“This is forever, Maggie. I would follow you to hell if I had to.” His breath tickled my skin. He kissed my temple. “You are all I want for the rest of my life.”
Oh. Wow…. *clutches heart* I SO loved this book!!!
Maggie and Clay’s story was a deeply touching, heavy and emotional journey of the intensity, strength and beauty of first love coupled with the heart-wrenching hardships and struggles of someone affected by a mental illness (bi polar disorder).
This book shows you the light, pulls you into the dark and then shows you a glimmer of light again.
I really *felt* for this book. My heart went out to Clay as he struggled with his illness and my heart went out to Maggie as she followed her heart and stood by him no matter what.
The book felt REAL – the journey, the characters, the struggles… Everything that happened was believable, powerful, and very well written and I found myself unable to stop thinking about the story even when I wasn’t reading it.
The prologue hooked me immediately. Having finished the book, I realize how completely it represents it – part beautiful, part despairing, part hopeless, and part desperately and unconditionally in love.
I loved the writing style!! Like way freaking LOVED it! The story was told from Maggie’s POV and there was just enough humor and sarcasm to keep me almost smiling, but it also had a wonderfully direct, no bull$hit ring to it that made it really easy for me to connect with her. The author perfectly captured that mature yet distinctly older teenage voice – defining that line between teenage and adult.
The story is about Maggie – a seventeen-year-old girl with a very average, normal, happy-yet-boring life. One day, late for class, she quite literally runs into a guy – Clay. He’s angry, growly and absolutely gorgeous but his attitude throws her off… and yet, she can’t stop thinking about him and seeks him out, determined to become his friend.
The more time they begin to spend together, the more his moodiness lifts and she begins to see into the inner Clay – the one he doesn’t show the world. He’s fun, jokes around, flirts and is sweet but shy, yet protective…. mercurial. His moods changed constantly and he’d go from happy and light to angry and closed off at the slightest trigger.
The more he begins to trust her, the more he feels comfortable telling her and when he opens his secrets about his mental health she decides that its not something she’s going to let keep them apart.
There’s a quiet intensity to the story that builds as an undertone. You know something is off about them but you can’t put your finger on it and the part of you that’s in love with them falling in love with each other just desperately wants to try and dismiss your worries as just something you’re imagining. But… *sigh* they’re not imagined. They’re real. Oh so real. And heart breaking.
I loved Maggie – like really, truly loved her. She had a straight up, direct, in-your-face, no sugar coating, no bullshit kind of attitude. Throw in a dash of sarcasm and an immensely huge heart and yeah, she was a wonderful heroine who I admired and I never once wanted to throttle! How often does THAT happen??
Clayton really stole my heart – issues and all. On one hand he was swoony, sweet and had that dash of charm and protectiveness that made my heart flutter and yet, on the other hand his illness made him moody to an extreme, prone to random outbursts and hurtful actions brought about from extreme insecurity.
Despite all the issues they were working though, Clay and Maggie were truly beautiful together. With every fiber of my being I wanted to find a way for them to be okay.
“I needed Clay as much as he needed me. We existed in this symbiotic relationship where our hearts beat and our lungs breathed only for each other.”
It broke my heart watching Clay break down or have an outburst because you could just tell when it wasn’t ‘him’ – and he was always SO sorry afterward that you just *knew* he meant it.
He wasn’t just a regular guy, he was one of those swoony, gorgeous Alpha-in-the-making heroes (he’s only 17) and what made it the most heart breaking was that he was a little bit broken. I just wanted to hug him over and over again!! … when he said “I love you, baby” my heart would just MELT!!
“I love you. You are my life.” he placed my hand over his heart. I could feel it beating erratically beneath my palm. “Feel that? It’s yours. For now and always!”
“When you’re in a room, Maggie, all I see is you. You make everything better. Clearer. You stop the crazy noise in my head. I can think, hell, I can breathe when we’re together. What you make me feel is the most unbelievable and scary thing I’ve ever felt.“
He was also such an interesting character because despite having the issues and imbalance, he was very knowledgeable about it. He knew his condition and acknowledged it. It didn’t stop it from affecting him every time, but it was interesting to see him both so clinically understanding of his condition and at the same time so uncontrollably affected by it. He could explain every single issue he had, he knew and acknowledged every mistake he made, but… he couldn’t stop himself from making them.
Everything Clay did, wrong or right just broke my heart because, with the way the story is written, you could see exactly what triggered each of his reactions and you could understand them. I mean even though his reactions were over-the-top due to his illness, WHAT he was reacting to was completely understandable which made everything even more painful.
“The struggle is really hard sometimes. And then I meet you. And I feel stuff that I’ve never felt before. Things that I never thought I would be lucky enough to experience. And I feel so out of control in the way I am with you. Like I’m stripped bare and for once someone sees everything inside of me… the good and the really really ugly.”
My heart broke for him – for the hell he lived in back home, for his struggles, for his efforts to be better. Even without his disorder, the fucked up relationship he had with his parents would have driven ANYONE to extremes. Heck even reading some of the things he had to go through in his home life made ME want to loose it.
Its weird to say this but given what Maggie and Clay were going though, I’d actually call them very functional as a couple. I don’t think they could have handled their situation better. Every thing that went wrong for them was heavily influenced by external forces beyond their control but, between the two of them, they were really doing their best to figure things out. But they were in an impossible situation, facing impossible odds for which there was no magic solution and no quick fix.
“And if he went into the dark again, this time I would be there to find him – to follow him. Because I thought, perhaps quite immeasurable that my love could help him. Maybe our love could even do more than just help – maybe it could heal him. Fix him. Fix everything.”
The book really builds after about 70%. And in the final 20%, I was pretty much just reading with this ohGodohGodohGod feeling as things went from bad to worse and I just wanted it to work out SO badly.
By 94% I was crying. A lot….
I know a lot of you have been asking whether there’s a cliffhanger so I’m going to try and answer that here:
The way I’d describe it is that it ended at a good stopping point (like, not in the middle of a scene or anything) but it was definitely only half their story – there is a lot more to tell. You definitely do know that its the RIGHT place for the characters to be at this time AND the next book is already out!!
This book has easily made it onto my favorites pile and the author’s writing style was brilliant. I’d definitely recommend this book.
Rating: 5 stars.
** SERIES READING ORDER **
This is a completed series.
Novella #2.5 — WARMTH IN ICE
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