Series: Closer to You #1
Published by Penguin Source: Purchased
Genres: Best Friends Sister, Coming of Age, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Romance
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Aleena Moore is content with her life. She has goals and dreams and an easy smile. She also has a secret she holds locked inside.
Jared Holt believes he doesn’t deserve to love or be loved. He destroys everything he touches. Haunted by the mistake that shattered his life, he’s fled from the memory of that pain.
Jared doesn’t know why he’s compelled to return, but finds himself drawn back to the place where it all began. The exact place where it ended. When he runs into his childhood best friend, Aleena’s older brother Christopher, he agrees to share Christopher and Aleena’s apartment while he looks for a place of his own.
Aleena is no longer the little girl Jared remembers from his past and evokes feelings in him he never wanted to feel again. Terrified of destroying her, he fights to keep her away. But her touch is something he can’t resist—the touch that sealed his fate.
Their pasts are intertwined and their futures uncertain. The only truths they know are the secrets they whisper in the night.
Ah yes, my favorite theme! The best friends little sister theme! Woo hoo! I love this one. I love the whole keeping relationship under wraps, not telling anyone, the kind of forbidden romance of it all. But this is more than just that. For this book, its not just a forbidden romance because the best friend will never go for it, no it’s more like forbidden because Jared doesn’t believe he is worthy of love in any way shape or form.
So normally I talk about the girl first, but in the case I want to talk about Jared first, because for me, Jared was hands down my favorite character. My heart breaks for him and everything he went through, and really how haunted he is by his life. When he is young, like a fresh sixteen years old, something really tragic happens, and Jared blames himself, and frankly so do a lot of other people. I was really shocked at how many people were so okay with taking everything out on a 16 year old kid who had seriously been through a trauma, instead of reaching out and helping him they just cast him aside, making him all the more damaged. By the time he is an adult is he covered in tattoos that outline how unworthy he feels of his life. It’s so sad. When he finally comes home years later, he runs into his childhood best friend who basically demands he come and stay on his couch. And who also lives there, why yes, Aleena, and Jared can’t help but want her. But for Jared, he doesn’t feel like he is worthy, he has such little self worth I honestly think if he caught fire he wouldn’t believe he was worthy of the water it would take to put him out. He tries to be honorable in his eyes and avoid Aleena at all costs, not wanting to ruin her or hurt his relationship with his best friend. But Jared and Aleena seem to be like magnets they just pull each other closer, and it’s so sweet to watch the two of them. But as a character Jared is just plain heartbreaking, but I loved him.
Aleena is a great compliment to Jared. She remember him as a child, as the boy she used to follow around, who defended her. She is so patient and understanding with him, and honestly she is the only person in the world who is able to kind of pierce the epic walls Jared has constructed around himself. I liked how patient Aleena was, and I liked how much of a good hearted person she is. Honestly Aleena doesn’t have much of a story, her life is pretty much together, with the exception of having Jared thrown in the mix. But even so she’s a great character to read.
I really did enjoy this book from beginning to end, I seem to like the damaged hero concept, and Jared really is damaged. The thing that works the best about this book is that after Jared and Aleena start to become closer, Jared actually starts making an effort to be better, and it’s so sweet at times, and heartbreaking at others. If you like yourself a damaged hero this is so the book for you. And be on the lookout for the sequel!