by J. A. Redmerski
Published: February 4, 2014
My rating: 4.5 of 5 ⭐️
Friends since their first encounter at nine years old, Elias and Bray have stayed close. Other than using each other for practise, they never developed into something more, always to scared to risk their friendship. It wasn't until much later, when after a long separation they finally gave in to what had been obvious for so long.
Enjoying their new status as a couple brings some jealousy to the surface within a group of friends. As a result of a horrible accident on a group camping trip, Bray and Elias decide to take off and leave everything and everyone behind. With only their car and a limited amount of money they hit the road.
But when they end up without money and car, at the mercy of two brothers and their group of girlfriends, second thoughts begin to set in. Rather than straightening out their troubles, hanging around with the new group only seems to bring them more problems.
When the choice is taken away from them and Bray is taken away in handcuffs, Elias isn't sure whether he will ever see her again......
It will tear your heart up......it will put a smile on your face.....it will shock and disgust you......it will lift your spirits..... This book will have you run the gamut of emotions and impressions, thoughts and feelings. It will test your limits of understanding and empathy and your knowledge of mental illness and it's devastating effects, and if you will allow for an open mind and spare your judgements, just go with the flow, you will hopefully find yourself as invested in this book as I was.
It didn't start out that way, I had a bit of trouble early on, getting into the characters and the flow of the story. I didn't get the depth of the emotional issues early on.... and therefore couldn't grasp some of the behavior or reactions. Once I realized we were dealing with a mental illness, and one I am actually quite familiar with, all the pieces of the puzzle started coming together, and what seemed unexplained irrational behavior before, was now explained.
Yes this is a love story, but it is also a story about living with a crippling disease that is invisible to the eye. One that has a tremendous amount of stigma attached to it and therefore the person who suffers it becomes tainted with that stigma as well. Enter Bray......who was more known and judged and treated for the symptoms of her illness, than she was for the illness itself. Left to cope by herself from an early age on, it is no wonder that judgement may not always have been sound or wise. Where were her examples?
Her only true constant had always been Elias, who saw her as she was and never asked, wanted or loved anything else, just her. Elias has always known Bray had something special, it was precisely the reason he loved her. His is something of an obsession and although for a while he tries to give Bray her space when she demands, he is willing to completely throw out his own sense of right, his own moral compass, to appease her ........or rather her anxiety. It takes him quite a while to grow a bit of a spine and set out some rules, but with someone as unstable as Bray, he has to tread a fine line.
The supporting cast was equally intriguing and at the same time disturbing. A group of young people who seemed to be trying everything and anything to escape. Whether it be the boring daily realities of their lives or some tragedy, or as in the case of Bray and Elias, a terrible lapse in judgement. They even encounter Andrew and Cameron, familiar faces for us from THE EDGE OF NEVER and THE EDGE OF ALWAYS. The scenes they feature in will be easily recognized by those who have read the books.
The writing is once again fabulous, J. A. Redmerski does not disappoint. The story is much darker and more disturbing than what the previous two books have shown. But the subject matter requires it. And it remains a beautiful story, as long as you are willing to travel the painful road with Elias and Bray. That's about as real as life can get.
✨A dark, dangerous and hauntingly beautiful love story.✨
**ARC provided by NetGalley and Forever in return for an honest review.**