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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Caroline & West have broken apart and nothing can bring them back together....except his father's death. After West's father dies, he has a moment of weakness and calls Caroline. Caroline insists on flying to see him and help him through it, despite his demands that she not. Once she arrives, things are awkward and tense at best, but there is still hope. West is so different than he once was, but Caroline can see the old West peeking through when his guard is down. Can they find a way to make it work or is their relationship doomed to failure?
Okay, full disclosure: I haven't read Deeper. I know, me, the obsessive one who must read all the earlier books before starting a random book in a series didn't read the first book. I was trying to get this read before it's release date and I didn't have time to read the first one. Plus, I figured that most NA's work in a way that you don't need to read the first book to understand the second. This, however, is the exception. For all of you out there thinking of following my example, don't. I feel like I missed so much from the first book. I missed the chance to really fall in love with West, because the first half of this book definitely doesn't make me love him. It makes me hate him. It makes me hate him enough that his later redemption wasn't enough for me. I'm sorry dude, but you crossed a line that you can't uncross. Period.
So, obviously, I didn't love our leading man. I didn't even like him. I wanted to punch him in the face. I don't know if I would have disliked him as much if I had read the first one where he obviously rescues Caroline and is all sweet and shit, but I guess I'll never know now. Caroline, on the other hand, was a mixed reaction. There were times I liked her and times I didn't. I liked that she wanted to be there for West, even when he didn't want her too. I didn't like how she forgave him. I'm sorry, but I don't see how you can, not after what he did. I did like how she stood up to her father. I didn't like that it was yet another rich, entitled girl story. It's getting a bit old. I get that part of the point of the first book must have been that money can't solve all problems, but it sure makes her comfortable while it tries. Why are all stories either rich or poor? Either Daddy's got more money than he could possibly spend or they grew up starving because Daddy ran off and Mommy's too high on drugs to care enough to work for food. Where is the middle class? Or better yet, where is the upper lower class? Because isn't that where most people fall? They get enough money to get by, but not enough to go crazy? Or enough to live paycheck to paycheck, but not enough to cover disasters? GRH. Rant over.
Things get better once they get West out of Silt, but as I've said, that just wasn't enough for me. He was an asshole with a capital A. Watching him try to make the new arrangement with his sister work was almost enough to get me to like him, almost. But it wasn't enough. Add to that the fact that his and Caroline's relationship felt so focused on sex that little else mattered and I was all up in ranting mode again. Don't get me wrong, they go through plenty of other issues, but they are focused on how much their bodies missed each other. Seriously? Golf clap for you because you enjoy fucking, but there are other things in this world. There are other aspects to a relationship.
All in all, this novel just irked me. I enjoyed parts of it and raged at others. I think part of it is because I never read Deeper, but I think this would have still irked me if I had. Maybe on a lower level because I would be more understanding of the characters or maybe on a higher level because I would expect more out of these characters, but it's really a moot point. It just felt a bit too much like a generic NA novel. Follow the formula, make it work. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. Maybe you'll see something in it that I didn't, but it just wasn't the amazing thing I was expecting it to be.
****Thank you to Bantam for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****