FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours.
Series: The Walker Boys #1
February 27, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
Two hearts, one life-changing summer, and a long-awaited second chance...
When Quinnlan Reynolds left home at 18, she escaped her small, Georgia town and her suffocating upbringing. She started a new life as a ballerina, and tasted freedom for the first time. But four years later, her first visit home turns tragic. Reeling, Quinn tries to piece her life back together again. But doing so is easier said than done when sexy Jonah Walker saunters back into her life.
Quinn shattered Jonah’s heart once, so getting involved with her isn’t something he’s sure he’s ready to do again. He became someone he didn’t recognize when he left home. He’s spent the last years burying his pain by keeping everyone in his life at arm’s length. Now he needs to get to know his family again, and finally become who he wants to be.
But neither Quinn or Jonah can stay away from each other, especially when old feelings resurface. Something is pulling them back together, and they can’t deny their chemistry for long. One Georgia summer could change both their lives forever, if they can work through their past to have a future together.
When a tragic accident traps Quinn in her hometown again, the last thing she’s ready to deal with is the heart she broke when she left. Jonah was her first and only true love, but her leaving did more damage than either one of them thinks can be repaired. But as much as they hurt each other, they can’t help but be drawn back in. This time, though, Quinn has to heal old wounds, and Jonah has a few fences of his own to mend before either one of them can move forward.
I don’t know. The premise was good, and initially I was sucked right in, but as more and more of the story unfolded, I just started losing interest in the story and disconnecting with the characters.
I first noticed an issue with the dialogue. In conversations that should have been heavy with emotion, in which a character was trying to mend fences and placed his or her heart on the line, the words ended up sounding rehearsed instead of flustered and from the heart. It was as if they’d been coached to say the perfect, most logical thing for a positive resolution, and it left me feeling like I’d lost what could have been an intense moment.
Another problem I had was the time jumps. One moment, Quinn was in a hospital, then home and using crutches, and then walking on her own. Likewise, resuming her relationship with Jonah went from barely being able to stand each other to agreeing to be friends to jumping into bed. It’s not that I wanted every tedious minute described for me, but in jumping ahead by days or weeks, I didn’t really get to see them work up to a reconnection. Sure, I expected to see them back together, but half the fun of reading a book that reunites two former flames is seeing the path they take to get there. It just felt like they teleported to the next stop instead of taking a few steps forward.
The final straw for me was the reason behind the whole mess and how it made Quinn look like more of a drama queen than anything. After chapter upon chapter of hearing how Quinn just had to leave town and how she and Jonah had hurt each other so badly, it boiled down to practically nothing. Her mom was emotionally abusive and belittling, and she slapped Quinn once. At that, Quinn decided to leave town without explanation to Jonah, and they had an argument that was the equivalent of, “Fine, go. I didn’t like you that much anyway.” That was the big secret, the big hurt, the reason they both left home and abandoned their families and didn’t speak for years. And that’s where they just lost me. I’m sure I was supposed to understand that Quinn was damaged by her mother’s abuse, but it just didn’t come across as strongly as it should have, and I ended up not understanding her at all.
The thing is, I liked both characters plenty before the anticlimactic reveal. I liked their families, the way they seemed drawn back to each other, the rather mature way they decided to try being friends. The plot had so much potential. But it felt like they could have just said they were sorry, explained that they reacted like melodramatic teenagers, and then moved on to happily ever after. It’s not like anyone cheated or betrayed or lied or kept a secret about addiction or murder or whether a pair of jeans made anyone look fat. They just threw away a solid, lengthy relationship in a dramatic fit, spent years dwelling on all that nothing, and then dragged each other through more uncertainty and angst for the hell of it.