”A long time ago, I’d learned I was good at “handling” life. I didn’t excel at it, and I certainly didn’t thrive at it, but I could handle life and everything it had thrown at me.
My secret? I’d simply accepted that life was pain.”
Rowan is young woman who puts up a front for the world. On the outside she looks strong, uncaring, dark, or a “freak” as many call her. She has gotten into her fair share of trouble and her mother has never known how to deal with her. All Rowan wants is to go to art school, so to “prove herself” to her mother, she must go work on The Walker’s family ranch in Montana.
Once she gets to Montana, Rowan meets Jesse Walker. Oh. My. God. Jesse Walker… he is the epitome of a hot cowboy in his hat, boots, and tight wranglers. He’s described as Brad Pitt inLegends of the Fall… ummm yeah, I can be down with that. So anyways, Jesse is intense, honest, and confident and immediately I liked him. He isn’t just the typical southern gentlemen type that can get boring with the calling everybody “ma’am” all the time. He’s snarky and funny and really keeps Rowan on her toes with their constant banter. Their romance is so beautiful; I just absolutely adored them together.
"I’ve only known you a couple of days. That’s not that long at all. I don’t know you well enough to pretend like I know you and your problems. But I want to know you. I want to know your problems. That is… if you want to know me.”
Besides Jesse, the whole Walker family is really awesome. Rose, Jesse’s mom was definitely one of my favorite parts of the story. Since Rowan’s mom really sucks and has never been much of a mother to her at all, she is in desperate need of some motherly love and guidance. Rose really gave that to her throughout the story, but the best part was, it was completely natural. She doesn’t force anything on Rowan or demand she act or do something a certain way, she just makes Rowan think.
“But you’re wrong about one thing. This summer isn’t your chance to prove yourself to your mom.” Leaning back just far enough my face was in front of hers. Rose’s eyes locked on mine. “This summer is your chance to prove yourself to you.”
“You’re no more a freak than I am. You’re just as much a freak as I am, too. Don’t let some ignorant name you’ve heard directed your way define you. You define you.” She pressed her finger into my face. “Stop playing the victim and live your life.”
The characters are really what make this book so special. I felt a connection to Rowan, Jesse, Rose, and many of the others. The development is steady and believable and just perfect. Rowan comes off dark, but she really does have so much light in her and I love how that is revealed little by little. She was a phenomenal narrator for this story and I loved going through her journey to know herself better. Although I wasn’t surprised by the events that transpired as I read them, I was surprised by the way this book made me feel. I wasn’t expecting what I got and it was in the best possible way. This book just left me with such a good feeling. I loved it!
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