E-galley received from netgalley for review.
This is one of the most recent titles I got approved for on Netgalley. I read it straightaway because I knew it was just my genre. And I enjoyed it a lot. It reminded me a bit of Simone Elekeles' Perfect Chemistry series, in a way.
Echo Emerson used to be a popular girl who dated a basketball player. Now she's a loner with freaky scars on her arms, and can't remember how that happened. Plus, her Marine brother died in Afghanistan and she misses him terribly.
Noah Hutchins is the bad boy in a leather jacket, smoking hot, engaging only in one-night stands. He's in foster care after his parents died in the fire of their home. His younger brothers are living with a different family who wishes to adopt them, but he wants to raise them himself. In a few months, after graduation, he'll be eighteen and filing for custody.
Echo and Noah are brought together when their school therapist assigns Echo as Noah's tutor. They develop a relationship that looks so wrong on many levels, but feels so right. The attraction between them won't go away. How far can they push the limits? Can Echo learn to love again?
First of all, let me tell you this is a long book. It's slightly more than 400 pages. And you can feel it, while reading it, that it is a long book, but notin a bad way. It's like the author had to cram in the whole story about Noah and Echo, so that it could be a stand-alone book and not a series (and this I appreciate very much). On the final page of the book, there's an ad for a second book in the series focusing on Beth, Noah's foster sister. But more on that later.
I feel it's the characters, more than the events, that make this novel. I mostly felt for Echo. She has a crappy name; her brother died; her former babysitter is now her stepmother; and she can't see her real mother, because she's under a restraining order. That's much to take in. Plus, her father is more than a little overbearing, and she can't remember the accident that made her a "freak". It's not a wonder she almost cracks under the pressure.
Noah I could also sympathize with. He had to go through a lot with various foster families, most of them abusive, until he meets one who actually leaves him alone, which suits him just fine. He sees himself as this guardian-type figure for his brothers, who are both much younger than him, and thinks that their foster family is abusing them. They're not. Thankfully, at the end he realizes that taking care of two young boys would be a full-time job and he wouldn't be able to do it on his own, at eighteen, just fresh of high school.
I liked the hints about Beth which set up the basis for the next novel in the series. Beth is one tough cookie. I also liked Isaac being in love with her and not saying anything until she figures it out. I would love to see them together. Judging from the first chapter of the next book which came at the end of this galley, though, I guess the main love interest for Beth will be a different guy. Or maybe we'll have a love triangle. Can I have the book now, please? You can't tease me with the promise of another book to come and them make me wait another year, for heaven's sake. Book series, you know I love you, but I also hate you a little for always making me wait and bite my nails.
This is a very good romance book. Totally recommended if you're into love stories between "tormented" teens, and if you're a fan of Simone Elkeles.Cover attraction:
I'm not sure which cover I like more, the US or UK one. Maybe the US one because it features them kissing. I think they used the same models for both covers, which is a plus. The UK cover is more dramatic with Echo's face drawn in orange rather than black. I pictured her hair more on the curly side, though.