This was my first time reading author Melissa Toppen and I can honestly say, it wont be my last. From the very first page, I was hooked and fell hard for not only the characters in this story but the authors writing style. This story is told over a span of years and follows the life of Hope and Alec.
Hope is just like any other teenage girl trying to get through high school and prepare for college. She is focused on her schoolwork and tries to blend into the background. Hope is shy and keeps her head down which is how she meets Alec, when she runs right into him. Shocked by the hot new guy, Hope is instantly drawn to Alec which has never happened to her before. Butterflies erupt in her tummy and he makes her knees go weak. But Alec is one who stands out and when Hope’s best friend Lucy is introduced into the picture, Alec’s attention is suddenly drawn to the bombshell who isn’t afraid to flirt and let her attraction to him be known.
Afraid to speak up and tell Lucy how she feels, Hope internalizes her crush on Alec and steps back as Lucy swoops in and steals him away. Hope can’t blame anyone but herself, even though deep down she knows Alec would never want to be with a girl like her, she can’t help the devastation her truth leaves behind. Guys like Alec don’t date girls like Hope. At least, that’s what she tells herself.
Alec and Hope grow close and share a bond that neither have ever experienced with anyone else. Even though these two have become the best of friends, Alec and Lucy have built a history and the future is fast approaching which means each of them will be going their separate ways.
This is a story of unrequited love but also not. In Hope’s eyes, she has been harboring a crush on Alec since the day she met him and to Hope, Alec will only ever see her as one of his best friends. But what Hope discovers is that sometimes you need to open your heart and speak up for the things you want because the actual truth may not be the same as the one you keep telling yourself.
This was a beautiful story that had my heart in my throat and knots in my stomach. I adored the connection between Hope and Alec and I loved how Alec fought for what he wanted when he finally figured out the truth. Hope was stubborn and didn’t value herself enough to be selfish but at the same time she was also the sweetest person and was taken advantage of for her selfless acts.
Be prepared for the feels. Melissa Toppen delivers an emotional rollercoaster ride full of angst and simmering with chemistry. If you’re looking for a story with depth, this is definitely one that will suck you in.
This book was reviewed for Reviews from the Heart.
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