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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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This book works on so many levels, it's hard to know where to begin. Faith Morrissey is a fascinating character. The youngest kid in her family, she's never quite developed her own identity. She travels to Europe to gain independence and a little perspective. She doesn't expect to run into someone like Weston Abbot. Of course, that's not the name he gives her. Wes is a jaded CIA operative in charge of getting the goods on a criminal organization with ties to Faith's employer. In spite of his best efforts, Wes soon comes to see Faith as more than a means to an end. Watching him grow and soften as their relationship develops is one of the best parts of the story.
Too bad their feelings for one another can't protect them from the dangerous reality of Wes's mission. When things come to an abrupt and violent head, Faith is lucky to survive. Though she comes through physically, her emotions are another story. Angry, disillusioned, heart-broken, she buries her former naive self and takes on a new name and a confident, powerful new persona. The new Faith--or Fae--would never be taken in by a game playing user. This is put to the test when past enemies resurface. Faith/Fae has to run for her life and...there's Wes right in the middle of it all!
The chemistry between Wes and Faith is epic. There's an erotic undercurrent, sure, but the sweetness of their love affair is what stands out for me. There are also great side characters. Conor is an FBI agent and Faith's reluctant savior. Margot is Faith's roommate in Budapest. I didn't get enough of them. I really really really hope Julie Johnson has a surprise up her sleeve and things aren't quite what they seem on the Margot front.
One small blemish in an otherwise fabulous book--the "before" section goes on a bit compared to the "now" section. This imbalance exerts a subtle breaking force between the 30 and 50% point of the story. I found myself rushing ahead. Not a completely bad thing, since it means I cared about what happened. But it undermined the beautiful setting Johnson gives us. The scenes in Budapest are so realistic and well drawn, they're worth lingering over.
ERASING FAITH is an incredibly romantic novel full of suspense and intrigue. Highly recommended.
Before you know it, the mark becomes something more. More than Wes can handle. More than he wants her to mean. More than is safe for her given the parameters of his mission.
Faith's openness and happy, guileless life are anathema to Wes. She fascinates him. And he hates himself for what he did to her before he even knew her. His treachery plays with his emotions, his confidence and his loyalties. Because he can't reconcile who he is day to day and with Faith, there is a bit of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde going on.
"Wes’ grin fell off his face so abruptly, I worried he’d suffered some kind of mental breakdown. Something dark flashed in his eyes as he stared at my face."
"She blew up my life. I hated her for it. But not as much as I loved her."
Of course, involving a super spy with a sweet innocent isn't going to end well. But Faith has changed Wes and he learns that he no longer wants to be Faith-less.
Then there was Wes. I was intrigued by Wes. He lived such an isolated life, very hardened by his lifestyle and the decisions he had made. When his path crossed Faith, he started to see something else, want something else. Watching him wary with that was nice. He was not a bad guy, just a guy put in an almost impossible situation. He wanted to be more for her, and I loved that about him.
There were so many layers to these characters, and I loved how they were explored, I loved the progression of the relationship, it was relatable, real and didn't feel rushed. When it fell apart, I loved how it was dealt with. I think it was an honest reaction to how people leaving and hurting us affect us and leave an impact in our lives. Overall, I think the writing was wonderful, a beautiful storytelling of love, survival, forgiveness with a nice mix of mystery. Another keeper in my opinion!
Wes and Faith are so attracted to each other, their chemistry is crazy. Faith is so innocent to begin with, but she hardens due to the incident she goes through and having her trust absolutely shattered.
Wes just couldn't seem to resist Faith. He was so conflicted, as he has real feelings for her, and he knew it was going to end badly. I liked that he gave as much of himself to Faith as the situation allowed, sharing details with her he hadn't ever shared before. He definitely made some mistakes along the way, but he does his best to protect Faith. Great story.
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