I seem to have fallen into a kick of reading romance novels that have a dark aspect and/or mystery to them. I’m not complaining, but one of these days I’m going to need to find something super lighthearted to balance this all out.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A music star goes home when he finds out his best friend from high school is in a coma despite the fact that the town holds bad memories for him. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
Embracing Those Repressed Memories
Nolan is shocked when one of his friends calls to tell him that his best friend and the girl he was in love with for years is in a coma, having been attacked in a shady section of their hometown. Even though Nolan hasn’t been home in five years and hasn’t talked to Hailey (the one in the coma) in all that time, he goes back to see her, even though he knows that doing so could trigger memories of the night his father killed his mom and sister.
One Way to Masochist
Hailey never confessed her own feelings to Nolan, but she was hurt when he left without keeping in touch. Yet she seems to accept his reasons and tries to enjoy the fact that he is back and she gets to spend at least a little time with him. She “knows” he doesn’t return her feelings and that he’ll be going back to L.A. soon, so she tries to guard herself against feeling that hurt all over again.
Everyone’s Taking Crazy Pills
Part of their time together includes trying to solve the mystery of who attacked her and put her into a coma. She can’t remember anything from the attack or the few days leading up to it. Other weird things happen, and I kind of liked that you never know which things relate to her attack and which things just sort of happen. Fair warning: between Nolan’s past and Hailey’s attack, this story contains some dark themes. It kind of feels like a small town story, but for a small town, a lot of crazy stuff happens (the town is probably actually a city and I just read it wrong).
The Fame Life
Another wrench is thrown into their reunion when the media gets ahold of their relationship and Nolan’s fans start threatening Hailey for stealing him from his fake media girlfriend. The paparazzi also get their hands on the info regarding Nolan’s past, and things kind of get nutty from there. Stupid media.
I enjoyed the trope of best friends who love each other but are too afraid to tell each other the truth. It’s one of those angsty things that could be solved with a little communication, but I can relate to the fear of telling a friend you have feelings for them and potentially ruining the relationship, which is the situation that Nolan and Hailey find themselves in.
Stage Names Are Real
I understood most of what was going on with Nolan’s rock star status, but it seemed weird that when his real name came out that it turned into a thing. A lot of celebs have a real name they don’t use and it tends not to be a huge deal. While I can buy it was kind of an issue where his bandmates were concerned, it seems weird that it wasn’t just presented to the general public that he’d chosen a different stage name.
The Romance Factor
The romance is strong for me because I love this type of story (best friends to lovers). I thought the parts where they were together were epically sweet and it was sad when Nolan left to go back to L.A. I had one of those reader moments when I was like “Dude, are you really going to be that stupid?” The question wasn’t so much as to why he was going back to L.A. (he had a career he enjoyed and all that), but why he didn’t ask Hailey to go with him. 4/5
The Steam Factor
Steamy, but not frequent. The sexy times were titillating, though they still had the melancholy feel of the rest of the story. 4/5
This was not a happy cheery story by any means, but I still enjoyed it. Good writing and the emotions from the characters came through strong, which is always a win for me.