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Cross My Heart Kindle Edition
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|Length: 306 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Wow. What a surprise. Lately, I've been on kind of a rollercoaster ride with indie books. It's sort of like that game of plucking petals from daisies - love one, love one not - and after a strong start at the beginning of the year with a ton of indies I loved, I've been a little gun shy as of late. But, yay for me, maybe the drought is over.
So, this novel wasn't perfect. There's a twist in it which seemed a bit contrived and I wasn't surprised to learn the author had some difficulty formulating the twist until well into writing the book. It shows. I'm not going to reveal the twist, I try to stay away from spoilers when possible, and I think this one is intergral to the story. However, I will say that it could have used more time to develop. Clues should have been sprinkled throughout the story to avoid the complete change in direction this novel took. It was jarring and came out of left field.
There were some scenes which could have used a better edit; some occasional tense issues, where it was unclear whether it was past or present; and some grammatical issues, but nothing that pulled me from the story.
The beauty of this novel lies with its character and I love that Katie Klein took her time and allowed the relationship between Jaden and Parker to evolve organically. In fact, though the signs are there, we aren't really even given a glipse into their prospective love story until around the 50% mark and it's some time later that it actually blossoms. It's clear that the author enjoyed these characters and gave them a great deal of consideration. They were flawed, but not crazy-broken, and they had real fears and real struggles.
Secondary characters were also well fleshed out. Jaden's family was fun to get to know and were as real as my own: quirky and over-protective, selfish and loving. It was a nice, well balanced mash up of emotions that meshed well with the overall story. Jaden's friends were also likeable, though we didn't get a lot of time to get to know them. What I appreciated, though, was that even through Jaden's struggles, they remained steadfast.
Where the story lost me a bit was toward the end, post-twist, when the author seemed to struggle. It seemed that, perhaps, she had some issues closing the loop on a few things. The writing got a little clunky and the plot seemed to meander a bit. But, again, I got past it as the balance of the book was really well written. If this had gotten a proper edit, those issues would have been cleaned up so I will forgive this as it's an indie.
Altogether this was a really good read and one I would recommend. Kudos.
*Spoilers are ahead*
Out of all the characters in the book, the only one I truly liked was Parker. I liked his quiet, sly demeanor. I could never warm-up to Jaden. She just...bugged me. I can't put my finger on how, but she definitely did. I liked Jaden's brother, Phillip, though. But like many of the other characters, I hardly got to know him.
I thought the story was sort of dull until about halfway through it, especially since it took Jaden and Parker a while to build some real chemistry. Then it got exciting. The whole meeting on the third floor together was unique and sweet, and I thought the story was finally getting good until BAMM!-Parker is actually an undercover cop. I mean really? Yes, I like an unexpected twist, but this just ruined all the secrets they shared and how much I got to liking Parker. I know I was supposed to feel as betrayed as Jaden-and I did-but why did the author do this? I don't understand it. I just think it made their already-slightly awkward relationship strained to the point of just plain weird.
Would I recommend this book? Eh, yeah. It is sweet and maybe you won't find the big twist in the story so awkward like I did.
I'm not going to go into the plot itself as the product description gives you all the information you need, and I don't want to spoil anything for anyone.
What I am going into is the relationship that develops between Jaden and Parker. Don't expect a quick romance, as Jaden and Parker don't really get along in the beginning. In fact, they have barely spoken to each other, and when they're partnered for an English project, especially Jaden has a problem with Parker's indifferent attitude. But their relationship blossoms, while discussing English literature, and slowly a connection starts to form between them. Parker doesn't seem like the bad guy everyone makes him out to be, and Jaden starts to genuinely enjoy spending time with him and looks forward to the moments they spend together.
Because of their moments together, Jaden starts to question things about her life that she always took at face value, and she discovers herself throughout the novel in a way she never expected.
Add to that an amazing cast of supporting characters (her older brothers, Daniel and Phillip, her best friends Savannah and Ashley, to name a few), add the plot twist at the end, and you have a book that grabs you by the throat, and doesn't let you come up for air once, until you've finished.
What this book does the best though is expressing emotions. It takes you on such an emotional ride, you don't even realise how subtly (and sometimes rather completely) you're tied to the emotions of the characters. Every emotion Jaden feels, you feel in turn, which makes this an extremely powerful story.
In short: This is an absolutely beautiful novel, with a stunning and unique teenage romance and relatable and compelling characters. Definitely worth the 5 stars.
Give it a try and read it, you won't regret it!
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