him till he was eight, and who physically and mentally tortured Rev.  All in the name of God.  And from just that one letter, Rev started to spiral down into a dark abyss.

I keep worrying about my father, wondering when something is going to snap inside me. Wondering when I’m going to turn vicious and cruel, just like he did. – Rev

While Rev found himself sinking into a horrific darkness, he met someone who was suffering too.  Emma Blue.  Within that first interaction, they shared a tiny piece of what they were feeling.  I loved that with just a few words, they felt that connection.  They made each other not feel so alone in the world.  And from there, each time they ran into one another or met up, they let each other in just a little bit more.  It was such a beautiful progression to watch their friendship blossom.  They listened, they offered advice, they confessed and they found solace in each other.  But within it all, was butterflies and the possibility of a first love.  

I block him.
Then I slam my laptop shut. I flip over in bed and scream into my pillow.
I scream so loud and so long that I forget what silence is like.
I scream until I run out of breath. – Emma

I was so thankful that Emma met Rev.  Because it felt as though she had no one at times.  She struggled in her relationships with her parents.  They weren’t supportive of her, weren’t around, and they treated her like an inconvenience.  On top of that, she seemed to be drifting away from her best friend.  As if that wasn’t enough, she suffered from horrific online bullying.  And while I loved how outspoken and tough Emma could be at times, I did struggle with her.  She had a habit of pushing others away or saying hurtful things.  And the few times she did that to Rev, well it hurt me too.  Even though I saw where she learned that behavior from, and I got why she did it, I still didn’t like it at all.  But thankfully Emma made up for it again and again.

“Thank you.”
“For what?”
“For seeing me.”
Then he turns, jogs across the street, and disappears into the darkness beyond.

There were so many beautiful messages in this book, that I believe are extremely important.  They ranged from bullying, to trusting the wrong people, to discovering solace in the ones you love and to also finding acceptance within yourself.  And on top of the messages, there were other people that added so much heart to this story.  Such as Declan, Rev’s adoptive parents and Matthew!  Ahhh I can’t say anymore, but I’d love to read Matthew’s own book someday *fingers crossed*!  So I found myself closing the book extremely happy with how it all ended.  It’s a fabulous read, and I definitely recommend it!!

PS If you want to read my 5 Star Review of Letters to the Lost, the book the first introduces us to Rev, you can read it here.

*ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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