Blurb (from Goodreads):
Alyssa Boyd had big plans. Big plans that included getting the hell out of the little town she’d grown up in with her two best friends. When she decided it was time to let one of them know her true feelings for him; a change of plans resulted in a tragic turn of events. Now, Alyssa is left alone to find her way out of the darkness that an untimely death has left in its wake.
Jesse Vaughn was never good at letting people in. He’d learned a long time ago that it’s easier that way because people leave, or, unfortunately, die. The one person he wanted to let in doesn’t want him anymore. The only problem is he can’t stop thinking about her. Jesse returns to the childhood home he left behind with one goal in mind… to convince her that they should be together.
When Jesse finds Alyssa she’s not the same girl he left behind. She’s wild, reckless and hell-bent on not giving Jesse a second chance. Lucky for Jesse, his stubborn streak has always been a mile-wide and he’s not about to give up on her.
When your life has been shattered can you really pick up all the pieces and move on?
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book as a gift from the author. Thanks to Elizabeth Lee.)
9 months ago, 17-year-old Alyssa lost one of her best friends – Garrett in a car accident, and lost her other best friend Jesse because of it.
Now, Jesse is back, and he wants to tell Alyssa how he really feels about her, but with so much guilt and grief between them, even being in the same room is difficult.
Alyssa is not coping well with her grief, which makes dealing with Jesse, who she feels abandoned her, even more difficult.
Can Alyssa and Jesse finally talk things out though? How far will Alyssa’s rebellious behaviour go? And is there a way for them to be together against the odds?
I really enjoyed this book, it was a beautiful contemporary romance, as well as dealing with a difficult subject such as grief.
Alyssa was a very normal teen, trying to deal with the death of her best friend. She tried medication at her mother’s insistence, she tried hiding away, and she even tried rebelling. I really felt for Alyssa as it was obvious how much she loved Garrett, and how difficult his death was for her.
Jesse was also suffering through his grief over Garrett, and it was unfair how the two of them had been kept apart when they needed each other most.
Alyssa’s scheming mother was a real piece of work. She thought that she knew better than anybody else, especially where Alyssa was concerned, and I hated the way that she manipulated people. I also hated the way she held things against Jesse that were out of his control, and pushed Alyssa to go out with a boy that she thought was suitable, who she didn’t really know at all.
I hoped that Alyssa’s father would step in a little more to smooth things between her and her mother, but that didn’t happen often either unfortunately.
Once again in this book, we had an issue of miscommunication. If Jesse and Alyssa had actually talked to each other properly, instead of allowing other people and other people’s ideas to come between them, things might have worked out differently between them.
The romance between Jesse and Alyssa was a slow, budding sort of romance, and mainly took place in flashbacks of how things were before the accident. I felt really sorry for the pair once I learned the circumstances surrounding Garrett’s accident, and I could totally understand how it came between them. I was desperately hoping all the way through that Jesse and Alyssa would talk to each other, and work things out.
We were treated to some steamier scenes towards the end of this book, and I loved how right Jesse and Alyssa were together. I would probably say that this book is more suitable for an older teen audience because of this, but it wasn’t erotic!
I thought that Alyssa’s grief was well portrayed in this story, and it was interesting to see not only how Alyssa coped with her grief, but how other people around her responded to it – how many wanted to medicate her, how many people wanted her to just get over it, and how few people were happy to just give her time to grieve. I understood both Alyssa’s wanting to take the medication at times, and not wanting to take it at other times. The decision as to whether or not what you’re feeling is healthy, or something that needs to be treated must be a difficult one, especially when nobody else seems to be feeling the way you do.
Overall; a beautiful YA/NA contemporary romance, highly recommended.
8 out of 10.