This post contains affiliate links. Disclosure

True disclosure. I almost did not finish this book. There was a point in the book that really triggered me and I am rarely triggered. But it was too much. But I pushed past it and continued.

I’ve read this book at least three times since my initial reading. This is one of my favorites.

I had to cast aside all reasonable and humanly notions of consent, bullying, victimization and abuse.  The things that I find realistic sometimes do not exist in fictional worlds.  Why would I want to read about things that can occur in day-to-day life?  I read books to escape.  

I am learning to find the beauty and the courage of authors who are able to “go there.”  Sam Mariano is one of those authors.  She definitely isn’t doing it for the five-star reviews.  She crafted a well-written story about a very ugly topic.

If you are the type of person that is easily triggered, then this book isn’t for you.  If you understand that though extreme, sometimes there isn’t always a path neatly lined in flowers and hearts to love.  Sometimes is is tightly bound with rope and jagged.

<i>That would never be me…</i> was my even stronger reaction to the main female character (Zoey) reactions to the events. 

As I continued to read the book and all of the pieces fell into place, I fell in love with all of the characters.  I appreciated Zoey’s heart and her innate and selfless ability desire to heal Carter’s scarred heart.   I appreciated Carter for his asshole ways and his ability to wear his heart on his sleeve for Zoey.  He was extremely wise beyond his years and made decisions that I have difficulty making at my old age.

The story chronicles the ebbs and flows of a young love with a rough beginning, a complex middle, and a beautiful ending.  The happily ever after (not a spoiler, come on…you knew), was unexpected and brought a bit of joy to my heart.