Author: Deb Caletti
Series: Stand Alone
Published: Available now from Simon Pulse
Source: Galley Grab
Description: Clara's relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it's almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is—and what he's willing to do to make her stay. Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won't let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....
I Give This ...
I really wanted to love this book. Finally, a story that paints the possessive and controlling boy the way he should be. I wanted to see it in this genre because this type of hehavior does not equal love and devotion. And in the end, it can be very hard to walk away.
In all reality, I though the author does a fantastic job telling us the back story. The book switches back and forth from the present to the past. Clara is already at the beach with her father and she's struggling with her thoughts on what has happened. We gradually get flashbacks of her relationship with Christian. I think the author gets it right. Christian seems wonderful at first, the perfect boyfriend. He's very slow to show his true colors. I think the first couple of time, Clara writes it off and vows to be more careful with what she says and does. By the time he is in full control, the relationship has been going on for so long that Clara doesn't know how to leave. She loves him and thinks he loves her. In her head, she's the one that needs to be better. Which is so how this often works. (I had a friend who was in an abusive relationship in high school. She ultimately died from an accident that occurred because she was unable to tell him no. Something Clara says in this story sounded like something my friends said to her mom right before the accident).
Ultimately, it was the present tense that I just couldn't get into. Clara's behavior just didn't fit with the same person we meet in the flashbacks. For someone who just got out of a controlling relationship (and the one before that seemed abusive), she seems to jump right into the next one. I liked Finn, and he really seemed to understand Clara. Even after Clara tells him what happened, he takes it all in stride. But, it was too soon. I didn't trust Clara's judgement, even if Finn really is a great guy. Granted, there are still times you can tell Christian's voice is still in her head telling her what to say and do. I think she would have been more like that the entire time.
I also thought the side story with her father was distracting. It was too much going on it one book. If the focus would have been Clara, her relationship with Christian and Finn, I think it would have felt more even. For Clara to have to endure all she does in the story is just overload. She handles it all beautifully though, and I'm sure she's a much stronger women because of it.