Live young. Live hard. Love deep.
Charley Redford was just an ordinary girl until Jake Caplin moved to her small town in Indiana and convinced her she was extraordinary. Almost from day one Jake pulled Charley into the deep and promised he was right there with her. But when a tragic incident darkened Jake’s life he waded out into the shallows and left Charley behind.
Almost four years later Charley thinks she’s moved on. That is until she takes a study year abroad in Edinburgh and bumps into none other than Jake Caplin at a party with his new girlfriend. The bad-boy-turned-good attempts to convince Charley to forgive him, and as her best friend starts spending time with Jake’s, Charley calls a truce, only to find herself tumbling back into a friendship with him.
As they grow closer, the spark between them flares and begins playing havoc with their lives and relationships. When jealousy and longing rear their destructive heads, Charley and Jake struggle to come to grips with what they mean to one another.
And even if they work it out, there is no guarantee Charley will ever trust Jake to lead her back into the deep…
4.5 stars — Another book devoured! I was a little bit leery going into this book, b/c while I enjoyed myself reading Ms. Young’s paranormal series, they didn’t blow me out of the water like I was expecting (and they had some reoccurring pitfalls that didn’t work for me). But I know her Adult Contemporary series is highly acclaimed, and since I had this little NA contemp gem on my kindle already, I thought I would give it a go and see if she could surprise me.
And seriously folks, it was like I was reading a different author for me. I was completely enraptured by the characters, and totally engaged with the story. Charley may just be one of my favourite kinds of heroines — while extremely vulnerable and generally f’d up from her past, she is still one hilarious and sassy smartass. I LOVED her character traits and I thought she was portrayed beautifully. The banter between Charley and Jake (mostly in the past flashbacks) had me just in delight — right from their first meeting at the bonfire. Now *that* is chemistry. I LOVE when two characters just seem to fit together and you can see what draws them to each other.
I think in the end I was actually more drawn to the flashback story than I was to the present story, and wouldn’t have minded even more of that…maybe it was more what I was in the mood for. I just loved the buildup of their relationship and how they almost made it together despite so many obstacles. In the present…well they’re both kind of f’d up, kwim? The past has really done a number on them, particularly Charley, and so watching her deal with her feelings could be kind of heartbreaking. Actually no, not just Charley — Jake is just such a different guy in so many ways. He’s almost meek. And while they are still so drawn to each other, it was hard to watch what they were doing by allowing themselves to spend time together despite how unhealthy it was. In the end I found I was somewhat less engaged with that part, and it kind of dragged out a bit longer than I was anticipating… So while I’m interested in where the story is going in the sequel, I’m not sure it will be able to top all that young love magic that we got in the flashbacks in this book.
I also found it really weird how Charley saw Jake as a “bad boy”. Was that because of the sleeping around? B/C he really wasn’t much of a bad boy otherwise. That kind of confused me.
Great cast of secondary characters in this one. They were all so colourful, and I really enjoyed some of the other friendships that Charley developed, particularly with Lowe. That boy needs a HEA. I’m on the fence with the Claudia/Beck storyline. While I’m interested, it’s also been drawn out longer than I was expecting. I do love Claudia and Charley’s friendship though, and really love how they are there for each other.
Even if the sequel doesn’t live up to this one, I’m so glad I finally found where Ms. Young’s strengths lie…well, at least more match up with me anyways. I will definitely have to bug my Partner in Crime to borrow On Dublin Street and find out what all the fuss is about with that series. 🙂