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There's nothing original in the premise. Troubled, angry hero meets sweet, beautiful heroine in high school and an unlikely friendship forms. A few years later, the friendship becomes something more one night and the following day the hero vanishes - ostensibly to protect the heroine from his bad self. In his defence, the boy has had a rough go most of his life, but can't see the forest for the trees.
Told in flashbacks after a chance meeting eight years later, we learn who Michael (Del) and Lauren were as kids and who they've become in the space between. And the progress is slow and fairly low-key, up until past the 80% mark, but it delivers the feels in its own time.
This is a slow-burn romance, but they eventually get their HEA. It's very sweet and believable, but matter-of-fact rather than exciting.
My biggest complaint with the book was the portrayal of Michael's almost 4 year old daughter. No child that age is so articulate or reasonable, and she should have been aged up to at least 6 or 7. Also, it's not likely a woman who taught preschool for a living would leave the house with a sick 3-and-a-half year old alone and unattended in the living room while the child's father slept in the bedroom.
The book is narrated in third person, mostly in Lauren's POV, and perhaps that is why I felt pretty detached from the characters. But the story is a simple read and the sexual content is late in the story and not graphic. The language is mild as well and there are few glaring editing issues. This is a perfect book for a break from all the OTT drama and explicit, nonstop sex that seems to be all the rage these days.
This is why I read. This is it. I just melt into a puddle on the floor for a good second chance romance story. I'm still on the floor. OH. MY. STARS! I didn't want it to end. I want to rewind and read it again.
Priscilla Glenn's writing is music to my book reader mind. She manages to capture the littlest moments and gestures in her writing. She doesn't go over the top with her storyline, and that's what I love the most about her writing. You read about real experiences and real feelings. The emotions these characters were feeling were jumping off the page. It's the little things that mean the most and that definitely rings true in her writing.
"You get selective amnesia when it comes to Del."
I knew I'd love the book when I read that quote. To me, that said unconditional love. Lauren was full of unconditional love for this guy. He was the bad boy....go figure...
"And she couldn't help but smile at the irony of the fact that the baddest boy in school could somehow always make her feel like the world was good."
In Back to You we meet Lauren and Michael. They were best friends in high school and now eight years later after what I guess you could call a "falling out" they meet again. There's a lot of tension between the two at first, but it's obvious they both have lingering feelings for each other. Lauren is single and pursuing her masters degree. Michael is single dad who is working full time and furthering his education. Their paths cross at Lauren's new job which is Michael's daughters new daycare. Lauren and Michael's history is uncovered through flashbacks. I really loved the way the flashbacks were thrown in. They were woven into the story at the perfect time.
Michael had a troubled childhood. He didn't have a dad around, his brother died, and his mom treats him like trash. He has emotional issues that he struggles with as a teenager as a result of some of his traumatic experiences. Lauren is the only person that ever reached out to free of judgment. She quickly becomes the most important person to him in his life. It's a relationship he really doesn't want to screw up, but he feels like that's all he ever does. Lauren has it bad for Michael. It's obvious. She doesn't think he feels the same, but eventually the lines become blurred for both of them.
"But Lauren had been crossing lines with Michael for as long as she could remember. And she knew from experience that once she did, it was virtually impossible to go back."
For most of the story, you are seeing Michael and Lauren struggle to rebuild their past friendship. It's tough for them because they are both avoiding the real issue that tore them apart so many years ago.
I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that these two had my heart in a twist for the whole story. Lauren's heartbreak nearly tore me in half. I definitely shed a few tears for the girl. One of the things that really caught me about the book was Michael's comment "You're speaking in hindsight." Wouldn't we all love to write a letter to our 18 year old selves and fill ourselves in on all the things that we should have done differently? That's just not how it works in real life and that's something that both characters have to come to terms with. Hindsight's 20/20. Also, I really enjoyed reading about Michaels daughter Erin. She was precious. One of the sweetest moments in the whole book is at the end with Erin. Crazy sweet moment. *sigh*
This is a beautiful story about reunited love, redemption, and forgiveness. It's about loving someone unconditionally despite their flaws. More importantly, it's about moving forward.