Rating within series: N/A
Individual rating: 4.3/5
Series rating: N/A
I received an advance reader copy from Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
“Some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best, and then there are those remarkably rare, addictive ones who just bring out the most. Of everything. They make you feel so alive that you’d follow them straight into hell, just to keep getting your fix.”
— Karen Marie Moning, Shadowfever
Tessa O’Connell is a girl as ordinary as they come-or so she thinks. Her aim for senior year is to keep her head down yet somehow manage to convince her childhood love Jay Stone to love her back. What she isn’t prepared for is for Jay’s brother, Cole to return to town and change the life she’s always been seemingly content to live. Tall, gorgeous as all hell and a bad boy with ocean blue eyes and the perfect edge of adorability, he was her greatest tormentor, her number one enemy.But the guy that’s come back is like no one Tessa’s ever come across. He challenges her, he tests her limits, he forces her to bring out the girl she’s long ago buried under a veil of mediocrity and most of all he compels her to consider that perhaps the boy that infuriates her to the point of no return might just her guardian angel.
Warning: The story comes with a bad boy notorious for making you swoon, inducing hysterical laughter and making you question whether you could purchase a clone on ebay
I am so unbelievably shell shocked at this book that I don’t even know what to do. I’ve been sitting here for the past five minutes trying to make sense out of what I just read. After digesting the characters, the plot, and the point of the story, I am upset with the outcome (not because the book was terrible). Before I delve into my frustrations with the story, I want to go over the main way it is set up. I enjoyed the POV, I enjoyed Tessa (for the most part), and I loved the characters. The thing I didn’t care for about the writing was the fact that we wouldn’t know how much time had passed inbetween chapters. Sometimes it would just start up randomly and I’d have no idea what was going on. Other than that, there were a few grammar issues and punctuation issues, but nothing major or unmanageable.
Moving onto the characters, I found myself thinking about the book “Bully” by Penelope Douglas right away. I enjoyed that story a bit more. This book was extremely long and unfortunately, there wasn’t much point to quite a bit of it. Tessa annoyed me at times because of her obsession with Cole and Jay. She based her entire existence and happiness on needing to be with one of them, and when she was shattered she had nothing left to go back to. Cole was borderline abusive, especially when we get near the end of the book, it began to show even more, and in my opinion they were fighting way too much to ever be happy. I also didn’t like that he bullied her because he liked her, and for really ridiculous reasons as well.
There was a lot of things going on in this book. We had Tessa’s dysfunctional family, alcoholic brother, both of her friend’s dysfunctional families, their relationships, Tessa’s drama with both Cole and Jay, and her issues with Nicole. It was almost laughable how insane I felt after reading this, and I couldn’t believe I kept up with it so well.
Moving onto the positive aspects of the book, I felt that Holden really encapsulated what it is like to be enamored by a boy at that age. Near the end, she was able to sum up exactly how it feels to have your heart broken, as well. When Tessa’s heart broke, mine shattered with hers. I felt everything she felt and it felt fresh and new like I was feeling it for the first time.
“This is what it feels like to get your heart broken and smashed, right? If it is, then why do people even bother falling in love?”
While Cole and Tessa did have a borderline abusive relationship, I actually really enjoyed how sweet he was to her. I liked their relationship a lot when it was good, and I thought they were perfect until they fought. Holden was able to hit on teenage romance well, in my opinion, because that’s exactly what my relationship was like at that age.
Whatever you think, good or bad, we have to remember that this is telling a story, and although we may not agree with or like Tessa’s actions, this is the reality for many young girls. It is meant to be a ‘bad boy’ book, yes, but I believe there is also some learning to go with it as well. I enjoyed the book as a whole, and I would definitely read the rest of the series to see what happens.
Publisher: Trident Media Group
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Genre: Romance, Teens & YA
Author: Blair Holden