His name is Jase Colbertson. He and I used to finish each other’s sentences.”
WOW!! What a stunning book! From the first few pages, I was captivated by the story and I could not put it down even for a minute. It was a unique, intense, all-consuming second chance romance story, and easily one of the very best reading experiences I’ve had all year. I absolutely loved every word and highly recommend it to everyone!
When I look for a new book to read, what I hope for is always something EPIC. Something that takes over my life, something that draws me so deeply into the story that I can’t stop thinking about it and certainly don’t want to ever stop reading. With this book, I found exactly that. After only a few chapters, I immediately cancelled all my plans just so that I could keep reading. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The way the story developed just kept pulling at my heartstrings until every part of me was right there needing to know what happened next and desperate to see how it would end. As as I got closer to that ending, I’ll admit that I was seriously freaking out but then BOOM — I read this one particular line and just totally started SOBBING!!!! Happy tears sobbing!!!! THE FEELS!!! MY HEART WAS RACING!!!! And it was just so beautiful and fulfilling that I was overwhelmed with emotion. This book was truly everything I was searching for.
Now, what’s it about?? Well, here’s the blurb…
When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J. Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. Yet from the very first page, she is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life… That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.
The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?
So really what we had was two parallel storylines — Em’s present day when she discovered this book that so clearly was written by the boy she’d loved and lost, and also the actual story she was reading in that book. As she reads each chapter in his book we get to read it too, allowing us to see and experience the book alongside her and also immediately understand up close and personal exactly how reading this story — their story — was affecting her. I was equally enthralled by the story of their past as I was eager for them to find each other in the present day. My heart raced. My eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. And I just needed to find out what happened next. The past and present storylines were perfectly balanced. And the more I read, the more intense the story got. Especially because we knew that he’d somehow finished their story despite their separation — so what had he written? How had he ended their story?
“Would you ever have thought we’d be like this? Grown-up and wanting nothing more than to be with each other every second of the day?”
“I always knew.”
I laughed. “You’re lying.”
He was impassive. “No. I did. I swear to you. I always knew we would be like this one day. I think you always knew too.”
There was such a feeling of intense longing and desperation for their situation — these two kids from impoverished lives and abusive homes had found something beautiful, binding, and healing in their love for each other. They had such a strong connection to each other that it was heart-breaking to inevitably watch them be torn apart — because given their separation at the beginning of the book, you knew it’s was coming, but then it was equally heart-warming seeing them slowly be pulled back together as the story unfolded. It kept me glued to the page!
I was breathing hard as I lay the book down on my chest, right over my throbbing heart. I remembered that moment when everything started crumbling down around us. There was nothing we could do; we were just a couple of powerless, poor kids, so desperate to find a way to be together…
But I’ll be honest with you, reading this book was definitely one of those situations where my heart was in my throat in the last quarter because I swear it did not seem like there were enough pages left to finish the story and as I hurtled full tilt towards the end, I was so scared that there wouldn’t be time to resolve everything between them. But then IT HAPPENED. A purely cathartic reading experience. You know the kind I’m talking about. It’s rare and precious and with ONE LINE I was crying. Tears pouring down my cheeks from how much I loved it. That line, and everything it represented for the characters, was GOLD. It brought every single thing that had happened in the book up til that point together — with ONE LINE. Seriously just brilliant. I can’t tell you how perfect that moment was.
Renee Carlino truly outdid herself. I’ve read every book she’s written and this one is my favorite. In fact, it’s also one of the best books I’ve read this year! It’s captivating and intriguing, utterly addictive, and filled with the emotional intensity that comes with a heart-wrenchingly powerful love that’s been given a second chance. I absolutely loved it!!
Rating: 5 stars! Standalone romance.