I don’t believe in coincidence or fate
But I know one thing for sure
Your face was meant to be
Burned into the deepest reaches
Of my blackest memories.
This was my first book by Cassia Leo and it had me hooked from the first page! I loved it!
I’m always on the hunt for books that stand out and that have stories that are unlike any others I’ve read and this was one of those! The set up of Black Box was really unique and I’ll actually just share the blurb with you because it does a great job of introducing the story.
Three fateful encounters…
Two heart-breaking tragedies…
One last chance to get it right.
Over the course of five years, Mikki and Crush cross paths on three separate occasions. Their first encounter changes Mikki’s life forever, but their second meeting leaves them both buried beneath the emotional wreckage of a violent attack. Mikki is left with more questions and grief than she can handle, while Crush is forced to forget the girl who saved his life.
Now nineteen years old, Mikki Gladstone is tired of the mind-numbing meds. She books a flight to Los Angeles to end her life far away from her loving, though often distant, family.
Twenty-one-year-old Crush has always channeled his blackest thoughts into his music, but he’s never had great aspirations. He decides to fly to Los Angeles to record a demo of the only song he’s never performed in public; a song he wrote for a girl he doesn’t even know: Black Box. He has no expectations of fame and he’s never felt like his life had any purpose… until he meets Mikki in Terminal B.
When Mikki and Crush cross paths for the third time in Terminal B, neither has any idea who the other person is; until they slowly piece together their history and realize that fate has more in store for them than just another love story.
Like I said, I was hooked right from the prologue and immediately pulled into the story. Although the whole story is told in alternating POVs between Mikki and Crush, the beginning is in from her perspective and I have to say that I thought the author did a great job of showing us the mind set of someone who genuinely wanted to end their life. While I couldn’t personally relate to it, it was portrayed in such a way that I could understand where they were coming from which I really felt was a vital component to this type of plot set up. So I was really impressed with that aspect of it.
The story is told mostly in the present day but it also had flashback chapters to Mikki and Crush’s previous life-changing encounters. The way the past and present were woven together added wonderful layers to the story and constantly had the reader ‘discovering’ something new that tied everything together. I have to say though that what happened in their second meeting really took me by surprise! For some reason, I just wasn’t expecting something that dark from this story. It was a total holy shit moment!!
“I have to ignore this crazy voice in my head telling me that this whole thing… was fate’s way of bringing Mikki and me back together. That kind of stuff only happens in cheesy romantic movies. And, let’s face it, if they ever made a movie for Mikki and me, it would probably have to be categorized under horror flicks.”
But then, as more and more layers of the story began to be revealed, I swear to you I got full body chills!!!! Who knew a chance encounter would mean so much??
It was just unreal! The mystery, the coincidences, the way their paths had crossed, it just kept pulling me in. I think it’s one of those things where it could easily have become unbelievable — like, what are the chances of that many pieces of their lives lining up — but the way this story was presented always kept it in the realm of believability. I mean… it is possible that theirs was one of those one in a million stories, right? And also, it kind of makes you think and wonder what else in life (that maybe you don’t even know about or realize) is connected. I just found the concept of all these different elements lining up really interesting!
“I feel like I’ve known you all my life… I don’t want that feeling to go away. I want to know you all my life.”
For a good chunk of the book — literally pages and pages on end — I just got these intense shivers watching all the little pieces of the story fit together. You know that really cool feeling you get in that moment when the twist in a story is revealed? You know those intense chills you get? Well, it was like that here but instead it just happened over and over and over again!!! It was such a cool reading experience!
I really liked that while it kept me fully engaged in the story and certainly had some shocking moments, it still wasn’t too angsty, and didn’t put my heart through the ringer. But it kept me emotionally connected and absolutely kept me flipping those page. If I hadn’t been travelling at the time that I read it, I would easily have wanted to finish it in one sitting.
Black Box was a beautiful story about a protective boy saving a broken girl — bringing her back to life and showing how wonderful life could be when she’d lost all hope for it — and a girl who had everything taken from her unknowing saving him in return. It was unique, captivating and I didn’t want to put it down. If you’re looking for a new standalone romance, I’d definitely recommend checking this one out!
And, as Crush says…
“Spoiler alert: Everything is going to be okay.”
Rating: 4.5 stars
Sarah Peña says
My first book by her also, it has stayed with me. Loved your review!