Initial reaction: I think I’ll need a night to meditate on my thoughts on this, but it’s likely to be 1 star. It’s pretty much a tough issues story that isn’t very realistic and has probably two of the most formulaic protagonists I’ve read in the genre. I wish I could say I felt more for it, but the narrative had a lot of problems.
In the aftermath, I can say that I gave my first read from Jessica Sorensen a try with an open mind. It won’t be the last I read from her bibliography because I own two of her other novels and I don’t really have a handle on her style yet. But I’ll admit this was rough. I couldn’t find much value in it beyond the usual formula. New Adult novel where the hero and heroine have problems/tragic pasts, no one says anything about said problems and that further complicates the situation. Hero and heroine meet up in college, add in gay sidekick for spice, hero and heroine have
frequent awkward sex, and then ending cliffhanger: hero does something really stupid and heroine is grief-stricken.
I’ll take this space to explain because there is a bit more to it than that, but it doesn’t handle its themes all that well despite taking on some vital issues. (And the editing in this wasn’t very good to boot, but that’s another issue on top of the major story ones.)
Callie and Kayden both have tragic pasts in the form of abuse at the hands of people in their inner circles. For Callie, it’s sexual abuse, for Kayden, it’s physical. The two suffer in silence and have had their worlds shattered as a result. They know each other loosely because Callie stopped one horrible event from happening by showing up at a party looking to pull her brother out. Fast forward some time later, they meet again in college.
Callie’s a difficult character to like despite her circumstances. She frequently slut shames and her personality is about as interesting as watching paint dry. Kayden’s situation is harsh, but I’ll admit even as I’m reflecting over the experience of reading this, I have a hard time remembering much about him other than his easy dialogues with Callie and the fact that he engages in awkward sex with Callie in his attempt to “heal” her.
I felt numb reading this in spells because it was one dramatic factor after another, leading up to the last part of the book which was a cruel cliffhanger for events. The ending wasn’t even really an ending, more like the point which the book stopped and then you have to read the next part to know what happened.
Suffice to say, I can’t really continue with this series because the characters felt so formulaic, the emotional resonance so contrived that it didn’t do anything for me.
Overall score: 0.5/5 stars