I finished this book over twenty-four house ago and I still can't FULLY express myself properly without making it sound like it's a book you should run from, not to. That's mainly because of the subject matter. In Gwen's words: "I want to write an ending for everyone that is neat but I am not neat. I am not happily-ever-after. I am if I lie, and I am so tired of lying." But still, I find myself wanting to tell you all to trust the journey and the outcome. To just... try something different, and marvel a little how sometimes different can be exactly what you didn't know you needed.
This is probably the most brutally honest story telling I have ever witnessed from an author. At times I felt like it was too much—too raw, too sharp like the glass she talked about, too intimate and too... real— but then I realised that that’s the whole damn point of the book, and my God... I could NOT stop turning those pages. I just couldn’t.
My highlights for this book are insane (which I’m sure you can already see.) I have never been so blown away by so many one-liners before. JR Rogue is, quite obviously, a natural born poet. Even when she isn’t writing poetry, it leaks from her fingertips and bleeds on the paper. I had so many moments of “WTF? How did she think of that perfect, sharp yet beautiful description?”, I was left in awe. Just... awe.
I’m so torn about this as a story because I wanted to shake Gwen so many times, tell her how someone who thinks so beautifully cannot possibly be pitch black. Grey, yeah, but not black. Not like she thought she was. Her self loathing runs hella deep and at times when I thought she wasn’t going to end up with who she ended up with, I wanted to reach into the pages and push her in his direction. He was right for her... but Gwen runs from right, doesn’t she? Not in an amateur dramatic fashion, either. Not in a YA/NA annoying female lead way who can’t decide what she wants one minute to the next. Gwen runs—SPRINTS—because happiness scares her. She’s afraid of being addicted to the high and somehow having to live without it afterwards. She’s scared of an addiction she cannot handle.
I bet more of us relate to that than we would ever admit publicly. That’s one of the reasons I’ve had to give this five stars. One of many reasons. In a Fakebook world this book stands out as refreshing and true.
I will warn you, though... do not go into this lightly. If you’re looking for unicorns and fictitious love, this isn’t for you. But if you think you can handle witnessing real life being bled onto paper, and if you think you can have an open mind without wanting to pick a side or cast one character as the bad guy, throwing them into eternal damnation because “you’d have done things differently”, then I urge you... URGE you to give this a go.
There’s no doubts in my mind that some just won’t get it. But those of us who can relate, those of us who want to bathe in familiarity and darkness for a while, those of us who have struggled, continue to struggle, will struggle in the future... this book is for you. Soak it up. Feel your frustrations along the way. Acknowledge that that time you felt hopeless has been felt by others before, and then join me in applauding JR Rogue for being brave as shit for putting this out there when billions of others never would have dared.
Buy link UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1986097048
Buy link USA: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1986097048