"A story of family, first love and forgiveness. I couldn't stop reading. I loved it!"—Miranda Kenneally, author of Catching Jordan
Two shattered hearts are about to collide in this achingly poignant young adult novel. Monroe and Nathan are two lost souls each struggling with grief and guilt from a mistake that changed their lives looking for acceptance, so they can find forgiveness.
For Monroe Blackwell, one small mistake has torn her family apart—leaving her empty and broken. There's a hole in her heart that nothing can fill. That no one can fill. And a summer in Louisiana with her grandma isn't going to change that...
Nathan Everets knows heartache firsthand when a car accident leaves his best friend in a coma. And it's all his fault. He should be the one lying in the hospital. The one who will never play guitar again. He doesn't deserve forgiveness, and a court-appointed job at the Blackwell B&B isn't going to change that...
There's No Going Back
Captivating and hopeful, this achingly poignant novel brings together two lost souls struggling with grief and guilt—looking for acceptance, so they can find forgiveness.
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
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Read an Excerpt
My gram told me once when I was eleven that I could do anything. She'd been very matter of fact as she poured us each an iced tea on a steamy afternoon.
It was the kind of afternoon when the air sizzled and stuck to the insides of your clothes. The kind of afternoon that made your skin clammy and your muscles lazy. I remember that the birds were quiet but the locusts chimed like mini buzz saws.
Funny, the things that you remember, and the things that you can't forget no matter how hard you try.
On that particular afternoon, we'd sat on her front porch in the rain, Gram's hyacinths bent over from the weight of the water, her two cats Mimi and Roger curled at our feet. I'm sure I wore some trendy New York outfit that was totally inappropriate for Louisiana in August, and Gram Blackwell was dressed in what she liked to call "genteel southern attire," which basically meant cotton instead of linen or silk.
We settled back in our chairs and chatted about the soccer team. I told her how much I wanted to make first string, and she told me that anything was possible as long as I applied myself. Of course I believed her with all the enthusiasm an eleven-year-old who has never been hurt or disappointed feels.
Why wouldn't I? This was Gram, and she was never wrong.
I tried my hardest and made the team.
But that was before Malcolm. Before the awful year that had just passed. That was before I learned that my charmed life could bleed. That pain could become an everyday kind of thing, and that happiness was just a word that didn't mean anything.
And now, at the ripe old age of sixteen and a half, I don't know what I believe in anymore, and I don't know if I'll ever be fixed.
It's not like I haven't tried.
I went to private therapy. I went to group counseling. I read the books that I was supposed to read, did the relaxation exercises that I thought were stupid, and took the meds that they gave me.
In fact, I loved how those little blue pills made me feel nothing-which isn't very different from the way I feel most of the time-but medicated nothing is so much better than the real, hard nothing I had been living with.
I suppose it's why they weaned me off them. "Addict" wasn't exactly a label my mom wanted to add to the impressive list of everything else that was wrong with me.
My point is...I did it all. I tried.
It's just hard to succeed at something when you don't really care, and as much as I want to get better for my parents, I can't make myself care. Not even for them. My therapist says I need to care for myself first.
And therein lies the problem. The catch-22. I just don't care anymore. Not really.
Yet there are moments where, if I try real hard, I can close my eyes and smell the rain. Not just any rain, mind you, but that rain. From that long-ago afternoon.
"Monroe, I'm heading to town in a few minutes. Do you want to come along?"
I turned as Gram walked into the kitchen. It was nearly noon and I had been sitting at the table for about an hour, trying to decide if I was going to eat the bowl of pears she'd put out for me earlier or if I was going to put them back in the fridge.
I liked pears. I liked them a lot. I just wasn't all that hungry.
"Uh, I think I'll stick around here, if that's okay with you."
Gram put her purse on the table, and I pretended not to notice how her eyes lingered on my hair. I'd pulled it back in a ponytail yesterday-or maybe it was the day before-because I couldn't be bothered with it. I'm pretty sure I hadn't brushed it since.
She pointed to the bowl in front of me and raised her eyebrows, waiting half a second before grabbing it and setting it on the counter. She pulled plastic wrap from the drawer and covered the pears before putting them back in the fridge.
Gram turned and leaned against the counter, and for a moment, we stared at each other in silence.
I'd arrived a week earlier and we hadn't had a real chat yet-the one that I sensed was coming-and my stomach churned at the thought.
Gram's long hair was swept up in a clip at the back of her head, the silver strands glistening in the sunlight that poured in from the window above the sink. She wore pink lipstick, a casual cream skirt-cut to an inch above her knee-a moss-green blouse, and low open-toe heels to finish off the outfit. Pearls were in her ears, and the matching pendant lay at her neck. A classy choice that was totally Gram.
