“If it’s the forever after kind of love, it’ll find you again.”
Wow, this story was absolutely beautiful!! I read it in one sitting and then sat there hugging my book when I was done with happy tears in my eyes. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a very unique, beautifully-written story that’ll tug all your heart strings and really make you feel. It’s deeply introspective and layered with almost poetic symbolism, but at the same time, the characters just felt so down-to-earth and real that you can’t help but be swept away in their journey. I loved it!
Two names that didn’t belong to us. Two shoes that did.
Intense and introspective, seventeen-year-old Hawthorne Macy knows all about being abandoned. She’s felt the stark pain of being left behind by the people who are supposed to love her the most; her parents. Raised by her caring uncle on an old plantation, Hawthorne lives her life on the fringes of her small Southern town.
Until she meets his shoe.
Senior year, last period English class, and a pair of silent tennis shoes resting next to hers in the back of the room throws Hawthorne into a world she’d learned to stay outside of.
His name is Max Vincent, but in her mind, he’s Heathcliff. The handsome eighteen-year-old boy behind the shoes will pull Hawthorne into a passionate and unforgettable adventure of self-discovery during a time when love seems impossible.
Shoes can tell a lot about a person. The journey they take you on can tell a lot about how they’ll hold up.
The story is about an awkward girl with a past full of heart ache who lives in a small-town, and a good-looking boy she meets in high school who sees past her pain and, no matter what happens, he never gives up on her. But he’s leaving town after graduation so their time together is limited. This is their journey together over eight years of self discovery, first love, and second chances. It’s truly beautiful.
“Why do you believe I’m misunderstood?” he asked suddenly.
I glanced at out entwined hands. “Because you’ve let yourself become as much a mystery as I have, your silence lighting people’s curiosity. So many girls want you, and so many guys hate you because they want to be wanted the same way you are. They assume things. And then you come here…”
My words trailed off, but he jumped on them. “To the wild girl’s house,” he finished.
“I’m not wild,” I pointed out crossly.
“Your hair is,” he returned.
My lips twitched. “It’s a curse.”
“It’s sexy as hell.”
In an unusual twist for a romantic story, his leaving wasn’t actually something that held back the development of their relationship. While they didn’t specifically plan to remain together when he left, she was willing to accept what they had in the moment. Like her uncle said…
“If it’s the forever after kind of love, it’ll find you again. If it isn’t, don’t let a broken heart break you. Let it make you love harder. Love is a mistake worth making.”
The way he never gave up on her was truly touching. He saw through her brokenness to the strength underneath and he held her together long enough to heal before the tables turned and it was her turn to stand strong for him.
People came and went, but only one presence truly stayed with me. Heathcliff. Mostly, he stood next to me, sometimes kneeling on the floor when I couldn’t stand… In many ways, I didn’t want anyone. I just wanted to hurt… But at some point, I did reach for him, and he embraced me, his arms tightening.
“You’re not alone,” he said against my hair.
There were so many scenes that stood out to me — but the prom scene especially was absolutely gorgeous. I cried! Ohhhh my heartstrings! It was so beautiful. And the reason why she kept on cooking — tears, again!! And then the boots near the end — full on water works!! So many feels!!!
I have almost 50 quotes highlighted in my book. The writing really resonated strongly with me. I loved the symbolism and the way so many scenes had one meaning on the surface, but another deeper meaning if you read between the lines. I loved that the characters were imperfect and were both figuring their lives out. They made mistakes, sometimes chose wrong, but their hearts always led them back to each other.
It’s odd how life works, how when we tell our story, its told in large dramatic pieces. There are no small moments because there doesn’t seem enough time for the small moments. We don’t use our last breaths telling people about the food we ate or the clothes we wore, we talk about what it was like to love, to lose, to succeed. We talk about the highs and sometimes we talk about the lows. We don’t talk about the between moments.
I feel in love during the between.
The story rides the line between YA and NA, but gets more mature as the character age. The beginning of the book is in the final year of high school and the ending of the book is eight years later. There’s sex, but it’s not overly graphic — like the rest of the book, it’s just very beautifully portrayed.
If you’re curious about whether the writing style will work for you, I’d actually encourage you to read the prologue of the book. If you love the style of the prologue, I’d say it’s very likely you’ll love the whole book. If the prologue isn’t for you, then I wouldn’t suggest continuing. So it’s a great easy way to tell.
I feel like I could nitpick little things if I wanted (like — why they couldn’t have remained in a long distance relationship? and a few other things) but honestly I feel like the way it was written made me fully accepting that this was the way they’d chosen to live their lives and I just loved them both so much that I was willing to accept their story as it was. The only real reason I’m rating it 4.5 instead of 5 is that I really do feel like I would have loved a second epilogue maybe 10 years in the future. That being said, the epilogue in the book is beautiful and I ended the book feeling so good about everything. Happy tears!
If I had to choose another book to compare this to, or another book to put in the same category, it would be The Sweet Gum Tree. While this story is quite different, there were many times when it brought back similar feelings. If you loved that book, definitely try this one. And if you’ve never read it, try this anyways!
She snorted. “Oh, I know. He needs to, but the world is a crazy place. It jades a person, and when he comes back, he’s going to need to remember the boy he was to make him the man he needs to be.”
All in all, I totally fell in love with this book. As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of books with stories that are completely unique and from the moment I read the prologue, I was hooked by the beautiful writing and drawn into the story. This is definitely going on my list of Favorite Books of the Year!
“You’ll always have a place at my table.”
Rating: 4.5 stars. Standalone.