Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Romance
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A gritty, urban New Adult Cinderella story where the princess can do her own rescuing — she just needs someone to believe in her.
Sister to car thieves, ex-girlfriend to a drug dealer, high school dropout, no-hoper and loser — Jess is on the sidelines, watching her life become one epic fail. Her dreams of university are fading fast, as the people in her life fight to confine her to their own expectations.
Then she meets Sebastien, a gifted cellist from a very different walk of life. Sebastien is clean and strong and talented. He likes and respects her, but he too has expectations. Sebastien seems to think she can do anything, and Jess, despite her fears and the secrets she hides, is starting to believe him.
But just as Jess dares to hope, the secrets in her past and the lies in her present catch up with her. All seems lost and she has to make a choice. Between past and future. Between home and hope. Between now and never. And this is now.
In all truthfulness, I had a hard time deciding if this book was a 3 star or a 4 star, so let’s call this review a 3.5 star review. I have a tendency to love Australian writers, in my experience they tend to be amazing at getting me to bond with their characters, so I always look forward to reading a book written by an Australian. The first thing I noticed about this book though was that it used so much Australian slang and acronyms that I was kind of overwhelmed by it for the first couple of chapters (let’s just say once I worked everything out thanks to google I got over it). I’ve read books written in Australian, U.S., and British English, and I’ve even read some books that are translations into English, and 90% of the time I don’t even notice it because I tend to be pretty go at context clues, but this one I noticed, so I wanted to mention it for all U.S. readers.
That being said, it was a good book. A solid entry into the new adult genre. Jess is a girl from the wrong side of town, she has brothers who break the law for a living, a mother who is basically an out of work drunk who isn’t very much of a mother to Jess, and an ex-boyfriend who still wants her. She has a lot going on at home, and on top of that she works and is going to school so she can get into a university and get all the things she wants in life. The thing about Jess is it’s like she knows there is more to life than the one she has at home, but second guessing herself is so ingrained in her being that she’s always willing to accept the worst possible scenario as being truth. She has a lot of self-doubt, and honestly that was the hardest thing for me to deal with in terms of me liking her as a character.
Sebastian comes from the right side of town, is an amazing cellist, and a supportive family with money to boot. I liked him as a character, he’s not just a good looking, rich, talented guy, he’s also a good guy. He is sweet to Jess, and at times awkward, he has some self-doubt too when it comes to Jess. I liked that he was so supportive of her and her dreams, no matter what they were, just as long as it was something she wanted, then it was what he wanted. I liked that he took things so slow with her, like he wanted to prove to her he was interested in her as a person, not just a quick roll in the sack.
Overall, I liked the book, but I had some issues with it. First, the ending was abrupt. There’s all this build up to where things go wrong, and then they go wrong, time jump forward a few weeks, and then in the space of one chapter and conversation everything is fixed. It didn’t feel authentic. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the vast majority of Jess’s family, although her brother Troy started redeeming himself towards the end. I also thought we spent a little too much time in Jess’s head and not enough time with her interacting with other characters. The book is still a solid new adult book, so I would easily recommend this book to anyone who liked new adult.