“There are people you meet that you get to know, and then there are people you meet that you already know.”
Synopsis: (taken from Goodreads)
Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.
For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.
The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…
It has taken me a while to actually formulate my opinions on this book. Usually I finish a book and I know if I liked it or not. I usually know what star rating it will get as soon as I close the book, and I know the kind of things I will say about it.
Not with this book!
Let’s start with the problems…
The characters…I didn’t like any of them!
It’s very rare for me to not like even one little side character, but I didn’t! The characters have been through a lot, and that of course affects their decisions and characteristics, and I appreciate their inner conflicts and their questionable decisions. But they just kept making these decisions, and they really began to annoy me. I won’t go into details and spoil anything, but there were so many times I was internally shouting at Auburn to either do something she didn’t, or not do something that she did. And some of the messages in this book put me off a lot. The prologue begins with 15 year old Auburn, saying goodbye to the absolute love of her life, who it is insisted (throughout the book) that she is whole-heartedly, madly, completely in love with. A fifteen year old that in love, I cannot get my head around, and it was an instant block in my connection to her character.
And as for Owen, I don’t think I have wanted to slap a fictional person as much as him. Some of what he said or thought about Auburn, I found a bit disturbing, and really didn’t sit well with me. I think he was supposed to come off as romantic, but I just found him creepy and a little obsessive. I didn’t like that he was still keeping secrets from Auburn even to the end.
I also really didn’t like the ending. I found it completely unsatisfying, and disappointing.
And yet I still enjoyed reading the book!
The artwork, for instance, is beautiful, and such a great addition to the story. As are the confessions. They work into the story so well, and the book would not have reached the level of emotional depth it did, I think, without that artwork and confessions.
I also enjoyed the reading experience of the story. I enjoyed going back to the book in my spare time, and I flew through the pages. Colleen Hoover’s writing is so attention-grabbing, that once I was reading it, I did not want anything else to distract me.
I also liked the themes that were explored. I thought that some very controversial or at least taboo topics were woven into the story very gently and considerately, but with a rawness that I am beginning to see is the key ingredient in CoHo novels.
So how do I rate that? A 3 star middle mark seems most appropriate, but with each part of the book I pick apart it could easily go up or down.
In summary: a good book, with quite a lot of issues, but still an enjoyable read.