Cory was my best friend, the boy who I’d resolved to spend my entire life with. I’d grown to love him, gotten used to the idea of our life together, even if it wasn’t the all-encompassing, soul-crushing, heart-shattering romance it appeared to be.
Hayes was the boy who seemed entirely out of reach. Untouchable. He stole my first kiss, a secret I’d hidden away in the recesses of my heart, protecting the memory and hoping it would be enough to last me a lifetime. When he became my history teacher, it was impossible to hide from him any longer.
There was no way to anticipate just how important both Wallace brothers would become to me, how deeply they would change my life, or how the loss of one would propel me into the arms of the other.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A great story, different from so many HEA stories. The characters were so easily imagined. Tragedy, recovery, true everlasting love! I would definitely recommend it!
Anie Michaels is one of my favorite authors and one that I feel is undiscovered by too many readers. Her writing really is beautiful! She brings great writing, well developed characters and storylines and a lot of emotion to the table in her books. This is a story about McKenzie and Cory. They have been friends their whole lives and their parents expect them to end up married. Their parents are also best friends. McKenzie isn't allowed to date until she is sixteen. Cory is head over heels in love with Kenzie and anxiously awaiting that day. The night of his sixteenth birthday party his brother Hayes gives Kenzie her first kiss. She realizes she has feelings for him, but could never do that to her best friend Cory. Cory comes out to the patio to ask Kenzie out and give her her first kiss. She can't and doesn't tell him that she kissed Hayes. She agrees to be his girlfriend, but her first kiss changed her. The heart wants what the heart wants. She knows she can never act on those feelings and does love Cory. She just isn't in love with Cory. Tragedy strikes and circumstances change. No one would understand...or so Kenzie and Hayes believe. Then he is assigned to be her student teacher. Now it is a taboo romance in addition to one following tragedy. Hayes' whole future could be destroyed if anyone knew about their feelings and relationship. Can they be together? Is the outside pressure too much? Can their love survive being a secret? Will their love make them whole or tear them apart? Happily ever after depends on your definition. Although it sounds like a love triangle there isn't any cheating in this wonderful story.
Once again, Anie Michaels has managed to rip me open and stomp on my heart with her breathtaking novel, Instead of You. This book delivers a heartbreaking and beautiful student/teacher romance that will make you think and inspire you to feel. Instead of You is perfect for both fans of taboo romance and those who prefer more traditional relationships. While there is a forbidden component to this story, it is fresh and unconventional in a way that gives McKenzie and Hayes’ story mass appeal. Anie Michaels explores love in all of its forms, effortlessly portraying not only familial and romantic love, but the kind of emotion that turns friends into family and lovers into soulmates. That deep, burning, irrevocable magic poured from this novel, lingering long after the final page has been turned. Instead of You certainly doesn’t pull any punches and Anie Michaels didn’t hesitate to put the main characters (and her lucky readers) through the wringer. McKenzie and Hayes must face their incredibly confusing feelings when an unexpected tragedy leaves them both completely devastated. Lost in grief and confused by their feelings, both characters underwent huge transformations over the course of this novel. I absolutely adored the way Anie Michaels developed McKenzie. While her indecisiveness and constantly changing emotions may have been frustrating at times, it was this sense of being at a total loss as to what was right that made this character so heartbreakingly genuine. McKenzie’s youth and grief came through loud and clear in her voice, making the overall growth of this character that much more significant and solidifying my deep connection with her. The plot of this novel was so much more than I had expected. Not only is it heartfelt, angsty, intelligent, and witty, but Anie Michaels also provides just the right amount of steam and flirtatious banter to keep readers smiling through the heartache. I found myself captivated by Anie Michaels’ fictional world, completely caught up in both McKenzie’s immature, drama-filled high school life and Hayes’ all too real home situation. McKenzie’s story is one of love, loss, and moving on – a heart wrenching coming of age journey that will leave your head reeling from the emotional turmoil and devastating grief residing within the pages of this novel. Somehow, when all was said and done, my heart found its way home and I was left content and incredibly hopeful. Anie Michaels has a true talent for turning the quiet curses of tragedy into soft whispers of hope and Instead of You is a shining example.