** 5 out of 5 Emotional/Amazing/Heart-breaking Stars **
**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD**
Following the unexpected death of her father, 18 year old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.
Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21 year old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together and the secret that will keep them apart.
I don't even know where to start with this one. Wow...that's all I can really say. This book grabbed my heart in a vice grip and refuses to let it go. I have avoided this book for awhile because I knew what I was in for. I'm not sure I could even be prepared for the twists and turns that came with it. It's an amazing book. I loved the characters. Lake is strong, not because she wants to be but because she has to be. Will has his own issues but he still tries to put what she needs first. Impossible situations come up and the way they handled things...Wow. Talk about integrity, these two have it in spades. I loved the reading style but the only complaint that I have is wishing I knew what was going on in Will's head throughout the book. I read it straight through and I refused to put it down. This book tears at your heart. It makes you feel things and then it leaves you wanting more. It's one of my new favorite books!
Lake is 18. She moves from Texas to Michigan with her mother and little brother after her father dies. She pretty but young. She's a senior in high school. She's independent, strong and resilient.
Will has olive skin, jet black hair and broad shoulders. He's 21, into slam poetry and is raising his little brother because his parents were killed in a car accident. He is the new neighbor to Lake and her family.
Lake and Will meet within minutes of pulling into the new house. She's acting like a zombie playing with her brother and the kid next door when she comes up on Will. They introduce themselves and there is an instant connection between them. The neighbor kids turns out to be Will's little brother who will become best friends with Kel, Lake's little brother.
From that point on it's constant flirting, a 20 minute ride to the store which is 2 blocks from their houses, cleaning cuts and band-aids, then finally asking her out on a date. I loved the date. He makes her grilled cheese, they play "Would you Rather" , hold hands all night, then he introduces her to slam poetry which he's very into. He does his piece when she begs him too and we learn about his parents. They were killed in a car accident and left him unprepared, broke, and with a little brother to raise when he was 19. He lost his football scholarship, his girlfriend and his life when he moved home to raise his brother. They spend a long time saying goodbye with extremely hot kisses and smiles. Things are perfect. They are really into each other and they both know it's more than just an attraction.
Then the bomb drops...
She begins her first day of high school only to come face to face with Will who is wearing a faculty badge and turns out to be her 3rd period poetry teacher. Big problem since teachers can't date their students. He tells her later that if it hadn't been for his little brother he would have resigned the second he realized what is happening. He doesn't take this little nugget well because of the feelings that have developed between them. He talks to her after school and asks her to withdrawal from his class and to stay away from each other. He changes his mind when she attempts to do it and she stays in his class but they avoid each other like the plague. The problem is they live across the street from each other and staying away from the person you are falling for is easier said than done. So they start long and painful months of avoiding each other and slip ups where intense make out sessions occur only for him to kick her out of his house the minute he regains his senses. She does the high school girl thing and tries to make him jealous with another boy which she succeeds in by his reactions. It doesn't take a genius for her new best friend, Eddie, to figure out what's going on. This causes all kinds of drama since he's afraid he'll loose his job.
After one incident with a make out session that ends badly she slams him with her poetry in class in front of everyone and he's not happy. It was hilarious! He's furious and even more so when she accepts a date with a guy right in front of him. She ends up in his room during lunch defending herself. He can't have her and he doesn't want her to wait for him until she graduate but he doesn't want anyone else to have her either. He's driving her to the point of murder.
Then drops bomb number 2...
The reason her mother moved them to Michigan was so she could be close to her doctor. Her mom has lung cancer and has had it since before her father died. It's stage 4 and there is nothing they can do. She's going to die. They aren't broke like she originally thought. Out of her mind with grief she heads to Will's where he holds her in his arms all night in his bed while she cries. The following morning Eddie drags her back home only so she can get details and head back to Will's where she pretty much has a mental break down and he has to put her in the shower to get her to snap out of it. At first she refuses to discuss it until Will makes her see the truth in what she's doing.
She goes to slam poetry one night many weeks later and hears him reading one of his poems in which he's telling everyone in the room that he's in love with her and she runs. A guy from class walks her to her car and forces his mouth on her. The next thing we know is that Will is on top of the guy punching him. We find out that it wasn't out of defense. He had just read that poem that he knew she had heard and then found her kissing some other guy. He was jealous until he realized the next day that the kiss was unwanted. He resigns from his job and takes another but it's still not enough. After an awkward scene at his house she leaves vowing to get over him and she tries. He won't be with her because he's trying to give her time with her mom.
She does a poem a few days later at the same place and he stops her before she can bolt through the doors and then does one of his own. It made me cry. He's telling her that he's putting her first and that they are going to be together. The "I love you's" come next.
The epilogue happens on Christmas morning on their 2nd Christmas together. Her mom has died and she's raising her brother. They still live in 2 separate houses but are together all the time. The book ends with letters to Lake and Kel from their mom giving them advise.
This book was AMAZING! Read it! You will not be disappointed. The ending was a little abrupt but I'm ok with that seeing as how book 2 is waiting on me as soon as I finish my review. I give it 5 stars even though that's not nearly enough! It's hands down one of the best books I have ever read! My hate is off to you Colleen Hoover! Amazing job!
My Will / Layken
“I got schooled this year
A boy that I'm seriously, deeply, madly, incredibly, and undeniably in love with.
And he taught me the most important thing of all...
To put the emphasis
On life .”
“God Layken. How do you do it?
"How do I do what?"
"How do you not fall in love with him?"
"I don't not fall in love with him. I don't not fall in love with him a lot!”
This is book one in a 3 book series. I strongly recommend reading this book first. Reviews to come on the others soon...