Nova Reed used to have dreams-of becoming a famous drummer, of marrying her true love. But all of that was taken away in an instant. Now she's getting by as best she can, though sometimes that means doing things the old Nova would never do. Things that are slowly eating away at her spirit. Every day blends into the next . . . until she meets Quinton Carter. His intense, honey brown eyes instantly draw her in, and he looks just about as broken as she feels inside.
Quinton once got a second chance at life-but he doesn't want it. The tattoos on his chest are a constant reminder of what he's done, what he's lost. He's sworn to never allow happiness into his life . . . but then beautiful, sweet Nova makes him smile. He knows he's too damaged to get close to her, yet she's the only one who can make him feel alive again. Quinton will have to decide: does he deserve to start over? Or should he pay for his past forever?
Last year, Nova Reed lost the love of her life, her best friend since she was thirteen years old. She has spent the past year trying to cope, but barely managing normalcy. From counting everything in sight when she starts to feel panicky, to a depressing morning ritual, she feels lost and has no idea how to get past the memories she is afraid even to fully remember.
“What’s left of me is a hollow shell full of denial and tangled with confusion. I have no idea who I am anymore. I really don’t. And I’m not sure if I want to know or not.”—Nova
She goes back home for the summer, and armed with her trusty cell phone, she sets out to make a video diary of sorts for her TV productions class. The little monologues she doles out for the camera are heart breaking and you feel so bad for her, she is so completely devastated. I think she was intent on suffering the summer away, but her friend Delilah steps in and pushes her to “live” a little. Maybe even a little too much.
Delilah is messed up in her own right. Though she is full of insightful statements for her friend, the girl doesn’t seem to have any self-control or self-respect, and I felt very sorry for her character.
“’I’m a lot different than you, Nova,’ she says, dusting the ash off her skin. ‘Besides, my mom raised me to be a skank, so that’s what I am.’”—Delilah
I am wondering if we might see a little more of her in the next book, or if there will be a Delilah novella….maybe? Either way, her character is a catalyst for the events that take place over the summer.
This brings us to Quinton Carter, who also lost the love of his life last year. The circumstances are completely different as to Nova’s loss, but he can barely function through the cloud of guilt he lives under. He was once a good guy, a nice guy, but the pain he has endured is too much for him and he is now a shell of who he once was. The world through his eyes is so sad, and the level of self-hatred he feels is so severe.
“Because if I do anything else, my life will have purpose, and I deserve to be miserable until my life comes to an end, which is hopefully soon.”—Quinton
Quinton has recently moved in with his cousin and a friend. They live in a not so pretty trailer in a not so nice area, and even more not so good things happen on the inside. He spends most of his time high as a kite, and of course uses sex as a way to block out everything, to stay numb.
“I know it’s wrong. Neither of us really gives a shit about the other. There’s no meaning to it. It’s as pointless as existing and equally as insignificant.”—Quinton
Once he meets Nova, they are drawn to each other. Naturally, as they are both in very bad places, a slightly co-dependent push and pull of emotions ensues. In some ways, I think that subconsciously they are both trying to use but not abuse each other to help ease their pain. You can’t help but want them to succeed in helping each other. Despite how unhealthy it is you want them to work through everything and come out on the other side, healthy and together. You don’ t need to be a shrink to realize this situation is a recipe for disaster and that it can only end badly.
I had no idea what this book was about before I started reading it, but given the author, I suspected I would need some tissues to get me through to the end. I was right. Jessica Sorenson has a way of making her characters’ pain feel real, which of course means you are going to be experiencing it all, and her books are not sweet and fluffy love stories. No, rainbows and puppy-dogs aren’t her forte.
The dual point of views are that of two very damaged people, both of whom are trying to block out memories and feelings associated with the incidents that helped break them. For Nova and Quinton, escapism is the doorway to forgetting, and drugs are the key.
Though this is the first of this series, and the ending was emotional, it wasn’t too cliffy. I didn’t throw the kindle across the room and scream, “Wait, what?!” as I did with a previous book by the same author, but it definitely left me desperate to know what will happen next, and whether Quinton and Nova will find closure and happiness, either together or individually.
Despite the drugs, depression, avoidance, and all kinds of other dark issues present in this novel, there is also some healing, thankfully, which gives hope for the future of at least one of the characters. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and would definitely rate it 4.5 stars.
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessica Sorensen, lives in the snowy mountains of Wyoming. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.