Jos Archer was the girl with the perfect lifeuntil the night it all came crashing down around her. Now, nine months later, she still hasn't begun to pick up the pieces. Even transferring to a new college and living under the watchful eye of her older sister, Renee, isn't enough to help her feel normal again.
And then she meets Dusty Sharp. For reasons Jos can't begin to fathom, the newly reformed campus bad boy seems determined to draw her out of her shell. And if she's not careful, his knowing green eyes and wicked smile will make her feel things she's no longer sure she deserves.
But even as Dusty coaxes Jos to open up about the past, he's hiding secrets of his own. Secrets about the night her old life fell apart. When the truth is finally revealed, will it bring them closer togetheror tear them apart for good?
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"I can't believe your parents are forcing you to leave. It should be, like, illegal. You're over eighteen. Why don't you just bail?" Kelly sat on top of one of the boxes of my almost-packed dorm room and snapped her gum. When we'd first met, the little habit had irritated me to no end, but I'd gotten used to it.
"I wish I could, but they're footing the bill for school, so right now I'm screwed," I said. Not to mention the fact that no one said no to my mother. No one.
"Why don't you drop out?" Oh, I'd considered that more than once. Actually, more than a thousand times. It was impossible to explain the complicated dynamic of my family to someone like Kelly, who had moved out of her parents' house and gotten her own place when she was still in high school.
"I don't know," I said, shrugging and taping up another box. Kelly flipped her dirty blond dreadlocked ponytail and cracked her gum again. She'd asked me if I needed help packing, but so far all she'd done was bother me.
"You'll come back and visit, right?" she asked.
"Yeah, sure," I told her with a little smile. We both knew it was unlikely that I'd ever get back here. I folded my University of New Hampshire blanket and shoved it into another box. My mom had bought it for me two summers ago as a going-away-to-college present.
I was one of only two of my siblings or steps who'd actually managed to graduate high school, let alone get accepted somewhere. Neither Mom nor Dad nor any of my stepparents had finished high school, so it was a big deal for any of us to make it that far. The only other one who had was Renee, and that was the reason they were shipping me back to Maine to live with her after everything.
Kelly's phone buzzed and she typed a quick response to the text message and grinned at me.
"Mac wants to meet up for coffee." I always wished she'd put coffee in air quotes, because we both knew that it meant getting stoned and hooking up in the backseat of his rusty Pontiac. Kelly and her boyfriend were notorious; they'd even been caught by campus security in the middle of the day. It was a miracle they were still students at all. I think they were holding on by the thinnest of academic threads.
"Have fun." I knew she'd bail on me for Mac. She always did. Kelly wasn't much of a friend, but she was the only one I had. The others had ditched me months ago.
"Call me before you leave. I wanna say goodbye." She got up and gave me a loose hug. It was more of a lean involving arms that was over as quickly as it had begun.
"See you later," she said, slamming the door. Kelly could never leave a room quietly.
I stared at my deconstructed dorm room. My roommate was avoiding me, had been avoiding me since the beginning of this year. We'd had all of two conversations-one of those happened on the day we moved in, and the other happened when she found me passed out in front of the door one night after a crazy time with Kelly and Mac and a bunch of people I hadn't seen again. As if I'd remember them anyway.
I took Kelly's place on one of the boxes, pulling my knees up and resting my chin on them.
The fight I'd had with my mother when she'd told me that I was being forced to move back kept running through my mind. Actually, the entire Christmas break had been one long fight that didn't seem to end.
What is wrong with you, Joscelyn? You'd better straighten up and fly right. You are coming back to Maine, or else I am coming there and dragging your ass back, understand?
Straighten up and fly right. Yeah, I'd get right on that, Mom. She was one to talk. My parents had a half-dozen marriages between them and kids and stepkids all over the place. It was a full-time job just keeping track of them.
I'd screamed myself hoarse, but hadn't gotten anywhere. She'd even put a moratorium on hating Dad long enough to call him, fill him in and then get him to yell at me, too.
I was powerless against the two of them.
And then there was Renee.
