Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.
Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.
But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.
This book was honestly so surprising for me. I’m not a huge fan of New Adult; I just never seem to be able to relate to the characters or even feel much for their situations.
However, from the very beginning I was captured by Kacey’s story and situation. Her story starts off with her and her little sister settling in in Miami, where they’re going to have a “fresh start”. I really loved Kacey from the beginning because she had such a hard outer shell, but you could see how the big accident really affected her. She kick boxes to get a grip on her emotions, uses sarcasm and dry humor on the daily, and isn’t afraid to be unflinchingly honest. Many people have called Kacey annoying, but she wasn’t like that to me at all. I think that after going through a car accident where your mom, dad, boyfriend, and best friend die, you’re allowed to have a bit of an attitude. I thought Kacey was portrayed realistically, and I loved how her character was flawed; it made her all the more real.
I think this book is really great in the characters department. It also features an amazing side character is the form of Storm, the beautiful Barbie-like neighbor of Kacey. At first you’d think Storm is another trope, but she immediately becomes one of my favorite side characters. The author gave her a depth and perspective that for some reason I was not expecting (maybe because I’m always accustomed to seeing tropes in books about beautiful, busty, blondes).
With the appearance of Trent, you know that there’s going to be a romance, but I actually loved the chemistry between them. Their relationship is hot and cold sometimes, as Kacey’s trying to battle her PTSD, and Trent wants her to get help. When they have romantic moments though, it’s either really steamy or really cute. Their relationship takes time to develop, despite the instant lust and attraction, and I loved seeing them skirt around each other as Kacey kept pushing him away, and Trent’s attitude put wedges in between them.
“Give me your heart, Kacey. I’ll take everything that comes with it.”
I’ve got to admit though, I saw the twist coming a mile away. In a way, I’m glad for it because I mentally prepared myself for it, so at least that didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the book. However, this big reveal is more than just a plot twist; it’s the turning point in the book where Kacey has to finally come to terms with the accident, and whether or not she’s really moved on. I think it was wonderful how this book put a lot of emphasis on looking for help, especially with something as delicate as PTSD. I think it was what made me enjoy the book so much more.
To be honest, this book really restored my faith in the New Adult genre. I had heard amazing things about K.A. Tucker’s books, but I was always afraid to take the plunge because I thought her books would be too “dramatic” for me. Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t put this book down! It was spectacularly written, extremely addicting, and all kinds of intense. Kacey’s journey was beautiful with the message that one had to find inner peace with themselves before anything else, and I’m really glad to have read this book.