Sometimes you are just looking for a little bit of romance – that flutter in your stomach and zing between your legs kind of feeling. (Sorry, not sorry.) Anyways, I was totally feeling those feelings with the onset of spring and the warmer weather (finally). Plus, I’ve read a couple heavier books recently and needed a little break. Enter bookstagram, where a recommendation from someone who had just finished this made it sound like the perfect book for my current reading needs. Conveniently enough, it was available at the library. Boom. Done.
“I never got to fall out of love. I just had to move on.”
Our love story here is between Macy and Elliot, who met in middle school and did the entire adorable childhood sweethearts bit. This is made even cuter by the fact that Elliot is a total word nerd and they spend a lot of time together reading. Be still my heart (and “o hey, nostalgia”). Anyways, they’re pretty much meant for each other, but then something happens (no spoilers!) and eleven years go by before they run into to each other at a coffee shop one morning. They’re both in relationships, and both have crafted their own lives without each other, but is that enough to make them happy…?
I don’t read a lot of romance, and when I do it’s usually more paranormal than contemporary, so I don’t have too much to compare this story to. But for me, I thought it was amazing! I mean, the story itself might be a little too perfect, but isn’t that what you’re looking for when you pick up a romance? That destiny, meant to be, sort of feel is what I wanted and it’s exactly what I got. But I also got so much more! The writing was superb – smooth and sexy without being overly dripping in it (pun? Intended). The slow burn build-up, to both the big reveal of what broke between Macy and Elliot in high school and whether or not they can overcome that to make their love happen in the present, is paced to perfection. You get just enough, hints at the heartbreak and tidbits of heat, as you go to keep you engaged and dying for more – wonderful page-turner-esque handling of that. Also, that the story was told in back and forth time periods – alternating between their youth together and their current day interactions – really allowed you to understand their connection, watch and feel it grow as they grew up. And since it was told in two age ranges, the mix of YA first love and adult love was great for me – I do love YA, but I’m pretty much an adult now I think, so getting to experience both lifetimes in one book was super satisfying. Honestly, I was just really invested in Macy and Elliot (by the way, I love those names) and loved their chemistry. So good.
In addition to all that, this story had some really wonderful additional themes about family and love and loss. Be warned, there are definitely a few small spots that will make you tear up, especially if you have ever lost a close family member. It’s so absolutely sad, but the reality makes the love story that much deeper.
“I didn’t like where this was heading. This was heading to admissions, and admissions changed things. Admissions made feelings intensify simply because they are given space to breathe. Admissions lead to love, and admitting love is like tying yourself to a train track.”
Also, some mental/emotional themes are explored that I really appreciated. Macy’s hesitancy to get into a “real” relationship with Elliot, her fears of losing a friend that she desperately needs if something goes wrong with it, are completely relatable. Her preferences for a “safe” and “easy” relationship because she had already experienced heartbreak and couldn’t (didn’t want to risk) dealing with more is so human and understandable that it’s almost just as painful to read as it was for her to live it. The “stay in my comfort zone” vs “take a risk” motif is strong here, across time, and the writing of Macy’s mental and emotional states as she works through this as an adolescent and again as an adult (along with some compounding issues that we learn of in our final reveal) are developed beautifully.
If you are looking for a light contemporary romance, one with some deeper themes but that will still leave you feeling a little breathless and totally “heart eyes” at the end, than I completely recommend this book.