Monday, July 7, 2014

Harder by Robin York

The Basics:
Harder by Robin York
Book Two in the Caroline and West series
Romance, New Adult
Published July 1, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

I loved the first book, and needed to know what happened next

Book Blurb:

In Robin York’s provocative new novel, two young ex-lovers find themselves together again in the shadow of tragedy—and an intense, undeniable attraction. 

Caroline still dreams about West. His warm skin, his taut muscles, his hand sliding down her stomach. Then she wakes up and she’s back to reality: West is gone. And before he left, he broke her heart.

Then, out of the blue, West calls in crisis. A tragedy has hit his family—a family that’s already a fractured mess. Caroline knows what she has to do. Without discussion, without stopping to think, she’s on a plane, flying to his side to support him in any way he needs.

They’re together again, but things are totally different. West looks edgy, angry at the world. Caroline doesn’t fit in. She should be back in Iowa, finalizing her civil suit against the ex-boyfriend who posted their explicit pictures on a revenge porn website. But here she is. Deeply into West, wrapped up in him, in love with him. Still.

They fought the odds once. Losing each other was hard. But finding their way back to each other couldn’t be harder.

My thoughts:

Deeper, the first book in the Caroline and West series, made me cry during the first chapter. Harder took a few more chapters to get me there, but I definitely got there. Robin York goes for the emotional jugular and refuses to let go. This book was tears and happiness and growth.

Caroline and West went through a lot in Deeper. Caroline went through hell as the target of revenge porn, and the rawness of her experience really stuck with me. In Deeper, it's West's turn to figure himself out, to confront his own demons and try to find a way to live that goes beyond simple survival.

This book, like the first, flips back and forth from Caroline's perspective to West's from chapter to chapter. There's sections at the beginning of each chapter that are reflections from the characters that meld into the narrative of their story. One of the things that really struck me about this book is how it reads as not only the next chapter in their story but also as a sort of... primer on how to thrive. There's a lot in this book that has a life lesson-teaching tone to it, and I can't really complain because I feel like these two characters have been put through the wringer and deserve a chance to tell us quite explicitly what they've learned.

Caroline is an incredible character - one that I'd like my daughter to 'meet' when she's old enough to read the book (which is full of course words and explicit sex). She knows who she is, who she wants to be. She knows the value of her relationship with West and what she's willing to put on the line for it. Love her.

West struggles in this book, to unlearn old habits and to let go and let himself accept the possibility of possibilities. I wanted to give him a hug many times over. He's got incredible strength and a sense of responsibility and capacity for love for his sister and for Caroline. He's responsible for all of my heartbreak this time around and he both killed me and filled me with desire to help him.

Bottom line:

I gave up multiple hours of sleep to finish reading this because I could not put it down. I needed to read through to the end of the story. So good. So very, very good.

This is definitely an 'adult' story in terms of language and subject matter, but I think it's also something that young women - young teenagers - should read if they're mature enough for it. Because a lot of the topics here addressed here are things that some of them are going to have to tackle as they grow up, and I think Caroline makes for a fantastic role model.

Strongly recommend.

5 stars
For fans of new adult, romance, emotional stories, heartache, heartbreak, forgiveness, character growth, life lessons

No comments:

Post a Comment