I went back and forth about my rating for this book. I was somewhere in between a 3 and a 4 but in the end, it wound up being a 3. Let me just start by saying that I don't really read new or young adult books. This is really somewhere in between a new adult and young adult book. The main characters are in college but the Hero, Josh, is older. Josh was in the military for several years before going to college on the GI bill. Abby, the main female character is an average college age student in her very very early 20s. I don't normally read about characters this young and I worked really hard to be fair about my rating because their particular brand of drama usually turns readers like me way off. The reason why this book was still relatively high up on my rating scale is because of the quality of the writing.
The language used in this book was superior and the story telling was really good. The relationship between Josh and Abby develops slowly over a lot of pages. That can go either way on you. If the writer is good, that can be a very good thing. If the writer is less talented, it can get downright tedious. In this case, the writer was good and at the end of the day you feel really connected to the main characters. Abby is struggling with the violent ghosts of her past and for different reasons so is Josh. Josh's character was particularly compelling. He is locked in this internal suffering that prevents him from fully connecting with the world around him. Abby is kind of going through the same thing but it comes across in a different way and the reasons for it are different. Nevertheless, it gives her an accord with Josh. We get a story of two people who need to connect to each other so that they can connect with the outside world. It is a wonderful story of unified redemption. I thoroughly enjoyed that part of the book.
The only issue for a reader like me which may be a reader like you too is the amount of angst and introspection in this book. The characters have very deep emotional issues and there is a lot of air time given to their thoughts about their feelings and their internal struggles. For example, the agony Josh feels over the things he did in the military and the losses he suffered is replayed in his memory and thoughts more times than I care to remember. The angst and emotional suffering is just so so thick, it can be overwhelming. I needed more dialogue and activity and less repetitive introspection. Besides that this really is a good book and I highly recommend it for all you new adult and young adult fans.
**ARC provided by Author**