“I’ll love you forever. Even when I can’t.”
When Auburn Mason Reed returns to Dallas after the loss of her first love, she’s desperate for work – anything to get her rent paid so that she can stay in this city that she hates, this city so far from home, this city that she refuses to leave. When she walks right past the art studio with its HELP WANTED sign, she says it’s luck; when she realizes the artist shares her middle name, he says it’s fate. Just one evening with Owen Mason Gentry, and both of their lives are sent into a tailspin full of delight and regret, lies and confessions, heartache and a shot at love – and all of it comes at a price.
Where do I even begin with this book? Aughhhhh! I put off writing this review for two weeks, all because I couldn’t quite figure out words for how it made me feel. This was my first CoHo read, and I’ll be honest – it had been on my shelf for a few months, but the only reason I picked it up when I did, was because I’d heard it was being made into a TV show, and I wanted to read the book before watching the trailer (or the show itself). That said, I could barely stand to put this book down. I wanted to stay up all night reading it from cover to cover (and would have, if adult responsibilities hadn’t stood in the way).
Colleen Hoover has such a flair for drama. I honestly don’t know how much I can say about this book without spoiling the entire thing, because I’ve never read a contemporary book with so many twists. It felt like I couldn’t go 50 pages without hitting another gasp-inducing scene or finding out a new truth that changed my entire view on the situation and the characters alike. The book opens with a prologue that explains Auburn’s boyfriend and first love is terminally ill, and the next thing you know, we’re being swept into her modern life, she’s five years old, and the reader is left with so many questions – why is she in this city if she hates it so much? Who are the people she has to work so hard to impress? Why does Owen need help so fast, and what kind of 21-year-old artist can afford to pay his cashier $100 an hour? None of it makes sense!
… Until it does. As you read on, each twist and turn of the labyrinth brings you closer and closer to this devastatingly sad and purely enraging heart of the plot, where you can’t help but find yourself aching for these characters and desperately rooting for them to find happy endings. Colleen Hoover writes such amazing, beautiful characters who have been dealt such bizarre and unfortunate hands in their lives, and then she spins this web that is thoroughly enrapturing and altogether lovely.
I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I raged, and by the end of the book, I could only say that I eagerly await my next chance to let Colleen Hoover suck me into the world of her imagination, because this book was delightful and I would recommend it to anyone, whether they are a typical contemporary reader or not.
WARNINGS: This book does contain some short scenes of abuse (physical and sexual), so proceed at your own risk.