I was really torn on the rating for this one, on one hand, I wanted to give it 4 stars for making me care about the characters, on the other hand I wanted to give it 2 stars for the sheer dumb f*cking stupidity of many of the main characters’ actions. Gah!
“I’ve wanted you … since I was old enough to know what want was. I’ll always want you. Always…. I love you so much, so very, very much.”
Carly and Brian have liked each other since they were kids and dated straight through high school. They were planning on getting married straight out of school and spending the rest of their lives together. On the night they were planning on announcing their engagement, their 6 best friends (including Brian’s brother) are killed in a horrific car crash. Carly is traumatized by witnessing it and goes into shock, rendering her mute – from that moment on, she just can’t bring herself to speak to anyone for anything, she doesn’t ever want to leave her house and she refuses to go near a car. At first, Brian sticks around and tries to be supportive but when she shows no signs of improvement, he makes a hard choice and decides move ahead with his plans for college (*SNIFFF*). Despite trying to get Carly to join him, she ultimately chooses to stay – unable to move past the trauma.
“Every dream I’ve ever had begins and ends with you. No matter how much time passes, if you want to come home, I’ll be here. I love you always. Only you.”
There is also a bit of a murder mystery twist to the story regarding how the accident came about that takes up a good chunk of the book. There is a serial rapist and murderer on the loose targeting the popular kids in their small town who is also tied to the accident. I have to say that this part of the story was pretty intriguing and kept me very interested to see who the bad guy was.
Then, about half way through the book, after 15 years of complete disconnect (no talking, no writing, no seeing each other, period) and 2 loveless, hollow marriages later, Brian returns home. When he sees Carly, they immediately reconnect as though they were only separated yesterday and just pick up their romance right where it left off prior to the accident. It was like he never left, they literally just lapse right back into being together. Despite the lighting pace though, it is rather swoony 🙂
“With his hands on her face, he asked, “Has there been anyone else?”
She shook her head.
“Carly,” he whispered as he leaned in to kiss her…
“I can’t start this all up again and then watch you leave,”…
“If we start this up again, I’ll never let you go. I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.” He captured her mouth in a hot, passionate kiss that was full of longing… “And when the time comes for me to leave, either you’ll go with me, or I won’t go at all.”
And throughout all this, there is a murderer to catch!
I felt very conflicted about the book. I was just so torn back and forth between feeling all swoony over their romance and just frustrated to all hell over their decisions. It just seemed like every time there was a decision to make, they picked the wrong one. I mean, it still all worked out in the end, but it could have been SO much easier.
I kept trying to be sympathetic to Brian when he talked about his failed marriages and how they didn’t work because every time he said ‘I do’ his heart was crying out for her, but if that was the case, then WHY DIDN’T HE JUST GO BACK TO HER???
And how could they leave everything for 15 years being as in love with each other as they were?? I just couldn’t get over that. I guess , at first it made me question how much they could have really cared for each other, but by the end I realized that they both really just made a lot, and I mean a lot of freaking dumb decisions. The love was there, but the brains… not so much.
It frustrated me to no end the way Carly and Brian reacted after the accident. Their separation made ZERO sense to me. About Carly, I understand that what she went through was traumatic, but it seems to me, if she actually cared about Brian, she’d make a bit more of an effort to get past her problems. And as for Brian, I would have thought that if he’d cared enough for Carly, he would have maybe pushed her a little more to try and get past her inhibitions that were preventing them from living their life together… but instead he just accepted her decision and left. Point blank, cold turkey, poof! Gone for 15 years! And I mean, I know that Carly’s loss sucked from the accident, but Brian lost his brother and he was able to at least continue living. I totally understand her being a mute, but in my opinion, she should have been a mute if thats what she needed and still gone with him!!
While their reunion was very welcome, I felt it was a little rushed. But, if you could mentally get past the stupidity and speed of some of their actions, Brian and Carly were quite adorable and swoony together in the second half of the book – with plenty of steamy scenes (this is not a YA book). I liked them together but at the same time, I really just wanted to throttle them.
I also totally went through what I’m now gonna refer to as the “accident syndrome” in this book. Thats where a big huge (usually car) accident happens VERY early on in the books – within the first chapter or 2 and although you feel terrible for the characters, its hard to actually connect with their loss because you just don’t know the characters who died well enough.
Honestly though, I have to say that while Brian did do a few throttle-worthy things, it was Carly that really kept making the face-palm-enducing decisions. She’s like that character who, in a horror movie, you just know is gonna die first or be the one to give away their position to the bad guys *shakes head* lol, sigh.
Overall, if you are a bit of a tolerant reader, you might really enjoy this book. I know it had a lot of high ratings, but in order for me to fully enjoy a book, I have to be able to respect their decisions more. So overall, it was okay. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, I even liked many parts of it, but my frustration prevented me from rating it higher.
The story did have a HEA but the ending was rather abrupt and could definitely have benefited from an epilogue.