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“It was you from the beginning … you were my horizon. Everything I could ever see.”
Stunning, emotional and an epically beautiful love story.
5 HUGE STARS
I read this book in one sitting. It’s now 2.30am and I can’t go to bed until I gush a bit because OMG, this book! The feels! Christine Zolendz has done an amazing job with this story – one based on true events which makes it even more meaningful. Both heartbreaking and tearfully beautiful, I absolutely loved it.
When we meet Charlie she is 24 years old, jaded and living under the tremendous burden of devastating memories from her past. She has been broken by the things that she has been through, but she carries on, and her strength is amazing.
When I look back on all the past chapters of my life, I see all the pain I have endured. I see the mistakes and heartbreak, the horror and loss. But when I stand in front of the mirror now, I see all my scars and the strength I’ve found from them. I see the lessons I have learned about life and the wisdom I’ve gained from each of my experiences. I will be fine.
Charlie’s story is told in both the present and the past, with the story of the past intermingled with the present and unravelling slowly to show us all that happened to Charlie, and how she ended up where she is. She tells us the story of her past – growing up with her two best friends, Jase and Joey. The three of them had something incredibly special together, and the story of them growing up together is absolutely sensational! From sweet and innocent 9 year olds, through the awkward teen years, to senior high school, I loved every funny, sweet, cringe-worthy and heartbreaking moment of their time together as they shared absolutely everything and were there for each other through it all.
Life knocks you down. It’s going to, and you got to just turn around and get back up, hold on to me if you have to, but always get back up. People will just walk all over you if you leave yourself beaten on the ground.
The story is told primarily from Charlie’s perspective, but there are some other POV chapters in there which give the story a whole lot more depth. And as the story flicks back and forth between present and past, threads of the story are revealed, leaving you guessing what is happening and how it all fits together, and the way it’s woven together really draws you in. We are given hints about what is to come, and I read with a great sense of anticipation as it all came together.
And, of course, there is a beautiful love story that is woven through both the past and the present. The beauty, wonder, and all-consuming nature of first love is brilliantly captured, only for it to be torn apart, creating the opportunity for a breath-taking, heart-pounding second chance romance. And with all that the characters go through, their love story takes on epic proportions as they battle against fate and the unfairness of life to find their way back to each other.
“It was always you. Always. There is nothing you can tell me that will make me look at you as anything other than my Charlie.”
“I want my best friend back. I want the best thing that ever happened to me back. And I promise you I will make you fall in love with me all over again. This time, it’ll be the forever kind.”
There are a few storylines overlapping through the book, but don’t go looking for too many details before you make a start because you just need to dive in and experience it. But for those who need to know whether it has a happy ending or not…
And I must warn that it’s not an easy road for these characters and there are some really confronting scenes in this book that some readers may have issues with….I understand why Christine Zolendz told the story the way she did, and as hard as those moments are to read, they convey an incredible depth of emotion, and help you relate to the characters, what they are going through, and the way they react to it all. It’s hard reading at times, and my heart broke over and over for all that these characters endure, but it just makes the happy times that much sweeter.
I am a mad fan of all of Christine Zolendz’s books, and this book is no exception. She is a wonderful storyteller, combining romance and drama with light and funny moments, and she writes the best love stories – hot, passionate, and all-consuming, and she manages to infuse just the right amount of angst into it to make it incredibly intense and have me sitting on the edge of my seat with my hand held to my heart, tears streaming down my face and frantically flipping pages on my kindle.
I absolutely loved this book!
5 huge stars.