If Mom didn't drag my ass back, Renee would be on that. She was worse than Mom in some ways. Speaking of my sister.
My phone rang, and when I saw who was calling, I debated about picking it up.
"Hey," I said, wincing in anticipation of the barrage I knew was coming.
"You better be getting your stuff together and be out the door," she said by way of a greeting.
"Nice to talk to you, too, dear sister."
"Don't give me that shit, Jos. I am so done with this. You'd better get your butt on the road in the next hour or-"
"I know, I know. You'll surgically remove my fingers and sew them to my ass. I know." Having a sister who knew surgical procedure and who was also mad at you really sucked sometimes.
"Hey, I don't need the attitude. You're lucky that you're coming to be here with me instead of Mom." She did have a point. Back at Mom's I'd just be drowning in a sea of my step and half siblings, among them a set of four-year-old twins who made the devil look like Mother Teresa.
"I know," I said. That seemed to be my phrase of choice lately.
"Just know that I'm going to be on your ass like white on rice, and if I'm not around someone else will do it for me. You're walking into a house full of people that are going to watch your every move and call you out on it. Understand?"
"Okay. I'll be waiting for you. Call me the second you leave."
"I will. 'Bye."
I hung up before she could say anything else. I put my hands over my face and screamed into them. This was a nightmare I never seemed to wake up from.
Asleep or awake, it never left me.
But I was awake now, and I had to move, so I got off the box and picked it up. chapter 2
After nearly twelve trips and a lot of sweating and swearing, I got all my stuff into my car. Despite it being freezing outside, I peeled off my winter coat and just wore my ratty sweatshirt, my breath visible in the January air. People walked by and gave me looks, and I knew what they were thinking. Just another student who couldn't hack it and was being forced to leave and not come back after Christmas break. They didn't have any idea.
I went back up to the half-bare room and looked at it one more time.
I didn't bother to leave my roommate a note and just shut the door behind me. It wasn't like she'd care anyway.
I texted Kelly that I was leaving, but she didn't respond. Big surprise. Other than Kelly, there wasn't really anyone else at UNH that I had left to say goodbye to. I hadn't heard from Matt since before the summer, when he'd broken up with me. The others, my little circle of friends, had long since lost touch with the crazy, reckless emo girl. I'd heard them talking about my transformation behind my back more than once.
Snow was just starting to float down from the sky when I got back downstairs to my car. I could barely see out the rearview mirror, but I was mostly driving on the highway anyway.
I plugged my iPod into my car speakers and hit Shuffle. It was going to be a long trip and I only had music for company. The sleeve on my sweatshirt rode up, exposing the bracelet I never took off. It was simple, just a chain with a little elephant charm on it. I kept it as a reminder. A constant reminder.
Shaking my head, I pulled away from the dorm and headed for the highway and the next chapter in my life. A fresh start was irrelevant when the dark things in your past were always following you.
It took me longer than I anticipated to get from New Hampshire to my sister's house in Bangor, Maine. Actually, it wasn't even her house. She'd moved in with this guy Hunter, who was buying the house because he was apparently loaded. Leave it to Renee to find a rich friend. She was also on again with her boyfriend, Paul, which was a good thing, in my opinion, because she was a pain in the ass when she wasn't with him. Even more so than she was when she was with him.
I hadn't seen the house before, so it was a bit of a shock when I parked in front of the house Renee had given me directions for.
"Damn," I said. It was huge. Way huger than Renee had let on. I'd pictured something a little run-down, and small, but this was bigger than any house I'd ever lived in, with Mom or Dad.
I grabbed my backpack and headed up the porch steps, glancing at the cars in the driveway as I passed them. It was easy to spot Renee's, so I knew I must have the right place.
There was even a freaking doorbell. My finger was an inch away from ringing it when the door flew open.
"There you are! I was worried you were lying in a ditch somewhere," Renee said, flinging herself at me. Startled by the hug, I sort of stood there and kind of hugged her back.
