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Ratings and Reviews (3 4 star ratings
3 reviews
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    Story will stay with you long after it ends!

    Both Charlie and Trevor's stories have stuck with me long after I first finished this book. It was beautiful seeing their relationship grow and to watch them learn so much about themselves through each other. Plus, the backdrop of Des Moines, Iowa (my hometown!) and all of the wonderful mentions of where they were traipsing around made my heart so happy. I've never read a book set in Des Moines that spoke so much to me. It's seriously a love letter to being young in Des Moines. I thought Stormy did a fantastic job handling the portrayals of mental illness throughout and the characters felt incredibly real because of this intense attention to detail. It never felt like a plot device. Was this book emotionally draining? Yes. Was it worth it? 1000%. Be prepared to laugh, feel all of the goosebumps, and have your heart ripped out then sown back together within the same breath. *I received an advance reader copy in return for an honest review
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    teenage angst, self discovery, and heart-wrenching

    Charlie and Trev - Trev and Charlie - They were childhood best friends that took solace in the safety of togetherness, until he had to move away, and too many forces kept them apart. Charlie: She disappeared and became someone new. She didn't want to, but she simply had to. She had no choice other than to be strong through the worst life can deal someone and learn to stuff her own demons into a quiet place. Put on a pretty face and carry on, she told herself. Go to college and pretend. Hide even. End of story. Trevor: He was the adult when he should have been able to be the child. His music save him and cursed him at the same time. But, it gave him a full ride scholarship at a great school; it gave him a chance to escape. The frat party was the last place he wanted to be, but his roommate insisted. Then as if it was fate - there she was. His Charlie. But, she was Charlotte and oh so dramatically different and changed. What had happened? The question is - can they learn to find themselves and each other again? Will they have the ability weather the storms that rage and threaten to end them. Can they be the people they long to be? Take the time to read Stormy Smith's personally touching novel. It is teenage angst, self discovery, and heart-wrenching mental health awareness all wrapped up in one beautiful piece. It will speak to your heart. It will remind of you how reaching out for help is necessary - NO REQUIRED - especially in the most fragile time of life. Be prepared to laugh, cry, and most of all connect to the perfectly developed characters of a book in a new way.
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    Fantastic characters in a powerful novel...

    I received a free advanced copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion. There is SO much to love about this story, but the highlight for me is most certainly the characters. They were so full of depth, quirky, EXTREMELY lovable, but also with epic flaws that made them feel real (and made you occasionally not like the things they were doing, even as you still loved them). And since characters are a highlight for me, this played a huge part in why I enjoyed this book. Trevor was seriously swoony. He pursued his friendship with Charlie with a single-minded determination that had you cheering for him...most of the time. It was interesting to see a character that put so much thought and care into another human being, but at the expense of himself and sometimes without realizing that a true friendship has the give and take, and to expect someone to let you in, you also have to let them in. So occasionally I would want to smack him into learning that lesson faster...but again, that's where that depth of character and flaws part comes in. He had his own growing and learning to do (and not just because of what was happening in his own life, and the struggles he was dealing with). But he was honestly so sweet and understanding with Charlie, and I loved the way he knew when to push her and when to back off. And he seriously had some of the swooniest lines I've ever heard, I was melting right along with Charlie (and Darcy). Charlie was strangely easy to love as well. Strange because we don't get to hear her thoughts much in the first half, and the way she behaved could be very offputting. But maybe its because you get such a strong hint that something awful has happened to hurt her and force her to put on that mask. And I will admit that I had a strong hint (and I'm not sure why, maybe it was from the first chapter, or I saw something that spoiled it?), of what might have happened. So I was waiting to see inside her mind. I loved the growth her character went through, and the conclusions that she comes to about what she needs. And the chemistry between Charlie and Trev was pretty fantastic...especially friendship wise. They had this amazing flow between them, a banter and a way of interacting that just made me want to know them in real life. And some of the swoony moments between them gave me such freaking butterflies. I will admit to being a little bummed we didn't get more romance. I'm a romance lover, and after some of that build up, I really wanted the payoff to be bigger. Speaking of characters, Sam and Darcy were the sh*t. Seriously. Some of the best secondary characters I've seen in a while, I loved the way they were there in the background, offering support, and going through their own struggles. They were SO fun and offered some of the best advice. I adored them. In the end this book delved into some pretty hard topics, but I felt like it did so with realism and heart. My heart broke for both characters and the struggles both in their past and present. I really thought that their personal developments moved at a real pace. It wasn't something that could be changed overnight, but that took time and a lot of steps. Sometimes I feel like other books rush this, and so it was really refreshing. So why not 5? Some little reasons, and a bigger one that has me a bit baffled. I can't put my finger on why, but I kept avoiding reading this book, even while reading it. I would find other things to do. Was it that I was avoiding the tough topics? Maybe. But I think I might have been a bit bored on occasion, I needed just...something more. Or maybe that there was just SO much that Ms. Smith tried to pack into this one novel, and I felt like one or two things then got shortchanged. In particular I felt like I needed more of a connection with the music. It was supposed to play this large role, but often times I would find it got forgotten and then just brought up here and there. It's hard to explain. I really enjoyed the lyrics that they wrote to one another nearer to the beginning, I thought those were beautiful. I was a little confused on some of the later ones, but I'm kind of dense when it comes to lyrics, so that was probably just me. I felt a bit let down with the ending too. The developments with Charlie's family COMPLETELY threw me, and I couldn't really reconcile the changes. It's not that I didn't expect some development and change, but what we got felt too neat and tidy and unrealistic (at least for me). It sort of felt that way for a few things, like we had this real and gritty book, and then the ending fell flat (the grand gesture left me confused) and a bit rushed. So there's my novella of a review. There were just so many things that I loved about this book, but I just can't shake that other feeling. I hate when I can't articulate (even in my own head) what I'm feeling. I sincerely hope its just a me thing, b/c this book has so much power and love to share.
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