3.75 I-needed-more STARS!!
I highly recommend reading this series from the beginning even though this is a stand-alone. You will miss the backstory that is an underlying current throughout. The characters in this book were much easier to understand having read the other books.
There is so much going on in this book. Addiction. Rehab. Broken souls. Messy friendships. This was a hard book for me to read. Honestly, once I was finished, I still didn’t know where I stood on it. I’m a sucker for happy endings. Although this book ends in, what I’ll call a ‘happy place’, it’s not tied in a bow all nice and neat. That’s not to say I don’t like cliff-hanging books but if this is a stand alone, I don’t want any lingering questions. Especially in a book with many dire circumstances. Two examples are: 1) Most of the problems faced by Spencer and by Olivia stem from their childhoods, but we only get snipits of them and, 2) what the heck happens to the step-sister??!
I did enjoy the characters. Spencer was the quintessential ‘bad-boy’. From his tattoos to his piercings. While in rehab, he pushed away the one woman he’d given his heart to. He pushed away Olivia.
“Help out not, he was never going to be what she wanted him to be. He wasn’t worth the fight, and he couldn’t allow her to waste her life waiting for him when all he had to offer was disappointment.”
He’d rather let her go than hurt her again with disappointment. Spencer not only lost Olivia, by his terms, but also his best friend. He’d ruined all that was good in his life. Spencer never expected that what he thinks he can’t/shouldn’t have is exactly what he might need to continue fighting his addiction.
Olivia was a character that I couldn’t relate to, but she was fascinating to read. The only man who knew all her secrets was Spencer. She visited him religiously only to sit at a table all alone. She was incredibly forgiving and accepting. Had so much compassion. But she also had an addiction. She was heart breaking and gut wrenching to read.
“The terrible ache in her chest was unbearable. Inescapable. Unless…”
Spencer and Olivia were so tightly wound around each other, I found their relationship almost toxic. They each had crosses to bear. Spencer had much to atone for and Olivia was hanging on in denial. But somehow these broken souls find solace in each other. As much as I found the situation between them emotionally unsound, I found it just as beautiful.
“They both had their share of demons. The trick was learning how to live with them.”
This book is deeply emotional and contains triggers to certain addictions/diseases. I applaud this author for including a ‘Note from the Author’ regarding these triggers and citing that help is out there. I’ve read the others in this series and loved them so although it wasn’t my favorite, I would still recommend the series!