She used to be perky, fun, and full of life—everything I hated about girls and their bullshit exterior. People called her bubbly; I called her “fake-as-hell.”
The edgy, dark, lonely girl in front of me was not the Olivia Brennan I knew from high school—far from it, actually. I knew the story—the whole town knew the story, we witnessed it all. It happened in the blink of an eye and the girl we knew was gone.
But I refuse to watch it anymore—I can’t stand it. I’m going to fix it—fix her. It’s time I showed Olivia her way back…Back to the girl she used to be.
***First reaction*** So, I read the sample last night, got sucked in, slept on it and then decided to buy it this morning...that was a good four hours ago and now I’m sitting here, pretending I didn’t all teary and shit while devouring the book (Thank God for waterproof eyeliner and the fact I don’t wear mascara on my bottom lashes anymore) and grinning like a fool at that ending.
I didn’t expect this book to grab me by the throat and toss me down the rabbit hole the way that it did. I didn’t expect the tears that came with it and I sure as shit didn’t expect to be doing a re-read of it as soon as I finished it. But it all happened because the characters and the story just got under my skin and I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the end. Twice. (Okay, maybe more but I’m sticking to twice for now.)
I don’t get teary often, but I did when it came to Olivia and the hell she went through, and that was before finding out exactly what happened the night she lost her friends. We meet her at her lowest point and watch as she pulls herself up and finds the strength of will to live as she works through the survivor’s guilt that is weighing heavily on her shoulders. She does get a lot of help along the way, some of it from very surprising sources, but the fact that she accepts it shows that she knows she can’t do it on her own, though she may not always want to admit it...at least right away. I loved that she was a blend of sweet and snarky, especially since the snark wasn’t something she let out before, and that she stood up for herself, but knew when to just go with the flow because sometimes the effort just wasn’t worth it.
Cameron. He’s one of those characters I wanted to hug while smacking upside the head. He could be a major asshat, but then he’d do something sweet and caring and the irritation that had been building would slowly start to ebb. His life hasn’t been easy and he unfortunately did stupid things based on assumptions and simply being an angry teenager. The reason behind it all doesn’t excuse his behavior, but I understood it and when the truth finally smacked him upside the head he pulled up his big boy pants and took responsibility for his actions.
Cameron and Olivia’s relationship falls totally under the whole enemies to lovers/there is a thin line between love and hate trope. Cameron bullied her to no end in high school and Olivia took it, and the reason she did was interesting, but she doesn’t take it now that she’s in college. Olivia goes through a few transformations in the book and one of them is that she now fights back and that’s what truly catches Cameron’s attention and basically kicks him into gear to help her heal. The road isn’t easy since there is so much baggage between them, but they work through it and I enjoyed being a spectator as they went from enemies to friends to lovers.
But as much as I adored Cameron and Olivia, I loved their friends just as much. Brax, Dekker, Sebastian and Alexa were so much fun and when you get right down to it, if it weren’t for them things would have been that much rockier for Cam and Olivia. They showed in so many ways what true friendship meant as they supported, pushed and nagged when necessary to help get Cam and Olivia through the issues that plagued them. And while I loved them all, my favorite is Alexa. She was just a bundle of energy and I loved how clearly she saw what was going on between Cam and Olivia and never the fact that Cam was her brother cloud her opinions.
I know it’s redundant for me to say that I found the writing engaging and liked how the story flowed, but I did. It brought out all the feels and while I did pick up on a few editing issues, they didn’t take away from the story at all. I also liked the fact that while the characters are at the high end of YA and the low end of the NA age spectrum they tended to be more mature than not. They still got into all the crazy that college kids do and had their own freakouts, but it wasn’t over the top. The ending of the book did have me grinning, but then I got a little worried because it looks like Cam and Liv got a HFN, not an HEA which after all they went through, they really do deserve. But as I reviewed the story in my head I realized that there were some issues that were left open, so I’m preparing myself for what may come and trust that Cam and Liv, with the help of their friends get the HEA they so badly deserve.
The Bottom Line: Loved the book and can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!
I was born and raised in Wisconsin and still live here today with my two sons and puppy. (Though one day soon I hope to move to southern California!)
I’m an avid reader who gets inspired by reading the stories from my favorite authors as well as listening to various types of music. I am a huge fan of music, chocolate, fruit, desserts, autumn, M. Shadows, Avenged Sevenfold, and Milo Ventimiglia.
Through my books, I am proudly creating new Avenged Sevenfold and Milo Ventimiglia fans one reader at a time.
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“The best part of being an author, to me, is being able to take the reader to that one place they long to go when they need to escape reality. Knowing I can do that, for even one reader, makes what I do worthwhile.” ~ Anne Mercier