How do you review a book you can't say anything about? Where every single thing is a spoiler and you don't want to ruin the experience for anyone by saying too much? Because, seriously, I went into The Lonely knowing next to nothing… and I'm very glad. It was a wild, emotional, topsy-turvy ride and I couldn't put it down and I didn't want it to stop! I stayed up till nearly two in the morning to finish this and it was completely worth the lack of sleep.
So. What to say, what to say…
Our wonderful, quirky and emotionally damaged heroine is Emalyn Spicer. When the story opens, she's moving into her dorm with her best friend Michelle. New school, new state, and (she hopes) a new Emalyn. Which would be easy enough for the average girl, but Emalyn is anything but average. She suffers from a near-crippling OCD. Things must be neat, they must be clean. It's simply a way for her to cope with the stress, the… fears from her past. Cleaning. Disinfecting. There's no such thing as mental bleach but there is hand sanitizer and Lysol.
Emalyn also comes with a mysterious benefactor, who Michelle lovingly refers to as Mr. Uncle Daddy Weirdo. Her benefactor cares for her, protects her. Guides her. Shelters her. Pays for everything--and I do mean everything. He only requires she keep in constant contact with him via texts and regular phone calls. Not a bad deal for an orphan who previously had no one in her corner. And even though her benefactor is a tad controlling and, yeah, he can come across insensitive at times… He captivated me. Enthralled me. I had a major crush on the voice at the other end of the line. The whole time I wanted Emalyn to meet him, find out who he is, why he's doing what he's doing. (Okay, yes, and fall in love. I am a hardcore romantic after all.)
Also there to protect and care for her is Michelle, who is pretty much a sister to Emalyn. Michelle tries to gently nudge her. Help her grow and turn over a new leaf. Gets her to occasionally do things outside of her comfort zone and is also there to help her cope if it goes too far outside of her comfort zone. I adored Michelle. She's an awesome friend and I loved the way the two girls interacted and leaned on each other. I love seeing strong female friendships and this was the epitome of a great friendship.
Michelle and Emalyn's new college life doesn't go quite as they had planned or hoped though. The ever-present wall in Emalyn's mind, the barrier shielding her from a past she can't and doesn't want to remember, is starting to show cracks. And, when her past becomes her present… again… Emalyn is forced to confront all of the darkest parts inside of her. Also known as the lonely.
The Lonely is amazing. Such a surprise. The mystery, never knowing where the story was going, what would happen next, why things were happening… Miz Brown has written a powerful and provocative story here. Don't miss this book. Especially if you're a fan of dark romances (ala C.J. Robert's Dark Duets series), where the heroines and heroes are beautifully broken. Where you see all of their cracks and imperfections. And, because of those imperfections, they are dark and delightfully depraved.
The hero of this book (who I refuse to name because it's a spoiler, in my opinion) is oh so delightfully depraved. The man gives me the shivers. I am so beyond happy we get more of him in the next book, a companion novel, The Lost Boy. Bring on the paddles and the blindfolds!
The silence isn’t awkward anymore. It’s full of sexual tension. He grabs my hand and places it over his beating heart and holds it there. It’s like he’s giving it to me maybe. I pull off my shirt and do the same with his hand over my sports bra. My gesture might not mean the same to him but it means a lot to me.
Thoughts While Reading: