So, I gobbled this New Adult uber-angsty read in one sitting. There were 3 things I liked a lot and 1 thing that urked me.
What I liked...
1. This author made me believe that an alpha male, Ryan, can still shine through even after being completely bared at his most vulnerable to his heroine, Lili. My goodness, after an initial and pivotal scene, which takes place after the H/H meet, I was already taken by the depth and complexity that could potentially arise, and I'd anticipated it as the rest of the plot unfolded. I was stuck in both Ryan's and Lili's head, voraciously trying to analyze and "experience" their emotions, at the same time. This lent me more of an insight to Lili, but I still felt waves of compassion and frustration for Ryan.
2. Lili is written as a heroine who has one of the most clichéd initiations into adulthood, and a difficult/unique circumstance with which she is dealt[not to mention 3 more challenges to boot!
], but her character comes out in the way that is most natural and gently stoic that I fell in love with Lili myself! In this story, Lili steals the show at times, and I didn't feel pity for her like I did with Ryan. I didn't feel it because her character wouldn't let me or... was it that there wasn't enough of her character because Ryan took up a bulk of the PoV?
It is weird. Even though Ryan was definitely alpha, he was broken, and despite showing that he could be the best of men, he couldn't outshine Lili in the "who's the strongest?" department. In addition, I loved how the author attributed this awesome strength to Lili. It really shows how strong women are.
3. The secondary character, Alex, Ryan's cousin, didn't steal the show, but he offered such delight to some scenes, while being a great extension to Ryan's and Lili's struggle in others. He will get a story, and I hope it is a good one.
One thing that urked me...
So the biggest conflict of the story revolves around Ryan and a thing that happened to him that took away parts of him that he never really recovers. Honestly, the build up to the big reveal was so weighty that when Ryan's confession finally takes place, I was like..."Wait! That's it?" I mean, I knew that it would be about abuse, I expected it, but it wasn't as bad as I had expected it to be. I hate to say that because abuse is abuse, and I am no stranger to all of its nuances.
But really the author strung me along with tidbits and then BAM!; it was sort of anti-climactic. I wasn't necessarily looking for retribution for Ryan, but I felt that the conflict was much bigger than just his secret, much bigger than the tidbit of recognition that reveals the part Alex pays in it and definitely the part that Ryan's own parents had in it. We get one short & volatile interaction between Ryan and his father, but it is not enough. There needed to be more of a serious resolution to Ryan's plight, which had taken some of his masculinity, most of his family, his trust, his confidence and his sanity. Lili wouldn't be enough to fill the void.
Kudos to the author for trying to handle abuse, developmental disorders, teenage pregnancy, abandonment, estrangement, love & hate, and life & death. Surprising, the plot wasn't too disjointed or convoluted as a result, though some transitions are rough. It was an undertaking of depicting issues in life that can certainly all arise from just "a moment".