“He was right about everything,” she said.
“We have no much love in us. No end to it.”
**Please note: this review will naturally have some spoilers for book #1 Full Tilt. Nothing overly surprising, but if you genuinely like to go into books completely blind, I suggest you read my Full Tilt review instead.
So this book picks up after the painful loss suffered at the end of the first book. Even though the outcome of that story was not a surprise to anyone (readers or characters), it didn’t make it hurt any less. That kind of loss was tragic and devastating and naturally affected Jonah’s family and loved ones deeply.
Theo’s undying love and devotion to his brother was both heart-wrenching and admirable. No matter what his feeling towards Kacey were, and no matter what his brother’s dying wish had been, there was no way he was ready or willing to cross that line. His sense of loyalty was too great. Kacey had been the love of Jonah’s life and he couldn’t bring himself to do anything to disrespect that. But he did promise to care for her — a promise he meant to keep with all his heart. Until the day she disappeared.
In the aftermath of her loss, Kacey drifted through life — unsure of her direction, and without purpose or care. The person she loved most had been ripped away from her and it was like all the light had faded. And so she ran.
When Theo finally found her, after months of searching, he knew he couldn’t let her go again. But their lives were rooted in different cities, so over time, many phone calls, visits, and even more time, their bond grew. This was the girl he cared for with all his heart and even though he wished he could reverse their loss, the situation remained unchangeably as it was and it was up to them to decide to choose their own happiness.
“I’m sorry,” I cried, my face aching with the strain of holding back the river. “I’m so sorry, but go. Please go. I don’t want you to see me like this.”
He won’t leave.
He won’t ever leave. He’s strong and healthy and well and he won’t leave…
I hear the creak of the floorboards, felt them shift under my kneecaps. His booted foot appeared in the murky blur of my vision. When he spoke, his voice was a mountain.
“I’m staying here.”
I was really pleased with how slowly their relationship developed. After reading book one, I think all readers, along with Kacey and Theo, were mourning Jonah’s loss and that time to heal and come to terms with both what had happen and what could maybe happen next was necessary before even considering anything new.
Poor Theo had spent his whole life feeling like he was second best. Fighting for approval from his parents, going against the norm… and yet he had the biggest heart and the most selfless attitude towards life — always putting everyone else before him and never expecting anything in return. So when he fell for the one person that it seemed impossible for him to ever be with, he wasn’t surprised. He almost accepted the impossibility of that situation because it felt like just another thing that couldn’t possibly work out.
I wanted him to leave. I wanted him to stay.
I wanted to curl up alone on my bed and cry. I wanted to drag him into my bedroom, have him tear my clothes off, take me hard and deep until we both found relief.
I wanted to cry for betraying what I’d had with [his brother]. I wanted to cry because kissing him felt like nothing I’d known since.
But time can heal so many wounds. And with that time came a lot of growth, understanding, and choices that ultimately would lead to the happiness they both so deeply deserved.
My eyes kept seeking him in the crowd. Every time I did, I found his eyes on me, that intense look only he possessed. The look that made me feel, for a few brief moments, as if no one existed in his world but for me.
This is a story about life and love. Just because one life stops doesn’t mean that it’s the end of that love. Just because one love can’t be the same as it used to, doesn’t mean it has to stop. And just because a new love is formed, it doesn’t have to replace the first one. The heart has an infinite capacity for love — a universe of love — and this book showed that to its readers in the most beautiful way.
All In was a wonderful conclusion to one of the best duets of the year. The epilogue was so heart-warming that it brought happy tears to my eyes! This story of finding love and happiness after suffering the most painful off losses was truly beautifully written. It was emotional and heart-wrenching at times, but ultimately love and healing were the strongest feelings of all. If you’re looking for a new series to fall in love with, I highly recommend this one!
“Fuck it. I’ll take care of her. I’ll love her enough. I’ll love her enough she’ll never want for it. I’ll spend my entire life loving her and making her happy.”
Rating: 4.5 stars. Conclusion to the Full Tilt Duet.