“We are all broken in one way or another. Its how we put those pieces back together that matters.”
4.5 stars! I LOVED THIS BOOK!!
It was a captivating, emotional story of a girl healing from shattered trust and childhood abuse, rediscovering her self worth, falling in love, putting back together the pieces of her life and of the boy who helped her find that final piece and brought love, trust and safety back to her life.
I felt for Beth, I loved Ryan, I was drawn into the story, and I couldn’t put it down until I finished reading it at 4:30 AM.
This book doesn’t ease you in – right from the first chapter you are faced with the sexual abuse endured by Beth as a 10 year old child and honestly I wan’t sure at first if I could handle the book. I mean, she was TEN. years. old!
The story quickly progresses forward 4 years and she is still in the same situation. But worse now, when she finally musters the courage to tell her drug- addicted mother, she is not believed. Its hard to say which is worse – the act itself or the helplessness of being under the thumb of someone who chooses to be blind to your pain.
Despite how horrible it made me feel to read what she was going through, I was also absolutely pulled into the story. And by 10% I was already near tears.
“I am a kind of broken they can’t fix. I am no longer the same little girl they loved.”
Luckily, Beth’s extended family of grandparents and uncles come to her rescue and take her away for the summer to heal. Their love, understanding and caring just warmed me heart to the very core!! Especially Tommy – who truly was one of the most amazing father-figure characters ever who just loved her unconditionally with all warmth and protectiveness you could ever want from a parent.
I loved their whole family dynamic – there is something about family that is created out of emotional attachment and not just through a direct blood link that really always tugs my heart strings.
At her grandparent’s place, she meets Ryan again. Two years older than her and once her child tormentor, she’s now seeing him in a different light now that they’re older. What developed between them as they went from teasing to attraction to first love was just so beautiful, sweet and heart warming made me connect with them very deeply.
“Trust me,” he pleads, and there is a sincerity in his tone that has me believing him. With a faith I didn’t know I still possessed, I lift my head and smile.”
“Ok, Ryan. I’ll trust you.”
There were a few rather detailed scenes of her abuse that I found hard to read and stomach. They were both graphic and sickening but having read the whole story I can understand how they served to give you a more “full” understanding of Beth’s character. It was hard to read but it was what she went through and having to read through her trauma as opposed to just alluding to it I guess made me as a reader feel that much more strongly for her as a character. But still, I just cringed my way through that scene.
But the book wasn’t all heavy. Ryan didn’t know about her abuse so he brought an element of lighthearted flirting and happiness to the story. And despite the heavier scenes, there were also many that made me grin and squee and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
But the perfect summer doesn’t last forever and too soon she is forced back home, having to leave behind the comfort, safety and love that she has just found. At this point, she is 15.
Although the whole first part of the book is from Beth’s POV, at 40% in, we start being treated to snippets from Ryan’s POV which was really wonderful!
The story skips forward a year. Then three. School happens, life happens, and although they can’t stop thinking about each other, they are both forced to move on their their lives.
I found this part of the story painful because you know how much they both miss each other. But at the same time it was understandable and “real” because I could easily see their separations as being a situation that would have happened in real life. It wasn’t a bad parting or anything that had transpired between them that kept them apart. It was just the flow of life. And despite the fact that the romance reader in me desperately wanted them to find a magical way around it, life just doesn’t always work out that way and I really felt it gave the story a sense of realism.
And then came a time jump that literally just made me gulp — 5 years later!! At this point I was just reading with this intense feeling of omg-when-are-they-gonna-meet?? Now? Now?? NOW???
But when a tragedy called her back to her home town and she finally saw Ryan again, I seriously SQUEE-ed out loud! I was utterly breathless!!!!
It was really one of those stories where you feel and just KNOW from the start that they just belong together. Plain and simple. At the end of the day, they had been in love since that summer they spent together.
My heart was really wrapped up in this story – all the way. I felt the tragedy very strongly – it was gut wrenching and the whole situation nearly brought me to tears more than once.
I have to say though that I didn’t ever actually cry, but I did tear up a few times. But this story still reached right into my heart and I really really loved it!!
I also loved that it was a bit of a shorter book – I read it in only a few hours but in that time, I always felt fully connected to the characters.
I swooned over Ryan, wanted to hug Beth and just flat-out loved Tommy (but in a father-figure kind of way).
I’d consider it a New Adult book in terms of sex. There is a sex scene and its not closed door but also not super graphic – its more emotional than anything and really felt right for their characters.
It was a beautiful book – hard to read in places, but really well written, with characters that I felt strongly connected to and also a happy ending.
“Together forever, never apart. Maybe in distance but never in heart.”
I’d definitely recommend adding it to your TBRs 🙂
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