Somehow, I'd gotten a recessive redhead gene in our family and ended up with carrot-red hair, freckles and green eyes. Renee had gotten the good genes, with her blue eyes and blond hair that didn't need much highlighting. Our features were similar, but our coloring was so different that people never thought we were sisters.
She finally stopped hugging me, but kept her hand clamped on my shoulder and steered me into the house, as if I was going to make a run for it. Where, I didn't know. Renee had mentioned something about Stephen King living down the street, but I wasn't sure if I'd be any safer at his house anyway.
"How was the driving?" Renee closed the door behind us and it clicked shut with finality.
"Fine," I said, glancing around the house. Damn. Again. I didn't know who had decorated, but they'd obviously used those crazy home-improvement magazines as inspiration.
One thing was for sure-it didn't look like a typical college crash pad. It was clean, first of all, and second, there seemed to be an actual scheme where things matched and went together. There were also a lot of peacock feathers, and similar peacock colors around. Renee had mentioned something about her roommate Taylor being obsessed with peacock stuff. I couldn't remember why. I sort of tuned out when Renee gushed about her amazing and awesome life, while mine had gone into a downward spiral that never seemed to hit bottom.
"Hey, Jos. How are you doing?" Paul came around the corner. He was cute in one of those white-bread nerd ways. Not my type. Not that I had a type anymore.
"Good." It was a step up from fine. No one questioned you when you said you were good. Everyone thought there was something wrong with you if you said, "fine."
He gave me an awkward hug. I'd seen him at Christmas when he'd kept Mom and Renee from throttling each other with varying success. I'd tried to tell him it was no use, but he'd done it anyway.
"Where's everyone else?" I was actually looking forward to seeing Darah and meeting her new boyfriend. Darah was one of the sweetest people on the planet, and I knew if there was anyone who wouldn't judge me, it would be her.
"They wanted to give us some space. They'll be here later." Something about the way she said it made me suspicious.
"They're not going to make a big deal about it, are they?"
"No," Renee said, not looking at me, but glancing at Paul. Something was afoot.
"So, how about we get your stuff inside, shall we? Come on, Paul." Renee grabbed Paul's hand and yanked him out the door.
"Uh, okay." I was left standing in the foyer alone. I walked into the living room, which was gorgeously decorated, except for a mangy-looking recliner and the video games the guys had probably left scattered around. I saw the "Skyrim" box and smiled. Renee couldn't get enough of that game. It had consumed quite a bit of her time over Christmas break.
I flopped down onto the couch and stared up at the ceiling. Even that was clean.
A thud sounded a second later as Renee and Paul brought in some of my stuff.
"Since we only have three bedrooms, you, my dear sister, get to stay in the newly refurbished basement. You're lucky we decided to put in a guest room," Renee said, panting.
"Great," I said, although I wouldn't have minded staying on the plush leather couch. It was the largest couch I'd ever seen and took up most of the living room.
"Why don't you show her around and I'll get the rest of the stuff," Paul said. I got up from the couch and Renee led me down the stairs into the basement.
"Welcome to the man cave," Renee said, waving her arm. A man cave indeed. A bar, a pool table, yet another gigantic couch and a television large enough for a movie theater. There were also several sports team posters, including the Red Sox, the Patriots and the Celtics. Go teams.
Renee led me toward the back of the space where there was a small guest room with a bathroom right beside it. Thank God. I wouldn't have to share a bathroom. I'd done that in the dorms enough to last a lifetime.
"So this is it." The room was decorated in tan and black, which was boring, but nice.
I sat down on the large bed and looked around at my new home.
"Okay, we have some ground rules," Renee said, leaning against the dresser. Don't even bother to beat around the bush, sis. Go ahead and get right to the point.
"Number one," she said, holding up one finger. "You will inform me where you are and who you are with at all times. You will keep in touch via cell phone. You will also answer said phone when I call you, no matter what."
I clamped my mouth shut. I didn't want to provoke her in the middle of her speech that she'd clearly rehearsed, probably on Paul.
