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Posted November 11, 2013
One Of The Best reading experiences I have had!
I received this book a while ago for review and I am totally kicking myself for not reading it sooner. It completely consumed me and wrapped me up into the story of Carly and Ryan. To My Hero was a beautiful story about Heartbreak, Pain, Love and healing.
Carly has been in love with Ryan for years but has always missed her chance to make a move and let him know how she feels. She ends up meeting Will, a guy whose parents have business dealings with her family, and they become a couple. Things with Will are great at first but soon Will starts to show his darker side and becomes borderline abusive with her. While at one of his parties she wasn't supposed to go to to begin with her life changes in an instant. She wakes up with no memory of what happened to her and the only thing she knows is that Ryan finds her and helps take care of her.
This subject I am sure you can guess is something not every girl has experienced but there are a vast majority who can relate. I usually can't handle this kind of story but the author handled it beautifully and walked the line between too much and just enough information about what happened. Carly's character was easy to love. She was a sweet and shy young woman that had something terrible happen to her that changed her. Watching her go through not only an attitude change but a personality change was sad for me. Her parents weren't really any help having caused more issues than actually helping her. The only one she had to help was Ryan Crowley. The very boy she has loved all along. He was very sweet, caring and understanding. Ryan stole my heart consistently throughout the story. He tried to get her to seek help and when she refused he comforted her and tried his best to be what she needed. He taught her how to defend herself so she never felt powerless again. Guys just don't get better than Ryan and he was my favorite part of this book. Carly isn't the only one that has been in love because Ryan admits he's loved her just the same. I loved watching these two grow and change together as they dealt with the fallout of her problems, her parents issues and ultimately Will causing more problems. Their relationship isn't easy following the events that changed Carly. They both have to fight for the love they have finally find with each other. Ryan's reputation at school has caused trust issues for Carly who already feels insecure and broken.
To My Hero was a very unique reading experience written in the form of a blog to Ryan. An Account of everything they went through in their relationship. At first the way it was written caught me off guard and took a little bit to get used to but after a while it wasn't even an issue. The love story was amazing and beautiful even through all the craziness. I loved that Carly grew close to Ryan's family when hers was falling apart. The relationship she forms with his sister Caitlin and the bond they share with past experiences tugged at my heart strings. What I enjoyed the most was how well the author made me FEEL the things Carly was feeling through every rough stage of her ordeal. Anger, Hurt, Regret, Love. All of her emotions bled through to me and made me connect with her character. This wasn't a short book by any means but it pulls you in so deep that you don't realize you are flying through the pages.
To My Hero stole my heart and became one of my favorite reads of this year with it's endearing characters and emotional story line I am still angry at myself for putting this off for as long as I did because I could have read this amazing book sooner. I highly recommend you don't make the same mistake I did because this book was to me a diamond in a sea of pearls. The subject may have been tough to deal with at times but I wouldn't trade a minute of the pain for the beautiful ending that wraps up this sweet story.
Posted July 21, 2013
To My Hero: A Blog of Our Journey Together was a powerful story, told in a very unique manner. The story consists of a series of entries, from Carly to Ryan, told in chronological order. It is told with a strong sense of foreboding, and begins a horrific event. As To My Hero goes on, it continues to tell of Carly's journey with Ryan past that intense beginning, leading to another night in which events become out of control.
I know what I've said about To My Hero is terribly vague, but I'm not quite sure what to say about it, without ruining the story. Going into it, all I knew was that this was Carly's version of hers' and Ryan's story, it was told in a blog format, that it seemed that something awful had happened to her, and that Ryan is her hero. And this is exactly what happens, but the fragile, yet strong, loving, and sweet relationship between Ryan and Carly is what made this story shine.
Ryan was a dream come true for me. I love a thoughtful young man (ugh, I sound OLD) who genuinely wants the very best for the girl he loves. A guy who will go to the mat to make sure she is taken care of, with no expectations. Carly was not easy for Ryan to always be there for. And that is okay. Here's the deal, girls who go through what Carly has, have every right to cry, withdraw, doubt, be angry, and unreasonable. It hurts me to see readers call girls, particularly teens who've been abused "dumb". The point of Carly's journey isn't that she begins the story handling everything well and making the best decisions. The point is that Carly, with a lot of love and help from Ryan, learns and grows.
