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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Nova is finally managing a bit of normalcy, attending college, dealing with her grief, and fighting the need to obsessively count things when her life gets too stressful. Summer break is upon her, and even though it's been almost a year, she still can't keep Quinton off her mind. How is he? Is he still on drugs? Does he still carry around that sadness that was always hiding in his eyes. She learns he's in Vegas and is hellbound to pull him out of the drug-addled world he is ensnared in. Quinton has moved on to harder drugs chasing that calming silence the high brings. He knows things are getting bad for him and those around him, but he's unworthy of anything better. He deserves to rot him and kill himself one hit at a time. When Nova shows back up, he knows he should stay away from her. He knows that it'd be better for everyone all around if he just refused to see her and let her move on, but he is just too selfish to deny himself this small bit of happiness. Can she convince him to give up the drugs or will his habit get the better of him?
Quinton and Nova are the same characters they were before, just a little more extreme and a little more normal, respectively. They have changed quite a bite since Breaking Nova, but not in unexpected ways, with Quinton becoming more of a junkie than we could have imagined and Nova healing enough to be able to discuss Landon's suicide without breaking down. Beyond that, though, their basic characteristics are the same, with Nova's sweet nature and determination to help those she cares for and Quinton's good guy lurking unwantedly around his head.
We get a great deal more from Quinton here because it's told in alternating perspectives and it makes me sympathize with him even more. Even though I think he's an idiot because that crash was a fucking accident and blaming himself helps no one, but I get the devastation that is associated with being involved in the death of your girlfriend and cousin. The fact that his whole family blames him as well (except Tristan) doesn't help matters. I wanted to fucking punch Tristan's parents for being such assholes. Speaking of Tristan, we get quite a bit more of him. He's a jackass, but it's kinda obvious that it's mostly the drugs. I wanted him to get help as much as I wanted help for Quinton. Does he gets his own story? Please?
I'd really like to see him get a happily ever after.
The thing that really stands out about this particular novel, is that it's not really a romance. I mean, yes, Nova has feelings for Quinton and vice versa, but this is much more about Quinton's struggle with drugs and Nova's struggle to pull him out of it. This novel goes darker than any other, in the sense that we get right in the middle of the bad shit. Quinton's situation is wretched, and knowing that he put himself here makes it that much worse. That this intelligent, caring boy allowed himself to sink so low is so depressing. This novel IS depressing. Nova and Quinton's journey is difficult and terrifying and endlessly saddening. Nova is trying so hard to help him even though he doesn't want it. What makes me love it even more is the realistic ending. I won't give any spoilers, but I felt the ending was very fitting for the story. Things end on a hopeful note, but things don't just magically fix themselves with hugs and love. Drug addiction is a serious problem and kicking that habit is far from easy or simple.
I think this may be Sorensen's greatest achievement yet. Ella & Micha are still my favorite of her couples, but Nova and Quinton's journey is touching on a whole different level. Their story couldn't have been easy to tell and it's obvious a lot of research was put into the subject of drugs and addiction and so on. It's a little off from what I was expecting from her and what is better than being surprised in a positive way? If you are a fan of her previous new adult novels or just want to read something that will make you connect with the character on such a level that their pain is yours and their depression leaves you so sad you don't see how you are going to recover, much less the characters. I highly recommend it to any new adult readers out there.
****Thank you to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****