Loner James McKay wants nothing to do with Hadley Grayson. After all, the last thing a drug dealer needs is the pretty, new girl trying to be friends. Walking distractions like her lead to trouble, the kind that can get you 10 to 15 behind bars.
Likewise, fencing champion Hadley Grayson isn’t thrilled about her family uprooting her during her senior year of high school. At least there’s James McKay, the quiet, mad scientist who is as adorable as he is mysterious.
Though McKay may reject the idea of friendship, he gets one whether he wants it or not. But once the lies are told and the rumors spread, the dangers of meth making and dealing are impossible to avoid. Between secrets and overdosing classmates, McKay and Hadley will learn that loneliness can be a two-way street, changing both of their lives forever.
***I received this book in exchange for an honest review and in correlation with this tour
A Dark Road is an unconventional love story. It’s a dark journey into the world of drug distribution and addiction without being too gritty or graphic. Hadley and McKay are a slow burning passion built on understanding at a soul level. It’s beautifully broken, a road to recovery and self discovery, of learning to live, love, and simply be in the moment.
- McKay (James) is not the typical YA male specimen. He’s not the epitome of lusty dreams and shameless flirting, while he is attractive, he’s a recluse. He’s socially awkward, paranoid, and places little value in himself. McKay is just trying to get through his last year of high school and stay clear of jail. Nothing matters but escaping the mess of his home life. An addict for a father, a house falling apart at its seams, the only consolation and comfort is his pet, Dog. McKay is shy and unsure in a completely endearing way. He stutters and blushes, he has bursts of playfulness that bring out the cute dimples on his cheeks. He’s passionate about chemistry and adores Dog, caring more about his safety than his own. For so long, McKay has pushed people away and lived life in the shadows, dealing drugs and living day by day. McKay is bashful and insecure when it comes to others but when he does assemble some courage, he’s witty and smart, and oh so sexy in a nerdy way.
- Hadley is compassionate, pushy, and feels just as alone in a crowd as McKay. Unlike her twin brother, Simon, Hadley can’t pretend to cope with the mundane pleasantries from people she can’t stand and instead goes out of her way to befriend the school freak. Hadley is open, speculative, she looks beneath the surface and tries to help from the bottom of her heart. She’s flirty and silly and just as likable as McKay.
- Hadley and McKay together are intoxicating, a magnetic combination of casual hanging out and budding passion. They ease into each other, creating a feeling like when you slip on a well loved, worn pair of jeans. They’re completely natural and honest with each other. They don’t strive for steamy make out sessions or heavy petting. It’s real and perfect love. Their friendship takes a while to develop and IMO there’s nowhere near enough kissing but I couldn’t help but smile at how warm they are together.
- Simon and Hadley have a hilarious banter that can only be found between close friends or siblings, in this case, twins. The tease and provoke each other in ways that leave you craving more of them. You can easily feel their connection and how deeply they love each other.
- The ending was abrupt and devastating. There wasn’t enough to cling to.
- Some of the subplots like with Louie fizzled out and trailed into the nothing. The same with Simon and Jenna. The whole popular crew became a background noise when Simon’s presence was so strong in the beginning.
A native of New Jersey and lifelong nerd, Amanda Lance recently completed her Master in Liberal Arts at Thomas Edison State College after her BA in English Literature and AFA in creative writing.
She currently resides in Easton Pennsylvania with her boyfriend and their spoiled hound dog. She is a cliché booknerd who is terrible at math, clinically obsessive, and prone to addictive behavior. She may or may not be a recluse.
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