"Second-" she held up another finger "-there will be no partying. No drinking. No drugs. No substances of any kind other than aspirin. There will also be no passing out. Third, there will be a curfew which you will follow or suffer the consequences. Fourth, I may not be your mother, but you will treat me with respect, and that goes for the other people in this house. And fifth " She didn't seem to be able to come up with number five.
"Fifth?" I said after a few seconds of silence.
"I had a fifth one, but I can't remember it right now," she snapped. "But that doesn't negate the other four. Do you agree to them?"
"Yeah," I said. What did it matter?
"You said yes way too easily. I don't believe you."
Jesus. I was being criticized for being too agreeable.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My Sweetest Escape is second in the My Favorite Mistake series but can be read as a stand alone. In this story, Joscelyn Archer suffers a traumatic event which had her spiraling downhill, drinking and using drugs and doing poorly in school. Her older sister Renee has Jos transfer to a college near her and live at her house, Yellowfield House, which she shares with close friends. Renee plans on looking after Jos and making sure she stays on the right path. Renee is super watchful of Jos, almost mother-like and sometimes she’s really too much. She was just one the characters in this book that was over dramatic. As Jos goes to classes, she makes a best friend, a girl named Hannah whose face is severely scarred from burns. Hannah was a favorite character, her outlook was sassy and she didn’t hide her face and shy away from people because she was scarred. I think Hannah needs her own book in this series. It was interesting how a supporting character really stole the show here. Jos also meets a guy named Dusty Sharp. Dusty is funny, charismatic, dark and handsome with light eyes. He also beat boxes. Now this is when I came to realize that I am way to old for this book, but I digress. Dusty beat boxes. He is very good at it and even assists during a wedding proposal scene by adding beat box effects in the background. Don’t ask, I will get back to Dusty in a moment. Against her will Jos begins to fall for him of course, but the two resist the attraction. Jos and Dusty each have a secret they are keeping. When these secrets were revealed, they seemed over rated and the melodrama was too much, especially with Jos’s behavior. It became almost soap opera-like. Aside from the melodrama, I liked that Jos was into music and starts a music review blog. Her blogging and listening to music are nicely woven into the storyline. I have a bone to pick now. I was insulted by the way the author wrote Dusty’s character by giving him some really stereotypical traits. It is obvious by the cover that he is African-American or ethnic, as it is by her descriptions of him. I noticed the stereotyping right away. So, what does Dusty do? As I mentioned, he beat boxes. He also wears baggy, slouchy pants that are falling down and Jo even asks at one point how he keeps them up. He also wears baggy hooded sweatshirts. There is no mention of the other characters dressing this way in this book, which takes place in Maine. So, aside from the stereotyping of the one single dark-skinned male character, author Chelsea M. Cameron did a nice job at intertwining a group of characters and making them seem like real friends. I’ll give her that. If only she would have written Dusty differently, made him like the rest of the guys in the group. He is a regular guy after all. This one was not full of sex scenes, which was nice. Jos and Hannah are saving themselves for marriage and I liked seeing that in new adult romance, or anywhere really. I cannot remember the last time I read a character doing so. While I had qualms with Dusty’s character, the rest of the story was alright. Sweet, fluffy romance, but some characters did annoy me. Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my free review copy of My Sweetest Escape (My Favorite Mistake Book 2) by Chelsea M. Cameron via Amazon Vine.
Great book made me laugh and cry.
