Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
This book was NOTHING like I expected it to be. I think because I wanted a simple, sweet as sugar kind of book, this novel threw me for a loop. It is not simple, nor is it sweet as sugar. The character I referred to earlier that I thought I was feeling very similar to is April. April and Oliver were best friends growing up. They had a complicated relationship and a strange connection to each other because of family. April has it hard from pretty much the beginning. Her mother dies early on, her father doesn't know how to raise her, she starts bartending at a bar at 14. The only things sacred to her are Oliver and her brother Buddy and her grandmother Nana. As the book progresses we see the deterioration of not only April and Oliver's relationship but of April herself. She is consumed by the death of her brother and all the wrongs she has done in her life. She is stuck on the wrong kind of men, the wrong kind of addictions and the kind of self-loathing that does nothing good for one's mental state. Oliver has this need to save her, even though he is engaged to a beautiful, smart women, there is a part of him that can't erase the history between him and April.
I loved this book for several reasons. It isn't pretty. It isn't flowery or romantic or sweet. Its dirty, messy and hits you over the head with lots of depressing things. But at the same time, you realize that you're "real" life could never be as bad as some of the characters in the book. April reminds me a lot of myself in good and bad ways. She is a strong, sufficient, loving woman but she is very troubled, lost and confused. She wants so badly to believe she deserves to be treated with respect and care but there is a part of her that thinks because of her past, she only deserves the type of treatment shes gotten in the past. During some of the book, I was literally screaming out loud at some of the stupid things she would do. I wanted to pull her in close to me, hug her, wipe away her tears and tell her that it was going to be okay. I wanted to yell at Oliver and ask him why he couldnt see the obvious, why he couldnt just admit his true feelings and act accordingly. But alas, these are fictional characters. Only real in the reader's mind. How I wish they were real sometimes.
I recommend this book but on conditions. If you want to feel slightly depressed, this is a good book, lol. If you want to get emotionally involved in the characters, this is your book. If you want a simple, cookie-cutter YA romance novel- this is NOT your book. Just sayin.