Sometimes lies are sweeter than the truth.
Beauty is alluring; it can disguise the ugliness beneath. But scarred beauty is even more potent to a girl who vowed never to let her heart be broken again. It was an easy vow for Candy to keep until she met Jonah, an arrogant boy with a face that would be too perfect if not for the scar that marred the skin beside his eye.
That imperfect boy earned her trust and won her heart, but the ties that bind people together are fragile, especially when lies are told. Trust is also fragile, and once broken, doesn’t heal like a heart. Trust has to be earned again, and Jonah desperately wants Candy’s trust back.
But Candy has more than Jonah to worry about. Her father is in trouble, and she intends to help him whether he likes it or not. People tell her he’s a bad man, and that may be true, but he’s not all bad. Deep down, she understands his brand of badness because she’s so much like him.
When Candy finally learns the truth, she’ll have to grow up fast, let go of old grievances, and realize that being vulnerable doesn’t make her weak. In fact, opening herself up may be the very thing that makes her whole again.
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & the author.
- Jonah and Candy have a complicated relationship built on trust and when that’s shattered, they don’t immediately fall back into each other’s arms, they get angry, they’re hurt, they don’t forget and that makes their relationship feel authentic and believable. Their chemistry is explosive at some points and soft the next. Jonah truly cares for Candy, he’s always concerned about her condition and makes sure she’s warm.
- Subjects like abuse, divorce, drugs, and cancer are all presented in a very casual way. They’re not harped on or there to make a point, they are a simple truth for each character. Theo’s story is sad and hard but raw, potent, and he deals with it in the best way he knows how, humor. This lighthearted approach made it all the more beautiful and powerful.
- The relationships between parents and their children are explored in depth. Feelings of disappointment, disillusionment, and longing to be accepted are only a few elements talked about. Each little piece of their unique relationship is complex and multidimensional. You’ll feel every emotion keenly.
- Extremely slow. For what should have been a fast-paced thriller with tons of anxiety and mystery, the adrenaline rush just wasn’t there. The pacing was sluggish and dragged along to the point where when crazy things did happen, the impact was more of a soft punch than anything substantial.
- The story got a little lost. There are really three main threads that flip-flop back and forth and because of the pacing, they’re lackluster and feel random. The main arch is subject to the moments of romance and friendship that also cushion the fear making everything seem far less serious and dangerous than it is.
- I liked that the story featured a girl with CREST, an autoimmune disease, but showed it as a part of everyday life rather than making it a main focus. That being said, I don’t think there was enough explanation. There’s a handy note at the beginning of the book explaining the conditions and symptoms that Candy suffers from with hyperlinks, though it’s very brief. Why it happens, when it happens, and the long-term effects on Candy’s life are hinted at but aren’t gone into. So when it comes up in the book, there are more questions than answers.
- The organization, the extent of their power, and involvement were all glossed over. For a threat so strong, their presence was indirect. More personal vendetta than anything else.
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