She used to be a straight-A student who wanted to change the world, but one night changed it all. Suddenly, she was all party and her grades plummet dramatically. Nine months later – she was still broken, and partying. When her family couldn’t take it anymore, she was ordered to transfer to a new college, under the supervision of her older sister, Renee. It was a fresh start, but it didn’t make her feel normal… Then here comes Dusty Sharp – he was always present everywhere she went. Stalker-ish? You might say it. But he’s determined to break the walls that surround her. If he’s patient enough, he MIGHT just probably do it, but Jos didn’t really think she deserves a happily ever after. Both have secrets of their own – secrets that might make or break whatever it is that is brewing between the two of them. Will both of them give in to their emotions? As the past finds its way back to Jos and Dusty - will the truth ruin it all for the both of them? THE DRIVING FORCE OF THE STORY - I wondered what happened to the perfect Jos Archer. What made her change her persona in an instant? What happened that night that had her world crumbled down in pieces? It had me reading, reading, loving each character along the way, not just Jos and Dusty- but the friend Jos meets unexpectedly: Hannah and everyone in the Yellowfield house. Renee may start out as a guard-dog-slash-jailer-slash-mom, but she only wants what was best for her. It may have took a long time before she opened up to anyone, most especially to her sister, but the scene was worth it (had me in near-tears). She is a great sister. Hannah was something else. She might have experienced tragedy and had marks to prove it- but her positive vibes will make you fall in love with her, and thankful enough Jos had her. She needed every positive thing she could get, Hannah (besides Dusty) provides the light in her dark world. I like Dusty and his perseverance to get into Jos nerves… ummm… or get her to open up to him. He didn’t give up, even when she pushed him away. TO END – I love the cover – it’s quite sexy and very much alluring. It makes me want to grab the book as soon as I have it on my reader, but since I had too many books lined up on my TBR list… Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading My Sweetest Escape. My heart went out to Jos and Dusty, and Hannah along the way. This is not just about love – it’s also about trust, friendship and family. It was a great ride, with a few bumps: the secrets, the past, the strain in relationships, and finally, the truth. No matter how much it hurts, the past will always remain where it is – THE PAST. So, live a little, seize the day and enjoy everything every day. ¿ARC Copy was given in exchange for an honest review.¿
I liked the story but wasn't impressed ....I had high hopes after reading My Favorite Mistake, but this was just so so. Not worth the $8.99
For those who follow my reviews closely, you’ll know that I’m a fan of Chelsea M. Cameron’s work. I’ve read a few of her other books, like My Favorite Mistake (the first in this two book “series”), and seem latch onto many of Cameron’s strengths when reading. One of my favorite things about this book was the main character, Jos Archer. I think the author did a great job writing all of her characters, both main and secondary, for this book, but Jos was one of my favorites. I guess that’s normal since she’s the narrator too. I really felt for her throughout everything that went on. I also liked her love of music, writing, and her other characteristics. Since this is a companion to My Favorite Mistake, we also get many of the characters introduced in that book. It was great get reacquainted with them and the college setting in Maine. One of Cameron’s strengths is setting, in my opinion. I’ll admit that I wasn’t too sold or charmed by Dusty, but I wasn’t totally turned off from him either. In a few key parts he irked me with his actions, but he’s also a great guy at the heart of it all. I can’t fault him too much. I’d be happy if Cameron were to revisit this series with another book. I think I know what character could take the lead, as well. I’d definitely be one of the first to grab that book.
My Sweetest Escape has some of the characters of the first book in the series, but this one focuses around a totally new couple, Jos Archer and her potential love interest, Dusty. I came in blind to this book as I hadn't read My Favorite Mistake, but I was not left feeling at a disadvantage for doing this. It is a strong standalone story. I am currently reading another Chelsea M Cameron book from a separate series that is equally as emotionally charged as My Sweetest Escape revealed itself to be although I found this book to slower at showing the character's dark secrets. The other book is Deeper We Fall. Both fully display the author's talent for spinning a heart wrenching yarn that doesn't have the same old tired new adult feel that some books have. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
To much like the first book.
