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Olivia (Choisie Book 2) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 430 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Lori Otto is best known for her Emi Lost & Found series - a series about the life of Emi Hennigan, including a prequel and three of the most beloved and heartbreaking novels that I have ever read. If you have not yet read the Emi Lost & Found series, I highly recommend it! Be sure to read Not Today, But Someday, Lost & Found, Time Stands Still and Never Look Back - in that order - before beginning the spin-off Choisie series.
Lori Otto introduces her readers to a charming young lady named Olivia Sophia Holland in the Emi Lost & Found series. The novels of the Choisie series center on the life of Olivia Holland. They are titled Contessa, Olivia and Livvy. I would like to express my appreciation to Lori Otto for the opportunity to review an advanced reader copy of the second novel of her series - Olivia - in exchange for my honest review.
Olivia Holland is a sixteen year-old high school senior at the beginning of Olivia, having skipped a year ahead in high school. We are told that her Granna (Donna) passed away while Olivia was out of the country. Olivia was commissioned to paint a portrait of Donna prior to her death. The portrait was to hang next to the portrait Olivia had already painted of Donna's son, Nate. Donna was always a positive force for Olivia. She was her teacher and mentor, encouraging Olivia to discover her creativity and to grow as an artist. Olivia knows that she disappointed her Granna because she had not finished her portrait prior to her death. She feels incredible grief and guilt, which results in her loss of direction and incentive to paint. Olivia also does not want to move on to other projects until she has finished Donna's portrait. She loses sight of many things that are important to her - her artwork, education and the relationship she has with her father and family.
Olivia's artwork has always defined a part of who she is. Without her art, she becomes absorbed in her relationship with Jon. He becomes the primary focus of her spare time. At the beginning of the novel, Jon is eighteen and beginning his freshman year of college at Columbia. He has his own struggles in Olivia. His mother and brothers are extremely important to him. Jon has accepted a role as a father-figure to his brothers because they have no father in the picture. Jon attends college classes and attempts to maintain his grades, while also hoping to give his brothers some stability at home. Their mother is an alcoholic. When she loses custody of his younger brothers, the boys are eventually placed in the custody of their aunt in Utah.
Olivia and Jon have grown up together. They have a very tangible love for each other, but they are both very young. Jon gave Olivia a promise ring in Contessa - they are both extremely young to be involved in the type of emotional and physical relationship they have found themselves in. At times, Olivia can be bratty and self-destructive, whereas, I felt that Jon had matured quite a bit in this novel. Although Jon obviously loves Olivia, his primary focus is on his family and studies. He is willing to sacrifice his teenage freedom to provide for his brothers. Jon realizes that Olivia is still very self-centered and not mature enough to handle the serious type of relationship that they have. I believe he understands that Olivia needs to experience life and grow as an individual before they can make a serious commitment to each other.
I found the character growth in this novel to be brilliantly written. It makes perfect sense that Jon would be more responsible and self-sacrificing; not only is he older, but he has experienced a harder life. Olivia has always had what she needed. She has wonderful parents, but they have micromanaged her life to protect her from the press, paparazzi and people that would take advantage of their family wealth. It is very obvious that Olivia has some growing up to do. I want to commend Lori Otto for writing the perfect ending to Olivia. I have no doubt that great things are ahead for Jon and Olivia in the final novel in the series, Livvy. Five outstanding stars for Lori Otto's Olivia!
We pick back up with Livvy, who at 16 is experiencing first love and all the emotions that come with it, loss of a loved one, sadness, guilt, confusion, accomplishments, and trying to balance her love/family/art/school life while figuring out who she is. I saw tremendous growth in Livvy who has matured from her actions in the first book to now. While I did not agree to every decision she made, I realize she is a teen and could understand her behavior of being in love and wanting independence and make her own choices. I also saw that any bad decision or lies/omissions that were made, she did feel guilty about. There was also growth in her dad Jack who was trying his very best to let her become the young bright woman he raised and guided her to be and make some concessions to compromise. I could understand where both of them were coming from in both their struggles as parent and child and handling this transitioning phase of her life. By the end of the book, I felt Livvy had really come into her own and I'm looking forward to what the next book brings! I highly recommend reading the series!
I really liked this book, I mean, of course I did. It's by Lori Freaking Otto. It was filled with all the elements I've come to expect from her novels- funny, sweet, dramatic, sexy, and at times, frustrating. Oh, and I can't forget the swoony moments either.
"You engage me and provoke me and you drive me to the brink of insanity, and just when I think I'm gone, you save me, Olivia. A brush of your hand. A Kiss. A whisper. I'd never felt so destroyed and yet so completely whole in one single moment." - Jon.
*Sigh*... Ahem, where was I? Oh yes, so I really like Jon. He's mature, responsible, and really sweet and romantic. He understands Livvy and truly loves her. However, I think she was becoming too dependent on Jon and their relationship and that hindered some aspects of her life. I had to keep reminding myself that she's young, only 17, and this is the norm for girls her age. Granted, she does mature quite a bit in this book, but she still frustrated me. Her life became centered completely around Jon and there were a few times when I wanted to slap her around a bit and knock some sense into her. Thank goodness for comic relief.
"Sexytime-with-Emi. Nope. My-favorite-tie-is-blue. Nope.
"What are you doing?"
"What's your password, Jacks?" Oh Matty <3
"I love you, Daddy."
"I love you too, sweetheart. Who knew we should have been giving you morphine for affection all along?"
Jacks, oh Jacks. He's such an amazing father and we see that once again in Olivia, but boy does he have his hands full. I truly felt for him and Emi in this book, but Livvy and Jack's relationship has vastly improved since Contessa (Book 1). However, I really miss Jacks and Emi's POVs, and it was nice to see them at the very end of the book. Just wish they could have been sprinkled throughout this one in order to provide a different perspective. It's exhausting being in the mind of a 17 year old for an entire book. I can only imagine how Lori feels.
The ending was perfect, in my opinion. It makes me really excited for the next book because there are so many possibilities. I get giddy just thinking about them! If you haven't read anything by Lori Otto, I suggest you start from the very beginning, "Not Today, but Someday". Trust me, these characters will feel like family and you'll laugh and cry right along with them (definitely cry). Lori Otto has a fan for life with me!
"This is your smile from that night, from Mykonos. You thought the bad news took it, but you're wrong. I did. I've been keeping it safe for you."
Most recent customer reviews
Olivia Holland and Jon Scott, two young people from completely different backgrounds but so alike in many ways, both...Read more