Blurb: I wasn’t always in love with Colton Calloway; I was in love with his younger brother, Kyle, first. Kyle was my first one true love, my first in every way. Then, one stormy August night, he died, and the person I was died with him.
Colton didn’t teach me how to live. He didn’t heal the pain. He didn’t make it okay. He taught me how to hurt, how to not be okay, and, eventually, how to let go.
Nell Hawthorne is in love with her life-long best friend, Kyle Calloway. Things are great, and they’re in love, young, full of promise. Then Kyle dies in a tragic accident and Nell is forever changed. She meets Kyle’s older brother Colton at the funeral, and there’s a spark, but it’s wrong and they both know it. The moment passes, and they both move on with life. A couple years later, they meet again in New York City, and Colton realizes that Nell has never really gotten over Kyle’s death, and seems to be harboring a deeply rooted pain, something like guilt, perhaps. He knows he shouldn’t get involved, but he can’t help himself. Trust doesn’t come easily for either of them, and they both have demons, Colton especially. Together, they learn the purpose of pain and the meaning of healing, and the importance of forgiveness.
Review: The first 1/3 of this book focuses on Kyle and Nell’s relationship, which really kind of falls more into the young adult genre in the beginning. I came close to putting it down as I’m really not much of a fan of books that fall into that age range with their characters. I’m really glad I stuck with it though, because this really isn’t a YA book at all.
This book has all the things that I really love in a great romance, solid characters that are not perfect but work through and with their imperfections, a relationship where both side are equal and balance each other out and support each other. I absolutely fell in love with Colton. He is this guy who has been through hell, but is has this great big compassionate heart. Nell is just as messed up and caring. I love that they don’t expect to fix each other or that the other person should fix them. They care about each other as they come, scars and ghosts and all. It is beautiful.
The only reason this didn’t the full 5 star rating for me was because, even though it was necessary to understand the rest of the story and Nell’s background, I wasn’t a fan of the early part of the book. As a 40 something adult, I outgrew the thought that bumbling, awkward, first time teen sex was cute and interesting a long time ago and I really don’t want to read about it. I loved the rest of the story, but I could have done with a whole lot less of giggly teeny bopper parts.