Not as Good as the first book in this series "My Favorite Mistake". I don't know where these two characters came from? Jos, Renee's little sister, and Dusty, friend of Hunter, were not even in the first book. Jos and Dusty are connected by a person but you don't find out until much later in the story. Supposedly, both characters were very different 9 months ago and would never have gotten together. But now they are great for each other. I liked that you got to see how Hunter and Taylor are doing now. I hope, if there is a next book, it will be about Hannah because her story needs to be told and she needs a HEA
My Sweetest Escape is the second book in Chelsea M. Cameron's My Favorite Mistake series. It's a standalone series, but there's character overlap. I happened upon My Favorite Mistake, the first book, last year before I started blogging. It was a fantastic read, and the start of my love affair with Chelsea's books. Hunter and Taylor were such vibrant characters and their chemistry was fantastic. I hoped for more of the same with My Sweetest Mistake, but unfortunately it fell just a wee bit short for me. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the book. I did. I just didn't connect with the characters in the same way as I did the first. Jos Archer was the girl who had it all, but she's fallen apart, and been sent to live with her older sister, Renee so she can go to school and pull herself together. We never really get to know "perfect Jos," since the story begins after the night everything fell apart. It takes quite a bit of time before we find out exactly what happened that night and, when we do, it's understandable why she would be broken and feeling guilty. I felt sympathy for Jos, but I just didn't like her that much. Something about her really rubbed me the wrong way and I've been unable to figure out just what it was. She meets Dusty Sharp through her sister and her friends. He's a giant puzzle, but a yummy one (to me, at least). It took awhile until I got a read on him, he played everything pretty close, so it was difficult to figure him out. But once I did, I adored him. He and Jos have an immediate attraction and, in the end, have more in common than I originally thought. They worked well together. What I truly loved about the book was that we truly got to know a lot of characters. Taylor and Hunter are back, as are Renee, Paul, Darah and Mase. And my new favorite secondary character ever: Hannah. Hannah needs her own book. She was amazing. Sassy, spunky and real... and a fantastic friend to Jos. I'm so sick of bad girlfriend behavior in books, so Hannah truly was a breath of fresh air. I love how the dynamics of these characters was explored. The relationships and friendships felt real. The dialogue was great. The only thing was, I felt like sometimes all these characters overshadowed Jos and Hunter, but I don't know that it's a bad thing. As I've come to expect from Chelsea, My Sweetest Escape was well-written, with well-developed and interesting characters. It was a fair bit angsty, a little sexy and had a surprising twist that connected the characters and truly shocked me. It was a good, quick, read. I hope there's more to this series (cough, Hannah, cough) because I do find it enjoyable. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Heart wrenching, beautiful, and enjoyable. This book was an enjoyable and quick read. I really enjoyed My Favorite Mistake and knew that this one would be just as good. I did find myself a little perplexed as to why the author picked these two characters and not two of the others that ended up living in the house or being friends with Hunter and Taylor but it still was an enjoyable read. I enjoyed the story because frankly I am a little bit tired of all these tortured soul books and these bad boys that have no reason to be douche bags. I enjoyed reading the banter between Jos and Dusty it was light and refreshing. I loved Hannah she was a fierce friend and a even better side character that added something so different to this story. The relationship was believable and the way they found romance was great it didn’t seem like something that could have never happened in life. The sex wasn’t in your face and it wasn’t unbelievable. I love the romantic aspect of this book more than anything in this world and was so happy that it wasn’t just all in your face orgasm after unbelievable orgasm. This book was a sweet little romance where the story was in the forefront and the sex took a back seat. This story was a good one but what stopped me from giving it a perfect score was that sometimes things seemed so long that I was reading and saying it’s only 20% left in the book will these two ever reveal their secrets and when they did and the relationship plateaued it seemed like it all happened so fast that I reached the end of the book and was wondering what happened.
I enjoyed the book but wasn't very impressed with it. I had higher expectations for this book. It's very well written though. I'd love to see Hannah get her own book/novella.
Disappointing follow up to her previous book, "My Favorite Mistake." There was little interaction between Dusty and Jos. I really wanted to like this book, but it fell way short of my expectations. The only thing that kept me reading this book, was the secondary character Hannah. She really gave the book heart.
