Jay McLean is a guru of the young adult/new adult tropes, and first loves, nobody does first love with the amount of honesty she bleeds into her characters. The worlds she creates don’t just captivate you, they consume parts of your soul, and when you come to the end, pieces of you are left inside that world.
I truly don’t know where to start this, as a long time reader of Jay’s books, I’m blown away by Jamie and Holden’s story, truly, in awe of what I just experienced.
Jamie had her hands wrapped around my heart in the prologue. Jamie was at a new school for her senior year, but she’s nothing like other students, in maturity, or the weight that sat on her shoulders. She was the essence of strength, even in the moments she didn’t feel it, I felt it in her. She hid behind clothes, sass, and kept her head down in an effort to protect herself from others’ opinions because she had heard it all before, and she wasn’t letting it happen again.
Holden, I was already in love with before I started this as I had met him in Leo, but my emotions weren’t prepared for this Holden. He was angry, and at times, a freaking jackass, but when he put that aside, Holden was a man that loved deeply, wholly, fiercely, and once you had those from him, it was forever. He made me swoon on one page and the next I wanted to kick him in the shin.
To say Holden and Jamie got off on the wrong foot would be a profound understatement. They immediately had fire between them, it started with heated exchanges, and transformed into a back and forth of wit and sarcasm. A friendship of sorts formed, and in one moment it became more, all-consuming in every way.
I’m not sure it was ever a conscious decision, but once I started reading this there was a 0% chance of me stopping until I soaked in every word on the pages. Jaime hasn’t had an easy life, and her strength shines, but her pain will attempt to suffocate you. There were times I paused for a minute to wipe the tears from my eyes, it seemed to teeter between Jamie and Holden’s, seniors in high school, yet, both had the weight of the world on their shoulders.
It was heartbreaking at times they both were dealing with a plethora of things in life that were beyond their control. If only they were the only people in existence their first love would have had a smooth road to happily ever after.