Blythe has never recovered from a traumatic event that killed her parents and permanently injured her brother four years ago. She carries all the guilt on her shoulders and she can barely keep her head above water. That is, until the day she meets two of the Shepherd brothers, each affecting her in ways she could never imagine, and allowing her to breathe once again.
To start off, I'd just like to say that I wasn't sure I wanted to read this book. First, the title is a bit daunting and even though, yes, the story is dark, the title is just a metaphor. Second, I've read the Flat-Out series and while good, I just wasn't sure I was interested in more of the same. Thankfully, this book is much, much better. While the Flat-Out series was more of the minor leagues, Jessica Park has seriously stepped up into the major leagues with this book. Yep, it's that good!
It was a bit crazy reading how damaged Blythe was and it takes a bit to get her full story. The interesting part is that we get all these clues and pieces of the puzzle as we go along. The fun part is trying to figure out how everything will fit together. And I love how Jessica Park did that!
It was a little disconcerting at how quickly and somewhat easily, Blythe came out of her "brokenness". That's not to say that she didn't struggle but she never had any setbacks and for the most part everything worked out. The only real problem was her dependence on Chris. She did talk a good talk though...and she almost made us...and herself believe all that stuff she was spewing. But who was she kidding? Still, it was fantastic seeing how everything developed and evolved.
Chris is an interesting character and probably even more broken than Blythe. You get that feel right from the beginning but his story takes even longer to get to. His feelings for Blythe seem true but then some drama happens...I would have loved his POV at that point.
The rest of the Shepherd clan are just as wonderful. Sabin was my favorite but you just knew what kind of trouble he was coming up against. I did love his relationship with "B". Estelle...again, you could see the trouble she was in but I loved her "sisterhood" with Blythe and how she was so giving. I will never forget "Neon Jesus". Eric seemed to be the one with his head screwed on right but there just couldn't be one to come out unfazed. I was happy with his relationship with Zach because it was nice having one normal person.
James is Blythe's brother and he has his own problems. His relationship with Blythe is not good in the beginning but as she gets better, so does things between them. It was wonderful seeing them work towards getting their relationship back to where it was and even better.
Another problem was both these families have a ton of money...it makes things very convenient even if it is understandable as to why. It would have been more real - or relatable to have them not have things so easily.
And WOW was I surprised at the steamy scenes! I am very impressed with JP because as you know (or may not), there are no steamy scenes in Flat-Out Love. Now, Flat-Out Matt does have a bit but still I was not prepared. And I loved every minute...and I'm quite jealous! Yet again, it bothered me that it wasn't quite realistic. I know, I know...it's a fictional story but still.
The drama between Chris and Blythe totally took me by surprise! I did not see that coming and I was shocked at how long it lasted! WTH? But I also loved it because I eat up all that emotional drama! However, it was a bit of a letdown at how easily (again) it was resolved.
The last twenty percent is action packed and we finally get all our answers. I did love the way we were filled in with how everyone was doing as Blythe did her marathon. I loved how they were there for each other!
So, a few minor complaints but overall, I really enjoyed the story. The "connections" between Chris and Blythe were well thought out and I loved how JP put them all together. (The urchin = brilliant!)
♥ "My shirt … found a new home.”
♦ "You are safe, sweet girl."
♥ “Being with you let me feel, feel everything, and I needed that. I remembered better with you, I healed better with you, and you made … you made everything real.”
♥ “You are the great love of my life that I’m never going to have.”
♥ “We’re like … puzzle pieces that fit together.””
I'm really looking forward to this one now! Great review.