4 – 4.5 stars
“He can’t take his eyes off you, Ash. You’re all he sees… He’s just waiting for you to see him”
Ash has been surrounded by death her whole life. By the age of 25, twelve people who were dear or important to her have died, including all of her immediate family and her beloved boyfriend, and she feels indirectly responsible for their deaths because, in a way, she actually is. Not in any sort of ‘on purpose’ way, but indirectly, through continuous and completely horrific twists of fate, she does things that eventually lead to their deaths. And at the time the book starts, the death that she is reeling from and that is hitting her the hardest is that of her boyfriend, Sam.
The constant fear of causing any more pain or devastation to anyone else’s life causes her to distance herself from any and all relationships. But she’s lonely, and its a miserable, bleak existence.
Going back to work after Sam’s death is like hell. She doesn’t want to go on with life but its what he would have wanted so she does her best to keep going. At work, they have hired a new guy. Luke. He steps into her life. And doesn’t walk out.
From the beginning, this book had me on the verge of tears and by 3% in, I was crying. Any author that can make you care instantly and deeply for a the death of a character that you have never officially “met” is a gifted one! Usually my main problem with post-accident books is that I find it hard to connect enough with the pain of loosing the deceased characters, but in this book, I was pulled right into Asha’s emotions and pain and loss.
Maybe it was the music posted at the start of each chapter that helped? Maybe it was the writing style? Or the heart-wrenching story line? Who knows… but I was completely immersed into this story.
The story line moved forward from a point a few weeks after Sam’s death but at the same time, we get flashbacks and memories that serve to connect you more deeply to each of the other friends and family members she has lost – especially Sam. Seeing them as a couple, with what his presence meant to her and felt like in her life, mean that in no time, I was missing him too. He was one of those good guys – you know, the swoony heroes us readers melt over? So trust me when I say that you really feel his loss.
So when it came to Luke, I love that the whole relationship with him was very slow to develop. As the reader, you instantly felt a connection with him as the ‘hero’ of this story, but I loved that he really took his time in regards to Ash. It never felt like he was trying to replace Sam. There was no insta-love. Nothing was rushed. The progression felt natural and beautiful.
You can tell that Luke could sense that something was wrong in her life and he respected her and cared for her enough to give her the time to heal while never pushing her but always being there for her. He was a really gorgeous hero character. He was a bit of a local rock star and the perfect blend of sweet and swoony. The kind that, when you read about something he did, makes you smile to yourself.
“I can’t explain it, Ash. I look at you and I just can’t look away. I look at you and even though I see all of the sadness and pain that you carry, what I really see is a beautiful soul buried beneath it. A beautiful soul who desperately wants to be happy. Who I want to make happy, more than anything else in the world….I, I can’t explain it, I just want to fix that for you.“
He brought life to a girl surrounded by death. That concept was really beautiful. He slowly, with care and tenderness, brought her out of the shell that the fear of death had build around her giving her security, trust, friendship, care and finally love.
“He walked into my life and slowly, gently he showed me how to smile again, how to start living again. He gave me a reason to breathe again. Showed me that living was worth it and it was worth fighting for. That it was worth taking a risk and making the choices you wanted to make. That he was choosing me, fighting for me and he wanted me to fight for him, for us.”
Also, the lyrics to some of the songs Luke writes and sings in this book are beautiful. Like I mentioned, Luke is a singer in a band and 2 of the songs that he wrote for Ash brought tears to my eyes <3
I felt so bad for Asha. Here was this sweet girl with a big heart who loved so many people in her life just to have them wrenched away from her. I felt for her. I understood her frustration and pain and wanted to make it go away. When Luke showed up, I felt so relieved. I immediately trusted him and never doubted that if anyone could be her savior, it would be him.
The only things that I didn’t like was that the love scenes were all fade to black. I felt that in a book with characters in their mid-twenties that are going through a seriously emotionally connected relationship, that I was missing out a little on feeling fully connected to them by not having those scenes…. like they had something that I wasn’t quite able to feel because I didn’t ever read about that connection fully developing – rather it was implied. So despite feeling for them a lot, it disconnected me just a bit… .and I also did find myself wanting just a little touch more at the end (an epilogue perhaps? to guarantee a few things) despite there being a happy ending. *****EDIT: I didn’t realize there would be more books in this series at the time I wrote my review… Now that I know that, I’m happier with the lack of epilogue and am looking forward to the next books.
But still, it was a wonderful read and I’d definitely recommend adding it to your TBRs 🙂
- Luke and Asha —> Click here