ABOUT THE BOOK
After surviving a tragic shooting that took her mother’s life, eight-year-old Austen Cole’s life is turned upside down by the haunting memories of that traumatic Fourth of July night.
Now, when the seventeen-year-olds self-destructive behavior gets her into trouble, it’s the son of the retired cop who saved her that tries coming to her rescue before she wastes the second chance at life she was given.
But not even twenty-two-year-old Noah Kingsley can help the snarky girl who insists she doesn’t need anybody.
This gripping book starts off with a horrible tragedy that took my breath away. B. Celeste is another new author for me and I was wrecked by this very raw telling of a young girl trying to heal from a traumatic event.
Austen Cole has tried to cope with the stigma of being a victim of a mass shooting at a Fourth of July event ten years ago which also took her mother. Unfortunately, the constant questions from friends and media over the years have spiraled her into bad behavior. Her reputation is in shambles and her relationship with her dad is strained. There are a coveted few in her life that has her back and do the best they can to be there when she needs them. It’s all up to Austen to accept their help and find her place in life to heal.
The reader follows 17-year-old Austen on a devastating and enlightening journey to self-love and self-acceptance. Her tumultuous relationship with Noah Kingsley, the 22-year-old son of the wonderful policeman who saved her that tragic day, is changing from friends to something more. But Noah feels he’s too old for her and he has another life as he studies to be a lawyer while Austen completes high school and enrolls in college. Not to mention Noah has a girlfriend who doesn’t approve of their relationship. The push and pull between Noah and Austen is frankly exhausting and underwhelming and I was hoping for something more significant and engrossing, but it fell short for me.
Austen is the star of this book. She is so strong and reckless and my heart broke each time she had a setback, but her transformation is beautiful and rewarding as she comes full circle and becomes an advocate for victims like her.
This story wouldn’t be complete without the supporting characters. Austen’s brother and dad also struggle with the past tragedy in their own way and I love seeing them grow as well. The Kingsleys are an awesome family who are so kind and giving to Austen and her family. I loved Austen’s relationship with Noah’s mom, Elizabeth, who gives Austen the maternal love she needs at such a vulnerable age. Also, Noah’s kind and compassionate dad, Ben, gives Austen some stability when her dad is dealing with his own issues.
I highly recommend this candid look at an honest and turbulent depiction of how various people react and recover from tragedy. Pick up this unforgettable book, you won’t be disappointed.
Thank you to Ms. Celeste for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
B. Celeste is a new adult and contemporary romance author that gives voices to raw, realistic characters with emotional storylines that tug on the heartstrings.
She was born and raised in upstate New York where she still resides with her four-legged feline sidekick, Oliver “Ollie” Queen. Her love for reading and writing began at an early age and only grew stronger after getting a BA in English and an MFA in English & creative writing. When she’s not writing, she’s working out, binge-watching reality game shows, and spending time with her friends and family.