Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 20, 2012)
Reviewed by: Judith
I rarely tell you my rating of a book before the review but here it is: 10 stars. No, wait! It’s this new category I’ve just created called: there aren’t enough stars in the world to fully describe how much I adore this book. It is amazing, y’all! Sweet, well written, full of longing and tension, a bitter love story in the past with a sad ending that turns out beautifully in the present. God, just stop reading my review now and get it. I’ll wait. Here’s the link to help you on your way. Got it? Ready? Good, because you’re going to devour this book in hours and then swoon, and do it all over again the next day. And maybe the next too.
Plot: While studying to be a child psychologist, Lauren begins a new job at a local daycare and is shocked on the first day when a ghost from her past walks in to drop off his daughter. She hasn’t seem him in 9 years but as soon as she sets eyes on Michael Delaney, Lauren knows that the feelings she once had for him in high school are still there. Back in the beginning of their friendship, Lauren knew that all Michael needed was someone to love him. His volatile behavior set everyone on edge and had the whole school gossiping, but Lauren went out of her way to befriend him and over the next three years the two became inseparable. Michael never told her how he feels for her but Lauren was desperately in love with him and finally acts on her feelings before he leaves home after high school graduation. Fast forward 9 years later and Lauren is still reeling from the aftereffects of their last confrontation. It effects every relationship she has and when she finally begins a relationship with a sweet, caring chiropractor, Michael’s reappearance in her life threatens to ruin a good thing and her future yet again. Will Lauren finally be able to let go of Michael Delaney or is their past too much for her to let go?
Review: Let me preface my review with: this will be the first time ever that I am reviewing a book classified as “contemporary romance” on this blog. We’re usually strictly YA around here but this book is sooooo good, sooooo well written, soooo soooo soooo riveting that I’ve let the romance aspects of it slide. There’s a whole lot of YA, about half the book is set in the main characters’ high school pasts, so we’re reviewing it!
Now that I’ve got that out in the open, I have to say again: I LOVE THIS BOOK. It is the perfect balance between YA and romance, and contains some of the most poignant love scenes I have ever read. The love Michael and Lauren had in high school is unrequited and brimming with a desire and tension that is deliciously palpable. The constant will they, won’t they aspect of their past drives their young love story from hot to volatile. And the beauty is, their relationship begins and grows so naturally that it feels effortless, as if these two characters can’t do anything except be friends and hopefully one day lovers. Lauren knows from the moment she sees him that Michael is special. She doesn’t see the juvenile delinquent who overthrows tables in class or spends his afternoons drinking with loose girls. She sees someone who is better than his circumstances and worth redemption. Her trust in who he is inside is well placed since Michael flourishes with her. He is loving, protective, sweet, intelligent, in short the perfect guy. Too bad that so many bad memories surround him. Michael is determined to get out of his surroundings at the first possible moment and stop destroying everything he comes into contact with, even if it means forcing himself to give up the only good thing in his life, Lauren. He’s so freaking gorgeous, and sweet, and perfect that I just want to reach back into my own past and befriend the school delinquent so hopefully the same thing will happen to me!
And let me tell you: when their story of unrequited love finally makes it to the present and Lauren’s forced to face the feelings she still has for Michael?! Oh my goodness you are going to need to do whatever it is you do to cool off because this is when their relationship becomes incendiary! It’s a replay of their of high school years but with vastly different consequences. Throw into the mix a hot chiropractor who is tender and determined to make Lauren love him and Michael’s daughter who is a whole other type of enticement and you’ve got an effortlessly delicious book that you won’t be able to put down.
Oh! And did I mention it’s beautifully written? The chapters flow seamlessly between the past and present, between Lauren’s voice and Michael’s, and like every aspect of this book, Back To You is just effortlessly beautiful.
So yeah, 10000000000000000 stars it is.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 10. Lauren is pitch perfect as the girl trying to get over the ultimate high school crush. She’s mature and smart, knowing that the mistakes she made with Michael can’t follow her or she’ll never
find true love. She puts aside her own wants and feelings to help Michael and his daughter and is just the perfect fit for him.
How much did I like the love interest:10. Ahhh, Michael. You’re the bad boy trying to turn his life around and you even have a cutie pants daughter to help you! You’re sweet and loving and well spoken and funny. You don’t stop cursing around Lauren even though you probably should put away the potty mouth and you’re trying to better yourself by working construction while going to engineering school. Every time you’re in a scene my heart just melts…you’re the perfect hero and impossible as it sounds, you’re not cloying or annoying in any way! You just stay perfect.
How believable is the plot: 10. The unrequited first love reconnecting with you in the present. God, I love it! It’s overused but here it feels fresh and new.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. Flawlessly written. There is only one spelling mistake that I was hardpressed to find. Amazing dialogue, seamless transition between past and present, and Michael and Lauren’s points of views.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. There was an epilogue that made it pretty clear how the book turns out but I would still read anything showing Michael and Lauren’s relationship between the end of the book and that epilogue
Final Score: MORE STARS THAN YOU COULD EVER COUNT.