4.5 – 5 stars
“The thing about falling in love is that no matter where you are when it happens, you can’t help but to color those moments with beauty, even if you’re in a location of ugliness. He made what would have been a place of nightmares into a place to dream.”
SQUEEEE!!! OMG I have so many feels for this book!!!!! ♥♥♥
Everything about this story was beautiful!!
It me cry, laugh, swoon and fan myself and honestly, I just loved it all!!
This is a spoiler-free review.
Second-chance love stories are my favorite but ones with a cool twist are just a bonus. This is the kind of book that makes you want to re-read it, or at least certain parts of it. There is just so much to the story that you can only fully appreciate after having gone through all the big reveals… and knowing them just gives so much *more* to the story, so it’s going on my re-read pile for sure 🙂
Now, I know it’s only 192 pages long but honestly, it didn’t feel short at all. The story was never rushed and the ending wrapped up beautifully with a happy-tear-enducing epilogue. And sometimes you just WANT a really wonderful book that you can read in one sitting, you know?
The story starts out in a flashback. Evie is 14, Leo is 15. They met in the first foster home they were placed in and became the best of friends. They relied on each other, bonded, and as they grew older, that developed into love. He was “the boy who makes me want to stay awake because reality is finally better than my dreams.”
But when Leo gets adopted by a family across the country, they are forced apart. They make vows and he promises to come back for her when they turn 18… but that is the last time she sees him.
Eight years later, Evie has forged a life for herself. Despite having grown up in a life without family, filled with drugs, molestation and bad memories, she is strong, self sufficient and has gotten a job, a little home for herself, and generally has everything under control. She has moved on from the hurt of her past but has never forgotten what she felt for Leo. So when a guy shows up one day who says that Leo sent him to check on her, it just throws her world. She feels pulled towards him somehow but there is something mysterious about him and his connection to Leo… and she has to decide whether or not she can trust him…
I was feeling the emotion right from the start of the book. By page 2, I already wanted to cry. The first scene of the book, which was also the scene of their first kiss/goodbye when Leo got adopted just made my heart HURT even though I barely knew them… definitely one of the most beautifully written first kisses ever!!
“I’m going to kiss you now, Evie, and when I do, it’s going to mean that you’re mine. I don’t care how far away we are from each other. You. Are. Mine. I’ll wait for you. And I want you to wait for me. Promise me…”
If that quote doesn’t make you want to read the book, I don’t know what will! From that line on, I was hooked! ♥
I loved the writing. It drew you right into the story and I felt totally connected to everything that happened. It was fast paced without being rushed and flowed very smoothly. It slowed down in the important parts of the scene but I loved that the story was constantly moving forward and adding more pieces to the puzzle.
It was told in back and forth flashbacks and present day…. but with the way the story was woven, it left me unable to put it down. I alternated between heart clenching during the flashbacks and swooning over the present day parts.
I have to say though that I read with a complete mixture of swoon and suspicion. I *knew* something was up, I just KNEW it but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I had theories and it kept me guessing….
And so when the big reveal happened, I had to read it twice. The first time was just in shock (call me naive but I did not see it coming!) and I just got these huge chills and shivers and had to stop and go back and read that page again and then I just started to cry. Oh. My. God…. incredible scene!!!!
I just looooved the twist! It explained and connected everything perfectly! But then… hmmm once the full explanation came out, I had to think a little about how that made me feel about the character. But the more I read, the more understanding I became. It didn’t make what happened okay in my eyes, but people make mistakes and they mess up. Nobody is perfect. And if they get to a point where you kind of have to choose to accept them or not and there was no doubt in my eyes that I wanted to accept.
I also wanted to add in that, despite the fact that this story is told from Evie’s POV, the author has an awesome way of describing the male characters in these little subtle ways (narrowing of the eyes, clenching of the jaw, raking a hand through the hair… ) that just added extra yum to them and I found myself reading a lot with a little half smile on my face.
I’d classify this book somewhere between New Adult and Adult, maybe closer to adult. There is certainly steam and there are several hot hot hot scenes that are rather descriptive so that’s what’s leaning me towards Adult. That being said, I thought the steam was very well done because the story took the time to FIRST develop the connection with the characters so that by the time they got into bed, you were feeling emotionally connected to them.
The ending is fully resolved and very swoony. No cliffhanger, guys!!!
And, as a bonus, we get an absolutely gorgeous epilogue. Seriously, bless the hearts of every author who writes an epilogue. If I could hug them all, I would. That extra piece to the story just adds that last little bit that puts your heart to rest about the future of the characters you’ve fallen in love with. And this epilogue was particularly heart melting – it was the perfect conclusion to their story.
Overall, LEO is a beautiful, well-written, swoony and emotional read with steam, a bit of mystery and a happy ending ♥
“I can’t make the fire go away,” she had seemed to say. “I can’t guarantee you won’t get burned. But… I can remain steady and strong, because I believe in you. Because you are mine.”
I’d highly recommend it and am adding it to my list of Best Books of 2013.
4.5 – 5 stars.
- I actually LOVE the book covers so I’m going to use them below in the casting.