She was beautiful.
My gram had turned sixty last year and still carried that simple elegance that set her apart from a lot of women. She'd been a real hottie in her day, and though my mother said I was her spitting image, I didn't see it. But then I suppose beauty is more about your state of mind, and since mine was all dark and gloomy, that's what I saw when I looked in the mirror.
"All right," she said after a while and glanced at the clock above the stove. "I have someone coming by the house anyway, and I'll need you to show him where the job is."
Great. I thought of my bed and the nap I'd planned.
"Who is it?"
I didn't really care, but I could at least be polite and ask.
"I've engaged the services of a local contractor for some repairs and maintenance around the plantation. Today the fence around the family crypt and burial plot will be painted."
Gram's ancestors had lived in Louisiana for generations and this place-Oak Run Plantation-had been in the family for just as long. Years ago, Gram's father had turned the family home into a successful bed and breakfast/museum, which Gram had inherited, because according to my father, Gram's brother, Uncle Jack, was a no-good drunk who couldn't find his own butt if he needed to.
My grandmother even stayed on after her husband died, but instead of living in the big house, she moved into what used to be the carriage house. And that's where I'm staying this summer.
Everyone-which would be my parents and my best friend Kate-was hoping the hot Louisiana summer and laid-back atmosphere would somehow fix me. They think that the city and the memories are too much, and I don't have the heart to tell them that the memories will never leave. That much I've learned.
So location doesn't really matter, but I was glad to be away from my mother and her large, expressive, puppy-dog eyes. She looks at me a lot when she thinks I won't notice, and every time she does, I feel like the biggest failure on the planet.
I don't know how to react to her anymore-do I pretend I'm better to make her pain go away? Do I ignore her? Do I tell her to get out of my face?
And my father, God, he's the total opposite. He acts as if everything is normal. As if the last year and a half never happened-as if each one of us is whole-and that makes me angry. And kinda sad.
Gram grabbed her purse, bent low, and gave me a hug. "I love you, Monroe."
"I know," I whispered.
She grabbed her keys and paused. "Barbecue sound good for supper?"
I shrugged. "Sure."
"All right then." She moved toward the door but paused, her hand on the ivory handle. "He'll be here in an hour. Why don't you brush your hair?"
"Okay," I answered, though I'm pretty sure we both knew it wasn't likely to happen.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Definitely worth your time. I finished it in a day! So beautiful, the storyline was not too fast or slow. And the perfect ending.
Sad but loved it young teens goes through this drinking and driving very emotional
They’re like two peas in a pod. Monroe and Nathan, two teens with enough baggage on their shoulders they can hardly stand up. Monroe is sent to her grandmother’s house for a change of scenery, for perhaps her flimsy attitude will change over the summer. Then there’s Nathan, the burden that he carries he cannot run from. Everyday there are reminders of the trauma that Nathan wishes he could rewind but he cannot do time travel so he must face the facts. Monroe is candid and outspoken yet she’s not going to reveal her confidential secret that she’s carrying. She’s seen the therapists, she’s done what they’ve asked and the counseling sessions have long been over and still Monroe is sealed tight like a bottle. Preferring the comfort of herself, Monroe get’s fidgety when she’s around others as she doesn’t like the drama and the foolishness that can accompany that. Monroe is like a shield, she stood her ground and there was something about this character that I was drawn to. Was this hard-shell of a girl really soft inside? Her relationship with her grandmother made me believe that there was a softer side of Monroe; she just needed someone to help her emerge. This secret that she was keeping, I wondered just had awful it really was compared to how terrible she was making herself feel. Nathan, he was a mess and everyone sees it. The two of them hit it off but unable to vocalize their thoughts, the teens have barriers to overcome. I enjoyed this part of the story as the characters struggled within themselves and with each other on moving forward. The author paints for us an internal picture of the teens dancing around each other, not speaking openly to each other at first, their communications stalled until one of them makes a move. They have steps to take for the past is over and future is yet to be written. The story gets emotions and tense, the characters reaching out yet slowing retreating afraid of revealing too much. It’s a wonderful story about friendship, love and family.
