Thursday, June 12, 2014

Boys Like You by Juliana Stone

The Basics:
Boys Like You by Juliana Stone
Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

Similar tragedies uniting hero and heroine is such a New Adult thing right now, I was curious to see how it'd play out with younger protagonists.


If I hadn't fallen asleep.
If I hadn't gotten behind the wheel.
If I hadn't made a mistake .

For Monroe Blackwell, one small mistake has torn her family apart-leaving her empty and broken. There's a hole in her heart that nothing can fill. That no one can fill. And a summer in Louisiana with her grandma isn't going to change that…

Nathan Everets knows heartache firsthand when a car accident leaves his best friend in a coma. And it's all his fault. He should be the one lying in the hospital. The one who will never play guitar again. He doesn't deserve forgiveness, and a court-appointed job at the Blackwell B&B isn't going to change that…

There's No Going Back

Captivating and hopeful, this achingly poignant novel brings together two lost souls struggling with grief and guilt-looking for acceptance, so they can find forgiveness.

My thoughts:

There's plenty of tragedy to go around in Boys Like You. Both Monroe and Nathan are steeped deep in it. Monroe's is a little more distant, but she's been bogged down by the weight of it all, allowing herself to check out on life. Her parents have sent Monroe to spend the summer with her grandmother, hoping for... any change, really. Nathan's only three months removed from his big mistake and everyday he's faced with the ongoing consequences of it.

I had mixed feelings about the heaviness of this book. I really felt for Monroe and Nathan and everyone else who was affected but at the same time, there was barely any relief from it. The attraction between Monroe and Nathan was in part because they recognized the brokenness of the other and that resonated.

I'm not saying that there should have been some light and fluffy sections - the subject material is too serious for anything that might seem like flippancy. I just... I don't know. I guess this seemed like the kind of book I could have cried all the way through, and I didn't... and I don't know why other than that there wasn't *enough* contrasting moments. *Note the use of enough rather than any. Because there are some, yes, and I cherished them!

So here's something weird. I think the B&B component of the blurb could have really had an impact on the story. Revolving door of guests, some who want to help, some who are just curious, some who turn their noses up at 'the help' being so wrapped up in their own lives. There was plenty of opportunity here to expand out the story. But instead, if the blurb didn't say B&B, I would never have known it. I didn't feel it as a lack in the story, but possibly it would have provided some relief?

In the end, Nathan is hot, Monroe is sassy and together they have a lot of chemistry and a lot painful memories and moments to work through. I think this book is going to appeal to a lot of fans of this *type* of book - I haven't read John Green, but it's his books that come to mind when I think about the sort of... YA trauma/romance subgenre.

Bottom line:

Sad, very sad, and a little uplifting. I liked this book, I just didn't fall for it quite as much as I expected to. I recommend it, because I suspect this will be a real tearjerker for other readers.

3.5 stars
For fans of YA trauma/romance, John Green books(maybe?), guitar players

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