There’s a very rare feeling I get every time I open a Colleen Hoover book, a cross between trepidation and elation, because I know she is not only going to run my heart over with the plotline itself, but also blow my mind with its uniqueness. And once more, she did just that. In her true fashion, Ms Hoover has given us another terrific page-turner, a multifaceted storyline built entirely on the evolving relationship between its two charismatic key players, and the fated ties binding them to each other. Through engaging dialogues, quirky character traits, and this author’s signature humour, we are given yet another tremendous love story that is written in the stars, moving and captivating, incredibly original as always, and a most definite must-read.
“You think we’ll ever see each other again?”
“I hope so. I would be lying if I said I’m not already plotting to hunt you down when you’re twenty-three. But five years is a long time, Fallon. Who knows what could happen between now and then. Hell, I didn’t even have hair on my nuts five years ago.”
From the moment Fallon O’Neil and Benton James Kessler’s eyes met in a busy LA restaurant, they knew nothing would be the same again. A former teen actress whose acting career came to a standstill when she was sixteen years old due to an accident that left her scarred and emotionally broken, Fallon meets aspiring writer Benton on the eve of a cross-country move that is meant to give her back control over her own life, and a chance to follow her dreams once more. But one smile is all it takes for Benton to pull Fallon from the shadows in which she’s been hiding for the past two years, and only a handful of hours in each other’s company to turn the anniversary of the worst day of her life into a day she will look forward to for years to come. They part ways agreeing to meet up for the next five years on the same day, with no contact whatsoever in between, promising to each other they’d live their lives to the fullest, experiencing everything they should be experiencing at their age, but sharing that one day a year with one another until they both turn twenty-three.
“We’re only eighteen. I’m moving to New York. We barely know each other. And I promised my mother I wouldn’t fall in love with anyone until I’m twenty-three.”
So year after year, they meet on the same day, each year life changing them a little bit more, but their bond only grows stronger and stronger, making it harder and harder to say goodbye to one another each time. Their every reunion spurs them to work on themselves when they are apart, giving them the strength to face whatever life throws their way, and the confidence to become better people. They see past every mask, every act of bravado, every insecurity they each hide from the rest of the world, becoming each other’s refuge and greatest source of courage…as well as heartbreak.
“I thought I was tougher than a word. But I just discovered that having to say goodbye to you is one of the hardest things to do.”
But some stories end where they should have begun, as this is a story as much of happenstance as it is of life’s grand design, and from the moment Fallon and Benton’s lives cross paths, their fates are set in stone. It’s a love story born out of tragedy, a story of hope born out of pain, a story of forgiveness born out of pure, unadulterated love. By perfectly pacing each second of this riveting tale, Ms Hoover is not only allowing us to fall in live with these characters slowly and organically, but also to entertain a thousand different scenarios in our heads before the truth is finally unveiled, keeping us glued to the pages with the sheer charm of her distinctive prose. I loved the twists and turns in the end, the way all the puzzle pieces suddenly come together and shed a new light on everything. I had a small and very personal resistance to frequent mentions of literary devices in order to highlight their very lack of in this story, as amusing as they were on occasion, but not enough to pull me entirely out of the storyline or even distract me from the scene at hand. I have no doubt whatsoever that this will be another huge hit for an author who keeps delivering fresh, exceptionally written stories that never fail to dazzle.
“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.”