Goodreads Review: Everly After by Rebecca Paula

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I managed to finish three books, all of them for NetGalley. Of the three, this one was probably my favorite. It reads like a romantic indie film, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. It’s a little bit darker than most of the romances I read, and it draws attention to mental illnesses like depression and PTSD. It’s not erotic, but the writing is sensual. 

Everly AfterEverly After by Rebecca Paula

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for a review.

This novel was not what I was expecting. I expected a light contemporary romance. What I got was something darker and sadder than I’d been prepared for. In truth, I think the romance aspect took a backseat to a story of a man and women dealing with different mental illnesses and how those illnesses came into play during their relationship.

The writing was really good, and the word that springs to mind is “sensual.” The author uses every sense to describe what’s going on. Because of the detail she puts into these scenes, the story moves slow enough to indulge the reader, but for the most part, it was paced well. At times, the writing and the scenes were also gritty, with just enough detail to paint a dark, sad picture without going overboard into detail, another writing technique that I enjoy.

The characters are flawed, at times likable and at other times really annoying. I thought Everly’s character was slightly cliched at first, as the broken party girl who shows a quirky side when she’s sober. Later, she made me angry in her choices to pull away from Beckett and to keep returning to the party life. However, my reaction to them has no bearing on the fact that they were still realistic. I liked that there was some expression of their mental illnesses and how it affected them and those around them. Those parts felt especially real and were very poignant.

Towards the end, the pacing seemed to change a bit and things seemed to drag. I felt that some of the end scenes were a little scattered, and though I think their purpose was to draw attention to the relationship Everly had with her parents, some of those could have been taken out.

That was a fairly minor detail, though, in what was otherwise a good book. Even though it wasn’t a feel good novel, it was still enjoyable and ended on a note of hope and optimism. I think the author is a solid writer, and I’d like to read more novels by her in the future.

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