4 Stars! Like always Chelsea did a bang up job. I absolutely loved My Favorite Mistake, the first book in this series and this wasn't any different. I fell in love with Dusty. He was like the bad boy, but not exactly the bad boy, bad boy who doesn't do anything really bad in the present, but has done somewhat bad things in the past. He seemed extremely hot, I'm not one for extremely baggy pants, like his in the book, it's not really my thing, but other than that everything about him was hot. He was nice, protective, and swoon-worthy. Jos was not what I thought should would be. When I found out there was going to be a second book and it was going to be Renee's sister, I thought she was going to be like Taylor and Renee's friends, as in dress like them and their personalities would be somewhat the same, but I was wrong. Jos was a guarded, snappy, dark thoughts along with alternative dress ware. As I read though, she wasn't always who she was in the present during this book. She used to dress differently and live a different lifestyle. Truthfully I like the person she was in the book than who she was in her past, the person we didn't get to see. I didn't quite like her past self. I really liked the characters in this book and how we get to see more about Taylor and the rest of the bunch in this book. The only reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 stars is because I wish we would've seen more of a relationship between Jos and Dusty. They had a very explosive chemistry that they both fought for most of the book, But in my opinion they fought it too much and didn't get to see them together as much as I would have liked. I like being able to see the two main characters together in a relationship and see them get to know each other and banter. It makes books capture my attention more when they're like that. I loved this book, I just wish they didn't fight what they felt for so long. Otherwise, I love this book and hope to see more in this series and more books produced in the future from Chelsea. I will always be a follower of her books, they're that good. So congrats Chelsea, you did a wonderful job, continue to make writing magic! *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review
My rating: 3 of 5 ¿¿ First off I have to note that the characters were younger than I had anticipated, but I didn't find that a deterrent, surprisingly. The issues facing Jos are very vague and do not become fully clear until the final few chapters, so be prepared to be guessing a lot of different scenarios in her history..... I did. I have to admit I did not read the first book in this series and therefore don't know if I would have come away a bit wiser regarding her plight, but I don't think it would have made much of a difference to me. She has obviously has gone through a massive transformation and gone from a 'by the rules' kinda girl, to a 'live and let loose' attitude, which concerns her parents and sister. She is delegated to the care of her older sister since her parents apparently are too busy with spouse number whatever, and seem happy enough passing her off. Sister dear takes on the tough parent role, which is a bit hard to swallow, since she can't be much more than a few years older, alienating Jos and not really helping the situation. Jos hasn't and will not talk about what happened to make her change her ways so drastically. Enter Dusty. A friend of one of the sisters' housemates and former bad boy, who has had a change of heart and attitude for the better. His interest in Jo's is pretty obvious but 'little sister-syndrome' and some friendly promises made, have him stopping at the threshold, driving Jos batty. She doesn't know whether he is coming or going.....but then neither does he. Dusty claims to have his own issues and his turnaround had roots in a tragic loss of some sort that everyone stays pretty 'mum' about as well. Coolest chick of the entire book is Hanna, a new friend Jos makes and a girl who has learned to cope in a kickass way. Her story is a pretty traumatic one and beats them all hands down, but she deals like a trooper. I hope she has her own book coming, because that is one I would enjoy reading. As for Jos and Dusty, after some push and pull, their lives are already closer entwined than they could have imagined, and as the secrets come spilling out, their relationship may not survive. What disappointed me after reading the entire book, was the relatively mild nature of the issue Jos was struggling with. I could have imagined many other things reason for all the secrecy, this would not be one of them though..... Well written, and as stated before, if Hanna gets her own book, I'm on board.
4.5 stars I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Jos is suffering from the loss of her best friend. She blames herself for the things that happened to cause this loss. She has decided to live her life day by day instead of living for the future. She has moved in with her sister and the rest of the gang. Since everyone seems to thing that Jos is spiraling out of control, they keep a close eye on her and everything she does. Enter Dusty. He is sarcastic and attractive. The last thing Jos wants on her plate. She really tries her best to avoid him. The feelings he stirs inside her are dangerous and she doesn't want to have them. Dusty. He has suffered and made mistakes. He has put his life on the right track. He is more than interested in getting to know Jos. He will put himself in any position that will get him closer to getting to know this knew person. The friendships and relationships that are built in this book are strong. But as always, there are secrets. Secrets that will either tear Jos and Dusty apart from one another before they even come together or they will bring them closer together. Secrets in this book show that it really is a small world after all! I really liked this book. I just could not put it down! And I wasn't disappointed in any way! This book is different from the first. It does have the characters from the first, but it isn't centered around them. It is equally as good as the first book though!