“I think you’re beautiful,” I whispered… “And I don’t mean your looks. I mean your smarts, your protectiveness, your brokeness. I think that’s beautiful.”
Ohhh I loved this one!!!! “Love loved” it actually. And yes, that’s a double 😉
This beautiful story was so much more than a romance. It took me by surprise in the best of ways. It was a love story and it was a life story. All kinds of love, all kinds of life. I laughed, I cried and I totally felt it!!
The first thing that drew me to this story was the blurb. My heart was racing from the moment I came across it and I just knew this was a book I had read…
To Whom it May Concern,
It was easy to call us forbidden and harder to call us soulmates. Yet I believed we were both. Forbidden soulmates.
When I arrived to Edgewood, Wisconsin I didn’t plan to find him. I didn’t plan to stumble into Joe’s bar and have Daniel’s music stir up my emotions. I had no clue that his voice would make my hurts forget their own sorrow. I had no idea that my happiness would remember its own bliss.
When I started senior year at my new school, I wasn’t prepared to call him Mr. Daniels, but sometimes life happens at the wrong time for all the right reasons.
Our love story wasn’t only about the physical connection.
It was about family. It was about loss. It was about being alive. It was silly. It was painful. It was mourning. It was laughter.
It was ours.
And for those reasons alone, I would never apologize for loving Mr. Daniels.
So I thought I knew what to expect from this book — a forbidden student-teacher romance, right? — but what I got from this story went above and beyond my every expectation. It surprised me, thrilled me, captivated me. It made me swoon, it made me cry, it made me laugh. It took me on an absolutely unforgettable journey.
“I don’t want to be your friend… I want to be yours, I want you to be mine, and I hate that we can’t be us. Because I think we were meant to be us.”
The main story follows Ashlyn — a 19 year-old student who had just lost her beloved twin sister to cancer. Reeling from the loss, she’s further devastated when her mother sends her to Wisconsin to live with her estranged father and his new family. On the train, she meets a guy — a 22-year-old gorgeous, blue-eyed musician who she later goes to see perform….
“I couldn’t believe that girl deserved to be so sad. I secretly hoped that someday someone could make her smile… I hoped someday she would be all right.”
They have this beautiful, intense connection, this breathless spark between them which is shaken on the day they both walk into class… her as a student, him as her teacher.
“Was I dating my English teacher? Was what we were doing truly unethical? Falling in love? Could falling in love ever be wrong?”
The conflict of their situation gave me butterflies. It was thrilling and heart-wrenching all at the same time. Their relationship was completely forbidden, yet having what they could never indulge in right in front of them each day was just consuming them. I think this was one of my favorite quotes from Daniel that perfectly described what they were going through…
“I hated that I couldn’t tell her how beautiful she looked each and every day. I hated that, when she walked into my classroom, I had to pretend that she wasn’t on my mind…. I hated how close we were but how distant we felt.”
“I loved how beautiful she looked each and every day. I loved that, when she walked into my classroom, she was on my mind…. I loved how distant we were but how close we felt.”
Gosh, how beautiful is that??
But this is about so much more than just a romance. So much more!!!! When Ashlyn moves in with her father’s family, she becomes close with the two teenage children of the woman he was living with. Each of them are so different and yet they’re each hiding pain behind their masks of happiness and despite their differences, they all quickly form a very tight bond. Hailey was a hoot (I loved her!!) but the poor girl was searching for happiness in all the wrong places. And Ryan just made my heart squeeze. I don’t want to say too much but his pain went so deep that even thinking about it now makes me choked up.
“I was lost, but so were they.
There were no maps to be found.
At least I wasn’t walking alone.”
Not only were the siblings Hailey and Ryan a central part of the story, but the author found an absolutely beautiful way to incorporate Ashlyn’s twin, Gabby, into her life even though she wasn’t physically there. More than once, the deeply moving notes she’d left behind brought tears to my eyes and I’d want to stop and read them twice just to re-experience their beauty.
The supporting characters played such a vital role in this book. I really felt like it was as much their story as it was Ashlyn and Daniel’s. Their journeys complimented the story. brought an added depth to it, and left us with some very profound messages that I think will resonate with a lot of people.
I loved the whole emotional spectrum that this book made me experience as the story progressed through first love, sibling bonds, new friendships, healing families, coming of age, finding oneself, living dreams … all of it just came together in a way I couldn’t help but feel deep down in my heart.
“Daniel,” I whispered… “You’re doing it.”
“Bringing me back to life.”
Even just thinking back on the story brings a smile to my face and makes my heart both ache and feel full at the same time. I truly loved it but in the interest of full honesty, I’ll say that it wasn’t perfect for me. As I read, I felt myself fall in love with the story but then there’d be moments (more in the first half of the book) when I’d drift away from my connection a little, only to then be drawn back in … and I did make note of a few things that bothered me while I was reading but now that I’ve finished my read and I’m looking back on it, the only things that stand out to me are the positive things that I loved so I’m just going to say that while this book wasn’t perfect, I still completely loved it and highly recommend it for everyone.
This is the kind of story that stays in your heart long after you’ve finished reading it. Brittainy C. Cherry has written a stunning novel and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next!
Rating: 4.5+ stars. Standalone New Adult Romance.
Recommended for fans of Slammed by Colleen Hoover.