Who We Were...
Two awkward teenagers - the loner and the nerd, trying to find our place in the world. Paired in wood shop, we knew nothing of each other, except that we wanted to know everything. Then one life altering moment changed it all and we were left with shattered dreams and broken hearts.
Who We Are...
Two grown men - braver and smarter than we used to be, trying to heal the damage from that irrevocable moment. Even though the past was behind us, dead and buried long ago, we found it impossible to move on without ripping open the scars of our deep wounds.
With twelve years of unanswered questions fueling our desperate need for the truth, we must figure out if who we were will destroy who we are.
There was a lot about this story that I really liked, but I had a few problems with it, too.
In the first parts of the story, I adored both Ryan and Quinn. Ryan had been badly-treated by his family for his entire life, but he had hope of escaping his crappy life, difficult after high school. And Quinn was smitten with Ryan and wanted to make him his own, supporting Ryan in whatever way possible.
Then Ryan started running away. Like move a whole buncha states away "running". Then he ran away again. And yet again.
Aaaaand that got kind of old, pretty damn quick.
I kept thinking that there has to be some very good reason behind Ryan's (extreme) propensity to bolt, but when "The Big Secret" was finally revealed, it was a huge, "Wait, whut? *THATt's* the reason why???" moment for me.
Yes, I got that "The Big Secret" wasn't something pleasant, but in *my* opinion, it wasn't the earth-shattering event that would result in Ryan repeatedly pulling his best imitation of a greyhound, knowingly leaving Quinn devastated in his wake every damn time, so that reasoning felt slightly contrived to me.
I did like how Ryan took the bull by the horns and finally dealt with his crappy past, but I've gotta admit, by that point in the story, I'd written his name in permanent ink on my "People Who Suck" list. Right along with Ryan's physically and verbally abusive brother, Patrick.
So even when Ryan eventually made his grand gesture and stopped hurting Quinn, he was still the recipient of my side-eye, since Quinn had never been anything but amazing and supportive, and Ryan kept putting Quinn through the wringer over and over again for his trouble.
Also, some of the dialogue felt kinda-sorta M/F to me, coming across as a bit unrealistic for every-day people to actually say.
“Please let me have you like no one else has.”Layman's translation: "Can I take your butt cherry?" ;- )
“Everything I am or ever will be is yours.”
Which, speaking of steam, it was fine, but if I'm remembering correctly, Collins' other story that I've read (and adored), "As I Am", had more frequent and intense bedroom scenes.
I did 'mostly' enjoy the story, but I'm no fan of fuckery and, sweet baby Jesus, when Ryan kept reaching for his Nike's to pull yet another runner, I was neither entertained nor amused.
I'd rate the story at around 3.5 stars, but my rating is slightly lower than that of other reviewers, so be sure and check out their reviews, too.
Maybe some of the things that bothered me were just that. Me.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author for a fair, unbiased review.
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