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Heroine: Lila Summers – Rich girl, Perfect Facade
Hero: Ethan – Bad Boy, Savior
Lila Summers had it all: money, boarding schools, fancy car, expensive clothes, jewelry, and maids. But underneath the money and perfect facade, Lila is very unhappy. Her parents don’t show affection, they’re selfish, and, quite frankly, shitty. They expect Lila to conform to their lifestyle and be perfect in everything she does. Appearances are everything. Sent to boarding school at fourteen, she wanted to be accepted in the popular crowd to please her parents. She was convinced that if she had sex with a young man these snotty girls would initiate her into their click. She misunderstood the intentions of this man and he ended up hurting her. This horrific incident is what started Lila’s downward spiral of self-loathing and recklessness. She became addicted to the pills her mother gave her. Her mom was definitely no mother of the year.
Ethan is from the wrong side of the tracks. Growing up, he watched his father mentally and physically abuse his mother. To keep himself from ever becoming his parents, he set rules for himself. No emotional ties to women. No relationships. Then he meets London, who is emotionally damaged. Ethan is drawn to London. They have a connection. Then, one fateful night, things change in one tragic moment. To this day, he struggles with his guilt, forgiveness, and leaving the past in the past. He covers his pain behind his bad boy persona and random one-night-stands.
"This isn't just about sex. There is so much more to it than that. We have a connection. We have since the day we met." - Ethan
Ethan and Lila met through Micha and Ella in the first book. They form an endearing friendship, where they both understand each other with no judgments. From the outside they look like an odd pair, but on the inside, they are both very much alike. They are both struggling with darkness from their pasts. But Lila continues down her dark path, coping with her emotional baggage through pills and random sex while trashed. She struggles internally with wanting to be loved and feeling worthy enough to be loved. Ethan sees Lila as someone very worthy to be loved and too good for him, which is why he keeps her at arm’s length as his friend.
When he realizes Lila is spinning out of control, his rules start to blur. Ethan is not going to stand aside and watch another person he loves throw their life away. Through tough love and determination, Ethan saves Lila. The one thing they both needed but never expected to find ends up being right in front of them all along. Their friendship that has always had a foreshadowing of sexual tension simmering between them changes from friends to lovers. But they both know before they can move forward together, they must liberate themselves from their pasts that have left them broken souls.
I’m always eager to pick up a Jessica Sorenson book. She writes dark, heartbreaking, raw, realistic, and highly emotional new adult stories. And I’ve wanted Lila and Ethan’s story since book one. I like opposites attract stories and friends-turned-lovers stories. But, sadly, I felt slightly bored with this story. This book has a strong start but then it starts to lull in the middle until the 70% mark. It took too long for the romance to happen between Ethan and Lila. Jessica Sorenson always gives us well developed characters, which I appreciate. She gives us detailed backgrounds of the characters and slowly breaks them down and then builds them back up to be stronger, happier characters. But I feel like some of the story could have been cut out. It was long-winded and the inner turmoil and angst kind of drowned out the romance aspect of the story. Not to mention how repetitive some of the dialogue felt. It was tiresome. I do feel like by the last 30% of the story is when the story finally comes into its own. I like the way the story ends with everything resolved between Ethan and Lila. There is no cliffhanger and there is a happy ending.
Overall, this book is good, but I didn’t love it. Though I do still believe Jessica Sorenson is a gifted writer and I will continue to read future works by her. I’m looking forward to reading The Forever of Ella and Micha.