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An unexpectedly emotional standalone from JLA, but so profound and beautifully written – along with the humor, wit, sweetness and romance that I have come to expect from one of my favourite authors. This is one girl’s journey through heartache, despair, guilt, grief, love and friendship, and is a story that I am sure will touch a lot of hearts.
17-year-old Lena is about to begin her senior year of high school. Apart from her key goal of enjoying her final year and scoring a volleyball scholarship, she’s also dealing with the fact that she’s in love with her neighbour and best friend, Sebastian, and has been for years. Luckily her fantastic group of girlfriends have her back in all things. It’s gearing up to be a great year for her… until everything changes.
How does one just get over that? How does that pain ever lessen, even over the years? …
How do you move on?
All at once, Lena’s life is completely derailed. Everything that she thought she wanted seems completely out of her reach now, and the lives of her and her friends and family will never be the same again, and she has no idea how to move forward.
One night had irrevocably changed all of our lives. One choice had altered the course of what we were all supposed to become.
I don’t want to give the story away, because this is a read that you just need to dive in and experience, but be aware that this is a really emotional read. I thought I was prepared for the feels, but the nature of the story and its emotional impact took be completely by surprise. The subject matter is intense, and its impact is profound, and my heart ached for Lena and all that she went through. It’s the kind of book that makes you think about your past and the choices you made, and it’s the kind of book that I think a lot of teenagers would benefit from reading. Lena’s situation is heartbreaking but it’s completely relatable, and I think that is what makes this such a meaningful story as we watch her battle to reclaim her life and be ok again.
Just because you wanted something so badly to be okay didn’t mean it would be that way.
But there is more to Lena’s journey than heartbreaking intensity and emotion. There’s also a beautiful childhood-friends-to-lovers romance as Sebastian is by her side pushing her forward, and the two of them get to explore the emotion that has been building between them for years. And damn, but that boy turned me into an epic cougar because he is absolutely perfect! Fun, sweet and completely swoony, I just loved him.
“What does waiting do? None of us are promised a tomorrow … We don’t always get a later.” He kissed my temple again, then pulled back, his eyes finding mine. “I’m done living like we do.”
“I love you … I’ve been in love with you for as long as I remember.”
I loved this book. Yes, it was heartbreaking, but there were moments of humour, sweetness and fun and all of the different facets of the story were blended together perfectly. And as always with JLA, her character dynamics were spot on. I laughed along with the hilarious banter, and fell in love with Lena, Sebastian, and their friends. I was fully immersed in Lena’s journey from start to finish, and thought that JLA handled an emotional topic in a respectful, relatable and sensitive way, in a story that was ultimately uplifting. It was really wonderfully done.
I knew I couldn’t go back and start a new beginning. I couldn’t rewrite the middle. All I could do was change tomorrow, as long as I had one.
Beautiful – 4.5 stars.
An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
For more amazing reads by this author, check out our Jennifer L. Armentrout Author Spotlight!