By: Jessica Sorensen
Published: February 4, 2014 by Grand Central Publishing
Source: Netgalley ARC from publisher (Thanks!)
(Goodreads / Amazon)
Nova Reed can't forget him-Quinton Carter, the boy with the honey-brown eyes who made her realize she deserved more than an empty life. His pain was so similar to her own. But Nova has been coming to terms with her past and healing, while Quinton is out there somewhere, sinking deeper. She's determined to find him and help him . . . before it's too late.MY REVIEW:
Nova has haunted his dreams for nearly a year-but Quinton never thought a sweet, kind person like her would care enough about a person like him. To Quinton, a dark, dangerous life is exactly what he deserves. And Nova has no place in it. But Nova has followed him to Las Vegas, and now he must do whatever it takes to keep her away, to maintain his self-imposed punishment for the unforgivable things he's done. But there's one flaw in his plan: Nova isn't going anywhere . . .
Book 2 picks up months after the end of book 1, Breaking Nova. Nova has managed to get herself in a better place emotionally. She was able to break away from the chains of drug abuse, deal with the suicide of her boyfriend, has started college, is playing her drums again, enjoying art, and living life. But she can't get Quinton out of her head. Knowing there are demons he is fighting and instead of facing them head on he is letting the cloud of drugs fog his emotions, and he's literally drowning in a sea of darkness.
Nova decides to track him down with the hopes of saving him - the way he helped, without really realizing it, to save her. She tracks him down in Vegas and she and her best friend go to try to make a difference. What she arrives to see is nothing like what she left. His circumstance is far, far worse. He is living in a near abandoned apartment building where clearly all things illegal are going on for those who call it "home". He is staying with Tristan, his cousin, and 2 others from book 1 (Dylan and Delilah). The condition of their apartment is beyond nasty. All of them have surpassed smoking weed to much harder drugs and all of them are in way too deep. They are stealing to get cash to buy more drugs, and selling drugs to get cash. It is literally a never ending cycle.
Before I get into my feelings on this book let me say this: I have come to realize that books that deal this heavily in drug abuse are too much for me. It's a personal preference and as such my rating, though not bad, does reflect that.
I found parts of this to be mildly unbelievable. What I mean is that Quinton has been heavy in to drugs for about a year - we know this time frame because it's been 9 months since Nova left the drug scene and consequently, Quinton, whom she spent 3 months with. The summer she spent with him and his friends they were smoking weed. His drug of choice is now crystal meth and his friends are heavy into heroin and some of them mix the drugs. In real life, meth users, especially those who take it as often as he does, go through a rather drastic physical transformation in months, sometimes only a matter of weeks. Their features literally begin to change: sunken cheeks and sunken eyes, blotchy acne ridden skin and sores, extreme weight loss, meth mouth and because of their addiction they rarely eat and rarely shower so they are just going to look overall gross and greasy. Basically the once attractive person looks very close to zombiefied.
Sorensen does a great job of describing what Nova sees when she first sees the side characters Tristan, Dylan and Delilah. Their appearance definitely fits the above image, not every aspect but a lot of them. But when Nova sees Quinton, aside from the shaggy hair, weight loss, rough appearance and loss of defined muscles he once had, nothing else is mentioned. He is badly beaten when she first sees him, so there are cuts, swelling and bruises on his body and face. But it's been 9 months since he's been heavily using meth. In reality, he would look almost unrecognizable to Nova. It's not until much farther in the book, over halfway that Nova's description of Quinton begins to look more like what you would expect of a meth user. And even then, it still falls short of reality to me.
It's not often that I read a book that makes me physically sick to my stomach. I have come to the conclusion that stories that deal with heavy drug abuse, such as Sorensen describes in this book, make me literally queasy. For whatever reason, this was almost "too real" and I was sick from it almost the whole time while reading. I felt extreme hopelessness of Nova trying to do something, anything to help Quinton and finally realizing she can't save him. I was overwhelmed with this feeling of utter desperation for all the characters. This is definitely not a "feel good" type of story. If anything it'll leave you feeling extremely depressed.
It's because of all the downer feelings that led me to my final rating. Don't misunderstand though. I didn't hate this book. 3 stars is an average rating for me, and because I do want to see the end of the story for these guys, I will read the other books.
And I want to do that for him. Help him. Revive him.
This isn't some story or fairy tale where I'll set out on this mission to save someone and after a long, exhausting battle we'll reach our happily ever after.
...he showed me that aside from the drugs, he was a good guy. he didn't take advantage of my drifting, my confusion, my mourning.
"How do you get through to someone who doesn't want you to get to them? How do you save someone who doesn't want to be saved?"
...sometimes taking a break from the complicated stuff is enough to get me through the next step and the next one. One step at a time. One breath at a time. One heartbeat at a time.
Final Rating - 3 stars.
This post is part of the ARC Thursday feature on Words Fueled by Love.