by Colleen Hoover
Simply put, “how does Colleen Hoover do it?!” I’m amazed and completely hooked. I don’t have words to express Hoover’s ability to create characters that absorb you to the point that you do nothing else but read. Seriously. Life stops and I read until the book is finished. Thankfully, I started this one at 9:30 pm and was done a little after midnight. 😉 For future books I’ll just be planning my evening to read them in their entirety. You can’t help yourself, that’s the amazing part. You find yourself fully invested into the characters’ lives and you must find out what happens to them. I can’t give Hoover enough praise.
Spoilers ahead: Fallon is an 18 year old struggling actress. 2 years earlier she was involved in a horrible fire and while she made it out alive, she has horrible scars to show for it. She was on her way to a prosperous career when the accident happened and now is planning to move from L.A. to New York to find work. Benton is an 18 year old college student/aspiring writer struggling with his own hidden scars stemming from losing his mother 2 years earlier. She had terminal cancer and decided to kill herself instead of waiting for the cancer to do it for her. Benton overhears Fallon trying to defend her decision to move to her father and intervenes to stand up for her (her father was being quite cruel). After successfully putting her father into his place, Benton doesn’t want to leave Fallon. They decide to hang out, Fallon shocked that Benton isn’t put off by her scars, and they begin a tortuous, passionate relationship. Though clearly drawn to each other, they decide to put off any serious “getting to know each other” and rather decide to meet every year on the same date (Nov 9) until they are 23 and have had time to live their own lives. Fallon taking her mother’s advice that, “you’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.” Each year is filled with difficulty, but they always meet up and always have the same passionate connection. When they finally turn 23, they run into their hardest obstacle: Benton has kept a horrible secret from Fallon. The night Benton’s mother killed herself, Benton was unable to read her suicide note. Because of this, he misinterpreted her actions, thinking that she killed herself because of a man rejecting her. That man he figured out was non other than Fallon’s father. Benton decided to see what kind of man this was and drove to his house where he observed Fallon’s father getting the call that Benton’s mother was dead. Clearly distraught, but not enough for Benton, Fallon’s father leaves. Benton is furious and decides to set Fallon’s father’s car on fire. Things go wrong and the whole house goes up. What Benton doesn’t realize at the time is that Fallon was staying with her dad that night and was caught in the fire. Benton knew from the start that Fallon’s scars and difficult life were his fault and he wanted to make it up for her by standing up for her to her father and helping give her the confidence to be an actress again. While he successfully does this, because he lies to her, when Fallon finds out she is not sure she can trust him ever again. However, in a beautiful manuscript of Benton’s, Fallon learns his motives and feelings and realizes that he truly loves her and decides to trust and love him in return. I was totally sobbing at the end . . . yes, it was that beautiful (and I cry at everything!).
Summing it up: I highly recommend this book. It was gripping, moving, and completely engrossing . . . block off several hours to read at once!
All the best, Abbey