I have been a huge fan of Kim Karr's since I first read Connected. I have had my ups and downs with a few of her stories, but overall she is one of my go-to authors. So I couldn't wait to read Toxic when I first heard about it. That being said, I had a lot of issues with this book and unfortunately this was my least favorite of hers to date. I wanted to love this book so much, but it was absolutely exhausting to read.
Phoebe St. Claire has been trying to save her family's legacy by getting their company back on track after her father went to prison. She is engaged to her boyfriend, yet she can't set a date for the wedding and she can't even picture a future together. She can however still remember Him and the summer they spent together. But when Jeremy McQueen reenters her life, she realizes that he isn't the same guy she once knew, and everything is different. Though the connection between Jeremy and Phoebe is still undeniable, things are more complicated than ever. When Phoebe and Jeremy start spending more time together and end up working side by side, things appear to be finally turning around for them. But soon Phoebe and Jeremy both realize that things aren't as they seem and both will be faced with whether they can trust one another, or if it is best to walk away from each other once and for all.
My biggest issue with this book was the characters. As much as I wanted to love both Jeremy and Phoebe (and at times I really did!), they drove me absolutely nuts. I have never seen two characters who were so hot and cold that absolutely couldn't talk to one another! They would say that they needed to talk and leave the past behind them, moving forward with honesty and trust. Yet when it came down to it, they both kept things from one another and didn't say what they should. You would have thought after their past that they would have understood the importance of complete honesty and being open with one another, but apparently that wasn't something these two could figure out. They would both shut down and shut the other out, and it got to be more than I could take. At the end of this book I felt like I had run a marathon just trying to get through the story, and I found myself more frustrated with them than ever. I really thought that these two had a ton of chemistry and when they were together they were good together. But I really think that these two let too many others influence their relationship and I think that they needed to either learn to believe in each other or just move on.
I also felt like this story had a lot going on, and unfortunately at times it felt like too much. It had a Gossip Girl feel to it with the rich and privileged group of friends, and it was at times too much about them and not enough about Jeremy and Phoebe. I found myself wanting to skim the parts that didn't really pertain to anything that was going on with Phoebe and Jeremy, and that was far more often than I would have liked. For me, this book just missed the mark and wasn't what I had been hoping for. I don't really know what happened here, but it wasn't like anything I have read from Kim Karr before. As much as I wanted to love this book, I was forcing myself to get through it to see what happened rather than actually enjoying the story. There was just too much push and pull between the characters, and their relationship lived up to the book's title a little too much for my taste.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**