To My Hero deals with tough subject matter, but in a very thoughtful and well-handled manner. Some of what we're dealing with here is sexual trauma. And this leads me to say: I take issue with all of the books that use sexual trauma as a plot device in a careless way. I know that the trauma can be a jumping point for drama, but you know what? Good sex with a hot guy does not heal the pain of sexual assault/abuse. I'm sorry, it just doesn't. And for Sibarium's very thoughtful take on the aftermath, I have to give her major, major credit. I'm not making a comparison story-wise, but as far as responsible handling of sexual trauma goes, I would compare this book to Easy by Tammara Webber.
To My Hero is a story that caught me by surprise. I was taken by Carly's story, the connection and relationship between her and Ryan, and ultimately their journey together.
Posted July 4, 2013
As you can read from the synopsis, this is not a light-hearted book by any means. It deals with very real circumstances and your heart can't help but break for Carly, the main character. I applaud Danielle for tackling such a difficult topic because I think she's done so in a way that both enlightens and informs.
Carly as I said is our main character. The book begins in present day but does have a few chapters where we flashback to a previous point in time, usually a scene involving Ryan. Ryan Crowley is the one who got away. A series of misunderstandings and missed chances have led these two to just be friends. Luckily the back and forth didn't deter too much from the story at hand, and I felt it helped to get a better understanding of how things ended up the way they did currently. Carly is dating a guy named Will, and Ryan is dating the head cheerleader, Lanie. Yet, at one of Will's parties, the two stop and they definitely have a moment. The moment was filled with 'what ifs' and 'what could have beens', but is interrupted by an angry, jealous Will.
The one thing I liked about Carly in those beginning chapters is her spunk. When Will was talking down to her and betraying her trust, she stood up to him. She told him it was over and that she was done despite his hostility to her. After the incident you can't help but just feel blind fury because he didn't just break her physically, but broke her spirit as well. And I hated that for her. Ryan is not only the person who found her, but is the one who slowly brings her back to life.
Oh Ryan. What can I even say? He is absolutely the light in the dark for Carly. He has been in love with her since 9th grade and his feelings have not changed. Yet, he knows how fragile she is and pleads for her to seek help, which she refuses. Ryan is the epitome of a good guy. He wants nothing more than to help Carly and get through what happened to her, but knows he has to play every move just right. Carly misinterprets a lot of his actions because she is shell-shocked. By him not reciprocating a touch, she feels he doesn't want her. She has all of these insecurities that she is battling and there were times she pushed Ryan away instead of embracing him.
Carly also has to deal with her parents. When something horrible like this happens, you crave the comfort of your parents and Carly did not get that at all. She is accused of being the instigator, of messing around with Ryan and that she got what she deserved. (They of course do not know the whole story of what has happened, but that's a moot point) Carly is heartbroken that the two people she has trusted all her life and is supposed to always depend on to keep her safe have turned against her like they have. I am so thankful for Ryan's sister Caitlin and his mom for being the support she needed.
Trust is a huge issue in this book. Carly shows her distrust of Ryan on many occasions because of rumors she's heard or things she misinterprets. He is hurt by the fact that she would so easily buy into those things and not believe him directly. Even though Carly is coming out of a traumatic experience, Ryan has proved time and time again that he will not let her down and that he will always be there for her. He is beyond hurt that she doesn't trust him enough after everything he has done for her. As you know- relationships cannot be built without trust.
Ryan and Carly definitely have their obstacles to overcome and I feel that Danielle did a great job of showing us just how strong love can be between two people and that eventually it will win out if you let it.
I felt this was a very well written novel and I commend Danielle for handling and tackling such a difficult topic and I hope this book reaches out to those who have been affected by something like this before: whether it's just to serve as a reminder you are not alone or as a motivator to seek out help, this is not something to hide from like Carly does at first.