on April 10th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
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Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).
The story of the heart can never be unwritten.
Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.
But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother...only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.
Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.
Happy sigh. This book was everything I hoped it would be! It had so much heart but also heartbreak, angst, great friendship, and a slow burn to die for!
The story is told in alternating chapters of the present and also years ago when the main characters were only teens. We work our way through discovering their friendship, how it led to more, and what all went wrong just as in the present they are trying to reconnect after years apart. I have to say, I adored their friendship so much and it is a huge part of this story. They were these cute tweens/teens that really hit it off from the moment Macy’s father bought the home away from home and they became sometimes neighbors. Since they didn’t go to school together or even see each other all that much, they had this life outside of each other but then together there was this perfect little bubble where they could be themselves completely with each other, often spending their time reading in her library closet and talking about their favorite words. They had a strong connection and didn’t shy away from talking about personal things, even when embarrassing. I was dying for them to get together! The sexual tension really builds but they, mostly Macy, are afraid to act on it and risk anything happening to their friendship. Macy is somewhat afraid of getting close to people after losing her mother so Elliot’s friendship is very important to her. So the slow burn with this one is very real!
Back in the present time, it is eleven years since Macy and Elliot last saw each other. We are aware things ended badly but the reasons why are revealed very slowly as we catch up in the chapters exploring the past. Macy is currently in a relationship but it’s one more of convenience for her and seeing Elliot again dredges up all those past feelings making her realize that perhaps it isn’t as perfect for her as she thought. Again, I was so anxious for these two to be together! They have a serious connection to each other and it cannot be denied no matter what age.
Besides the relationship being a huge highlight of the novel, I loved how complex the characters were, especially our Macy. She is struggling in certain ways with the loss of her mother and friendships/relationships are hard for her. She was someone I felt deeply for and who really touched my heart. And oh man, Elliot is just the sweetest boy and man, no matter what time frame we are in. Is he flawed and does he make mistakes? Sure, but I still loved how he loved Macy and how patient yet unwavering he was in that love.
This novel truly has everything I could ask for in a romance – strong characters, friendship, angst, and a slow burn that melts you from the inside out. This is absolutely one to check out if you haven’t done so already!