Welcome back to the place that aims to bring you a bookish delight every day of the week….Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we’re playing host to a blog tour courtesy of the fab folks over at Tribute Books (Hi Nicole!) as they celebrate another addition to their ever growing Young Adult ebook repertoire. When I first read about the book, I couldn’t help but wonder just how “intense” the story might be….I mean even the synopsis gives you a little peek at the emotional ride you’re embarking on. After having read the story, let me just say that “ride” is an understatement…it’s more of an emotional inferno. Without further ado, allow me to introduce today’s bloggy guest and book of choice…
"...You’re a girl, he says, and are probably seeing things that aren’t there. .."
Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He's her soul mate. He's more uptight every day, but it's not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she's adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he'll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long.
Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He's the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she's playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.
Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both.
Yes, you read that right. Bruises. Now there’s a song on Train’s new album with the same title (which is different, but rocks just the same), but it simply means the bumps and bruises that we gather throughout our lives, as in experiences shared and lessons learned….they’re not talking about actual black-to-blue-to-purple-to-yellow splotches on our skin from those that “love” us. This book…is.
I’ll just say it. THIS…was a hard book to read. Now don’t get me wrong, I was glued to the pages and would certainly recommend it the world over (to older teens through adults due to obvious content) but the actual events at times had me wanting to dive into the pages. As a friend…for when a good ear and a shoulder to lean on are the best medicine. As a wake up call…when people weren’t cluing in to what was transpiring (more on that in a minute). As a protector…for when things got seriously too intense and knowing what’s best for yourself is hard to admit until you hear it from someone else.
As hard as it was to read at times, it was THAT much harder to break away. The emotions run HIGH in this story of young love as we look at all that it can be all that we hope it to be and sometimes the harsh reality of things. The connection the author establishes between Ronnie and Shawn is in a word….intense; in all the right AND wrong ways. He’s her first love and may be her first for everything else as well, but people change and enter dark times in their lives that sometimes, they just don’t know how to deal with regardless of their age. This young man is seeing something he doesn’t want to see in his home life and all the pent of frustration and aggravation is just bubbling over without an appropriate outlet to be released. Is that an excuse for any of his behavior that follows? Heck-to-the-no!
Before things turned sour, it was already apparent, to those outside of his love-filled gaze, that things weren’t all peaches and cream. He was intense, but in a very possessive way. He controlled almost all aspects of Ronnie’s life from what she wore to who she hung out with to where she went, even if her agreement to such conditions only began on a subconscious level to keep things easy going…it still doesn’t make it right. Even in times of closeness, he would set the pace…making her feel guilty for saying no. Can you see why he’s not my favorite guy here? *fumes* On the other hand, Ronnie has Luke…
Now Luke is no saint though he would be when compared next to A-number-1-jack-butt up there. He’s had a rough time of things too but he dealt with it. He didn’t harm others to feel better about him self. In truth, his methods were more self destructive but shorter lived and he sought out the helping hands of others to see him through…landing him in his current situation of best friend to Ronnie and somewhat of a player with the ladies. He’s easy on the eyes and gentle on the heart, despite the fact that yes, he’s had multiple girlfriends but they’ve never lasted nor were they given expectations that it would be forever…for him, there’s only one girl to fill the role opposite his “Romeo”. Guess who? Yep…our own Juliet aka Ronnie…
Ronnie, the girl of the hour with a heart of gold and a head…filled with well-intentioned dreams and feelings but fresh out of reality. She’s a smart girl, a strong girl (much more so than she realizes) with a fine future ahead and the ability to do anything she wants if she can just get over this HUGE hurdle she’s obviously blind to. The first time things were “off” should have been a wake up call…I understand he felt like her forever but as the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me.” Forgive and forget? Maybe…but when it happens again….and again…and…see where I’m going with this? The poor girl is in a tizzy trying to balance all aspects of her life….she’s just a teenager!
There shouldn’t BE all these balancing acts going on especially when it’s to keep someone pacified. Love is SUPPOSE to be intense. Love is SUPPOSE to filled with highs and sometimes lows (hey, live isn’t perfect?)….BUT….love is also SUPPOSE to be supportive, understanding, nurturing…HEALTHY. It is suppose to bring out the best in both parties to make a fulfilling “whole”, not bring you down to where you’re second guessing everything all the time. I’m sorry, I’ll climb down off my soap box now because as intense as all the hard times are in the book, that’s still not the entire story…
The heart that beats within this story is fierce for all the reasons already mentioned but also all the ones that have not. The exciting flutter of new love, the desire to be with them every chance you get and the hopes for a forever in which you both play a part, it all comes to life between the pages. The first glances, uncovering of new feelings, giggle sessions with friends over both, it adds the sweetness that many readers of this genre (including myself) have come to love. Whether it’s a walk down memory lane for you or a written version of a shared dream, the smile it brings to your face is hard to ignore…and a welcome respite to an otherwise grey day. Now, a few more tidbits of interest I felt needed mentioning….
Some stories simply leave you wondering where they came up with the title, but not so with this one. I love how it’s worked into the story both as an explanation for Ronnie’s approach to life courtesy of Dad’s wisdom and as the string to tie things together in the end. Speaking of parents, Dad is a superstar in this one while Mom is more clueless than Alicia Silverstone in the movie baring the same name as her mental state. It’s not often you see that…sort of a role reversal. Makes sense to some degree as Dad is a shrink but he’s not one of those over sharing types; he’s more open and let things come out as they will with gentle prodding. In light of the circumstances, you can’t help but wish he prodded just a smidge more but as far as adults were concerned, he was by far the most perceptive. Last but not least, the selection of “Romeo and Juliet” as the school play was a fantastic choice not only because well…it’s Shakespeare…but because their story is so fitting for the players within the production. Let’s just say that the some parties may be a bit more immersed in their roles than anticipated…
In summary, an intensely emotional story that while published as fiction, may hit home for some readers. It may be hard to digest at times but should be and needs to be shared for all the joy it brings and the awareness it spreads. No one should feel alone to the point that they rule out all options of a better life. A bad relationship is just that, a bad relationship. It may feel like it would be the end of the earth if it were to end, but it isn’t and there are people in your life as well as organizations that will understand and give you the help you need to break free and become the “you” you were meant to be. A read I’d recommend for older teens and beyond for all the reasons mentioned here and more. (Oh come on….you didn’t want me to KEEP going on, now did you?)
About the author...
grew up in Wasilla, Alaska
. She graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in political science and French, which she used to teach math to middle schoolers.
After living in Washington
and Las Vegas
, she now resides in Alaska
with her husband, and two children. Aside from writing, Jolene sews, plays the guitar, sings when forced, and spends as much time outside as possible.
She is also the author of Night Sky
and The Next Door Boys.
[Psst! Take a look at the cover model and the author; are they not a spitting image of each other? If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were related (but I do know better, because I speculated as much and was told…nope, just a coincidence!).]
Ebook for review courtesy of Nicole at Tribute Books. (THANKS!)
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You won’t be sorry.
This ebook was published May 2012 via Tribute Books. Interested in picking up a copy of this story to call your own? Here are a few links to get you started on your quest….
Until next time…happy reading!