I'm familiar with Juliana Stone's new adult and contemporary romance novels. I like them...a lot...it's probably better to say I love them. When I saw this contemporary young adult novel with her name on it I thought, "Oh how cool! I've got to read this!" Juliana did not disappoint. This book was beautiful and yet made me cry. I I loved Nathan and Monroe. Their respective tragedies were circumstances that were just heartbreaking accidents. Except the regrets left both of them incapable of dealing and what brought them together. I love how even though Monroe was so set on keeping everyone out and away, she was still able to recognize the hurt and pain in Nathan. I also loved how I had to work and wait for the details of the tragedy in Monroe's life, although I wasn't that patient and understanding while I read. The chemistry between the two was off the charts amazing. I loved the witty dialogue they had and the fact the book was told from both their points of view. The interactions between the two of them and other secondary characters added another layer of depth to the story for me. I particularly loved Monroe's grandmother. That's one amazing woman! Overwhelmingly it was all the emotions I felt that made me fall for this book. I'm not ashamed to admit I had to stop reading to get tissues. There was just something about how bravely Nathan and Monroe faced their fears together that really touched me. I am hoping for sequel to this book. I'd like to see how Nathan and Monroe are later on down the road. Of course, it goes without saying I hope Juliana Stone continues to write more young adult. She's certainly proven she's got the writing chops for it!
3.5 stars (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and Netgalley.) Monroe and Nathan are both hiding secrets, deadly secrets. Can they help each other to work their way through their problems over the summer? And maybe find love on the way? This was an okay story, but it took a while to get good. I liked Monroe and Nathan, although it took me a while. I didn’t really like either of them to start with, but when they started baring their souls I finally started to like them. The storyline was okay, but again, it took a while to get going. I found the first half of the book pretty boring, and even the mystery over who Malcom was and what happened to him couldn’t keep me interested. When Monroe confessed all though, I finally understood what she was going through, and began to like her. The romance also took a while to find its feet, but once we got there I did like it. The ending was good, and I was glad that we got a happy ending. It was just a shame that this book took so long to get interesting! Overall; okay story, but took a long while to get interesting, 7 out of 10
Such a pleasant surprise! Told from alternating POVs, Boys Like You is one of those stories that sucks you in, tugs on your heartstrings and doesn't let go until you've turned the final page. In fact, I was so immersed in Monroe and Nate's story that when I came to the Acknowledgements, I was a little disappointed ONLY because I wasn't ready to let these characters go yet. (There may have been tears.) Both Monroe and Nate have experienced life changing tragedies, ones that could easily destroy them if they allowed it. But they're surrounded by people who love and care for them, people who refuse to let what has happened define them for the rest of their lives. (Gram Blackwell was a favorite of mine!) Is there pain and sadness? Sure. But what's cool about this story is that this isn't a walk through the darkest part of Monroe and Nate's lives, they've already been through that. We get to see some of the bleakness but this story is what happens in the aftermath. It's the, "What happens now? How do I heal?" part. And Juliana Stone has done it so well! When you've felt nothing but an empty void for so long, it can be hard to navigate feelings and desires, especially when it involves a person who somehow understands exactly how you're feeling. And the relationship that develops between Monroe and Nate is funny, tender and bittersweet. Are they perfect? Of course not. But their journey is an honest one filled with forgiveness, healing and hope. Read it.
This story was so much more than I expected. Monroe is battling with overwhelming guilt revolving around an incident that happened in the immediate past. Though at first we don’t know what happened, we are given little hints and slight insight into what the tragedy was. She meets Nathan, who at first comes off as overly confident and somewhat annoying, but she soon warms up to him and realizes that he too is suffering from some guilt surrounding an incident himself. They soon find they have a strong bond, both suffering from unbearable guilt. It wasn’t simply about the romance between the two, but so much more than that. Both broken and flawed, Monroe & Nate must learn to move on from their own shady pasts and find out how to live life again. The alternating points of view was an added bonus. It was great getting to see Monroe’s side of things, as well as Nate’s. The two sides gave us much more of the story, bringing on all the feels along with it. And this story definitely had all the feels. I was laughing, then a chapter later sobbing. There were times when such anger was pouring out of me, only to be overtaken by grief a second later. And before I knew it, I was giggling again. All over the spectrum as far as emotions go. The romance between Monroe and Nate was such an innocent and sweet one. They were both fighting the connection, yet acknowledging it was present. Both had issues they were battling, making them question themselves, the decisions they made in the past, and their current worth. This was the almost torturous slow burn type of romance I love so much in books with flawed characters. Where they’re so hesitant to love and give themselves. They constantly pull away and feel the need to flee. Yet it’s inevitable that they will have to give in to the feelings at some point. One of my very favorite types of romances. This was a powerful story about finding answers, accepting prior mistakes, forgiving others as well as forgiving yourself, and looking forward to bettering your life in the future. Strong family bonds were present, which was a nice change from so many books these days. And as always, I love seeing friendship as a strong story element. This is my first Juliana Stone book, but I’ll definitely be looking forward to reading more of her work in the future.