Thursday, August 22, 2013


Was he The One who got away?
Late one night, Nicki Johnson plays with emotional fire and Googles her high school love, only to find his name splashed across the British gossip columns. Back in his native England, Adam Kincaid is successful and dating a woman from an aristocratic family like his own. With a career in politics, Nicki's no slouch, but she knows Adam is living a world away from her life.

Yet there was a time he was no farther than the next locker. Nicki will never forget their year together in high school--the year of her sister's death, the year her mother checked out. Adam helped Nicki through suffocating grief, and she led him through coming of age. But when is a high school crush something more?

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Our Review: 
Coming of age stories are among some of my favorites, maybe because it is something all of us have in common. We all were the angst filled teen who was misunderstood by our parents and peers. Beside Your Heart captured that feeling of being seventeen and have tragedy strike your family, yet still have to get up and go to school and deal with mean girls and the cute guy that sits next to you in class being hot and cold. 

Seeing as I teach high school-ers I get to see angsty teens, traumatizing life situations, mean girls, and lots of stolen glances between my students. I guess you could say my life at work is an angsty contemporary romance novel..haha. Because of this I'm always a little apprehensive about reading high school love drama. 

There is a prologue in the beginning that sort of set up the book. From knowing that information, some of the happiest times in the book were so enjoyable, yet had an undertone of apprehension for me because we already know a little bit about where things end up. Well, I guess the blurb tells us a bit about it too. I also am sooooo observant that I didn't realize until about 75% into it that there was another book! Shot to the heart, people. Ugh. I am a little bit devastated to be honest. I have soooo many questions about what will happen in the next installment and I just don't know what to do!!!! 

Since Courtney finished a little before me I had a sneaking suspicion I was going to be a little unsettled at the ending...I wasn't wrong. But I'll get to that in a minute. The story between the prologue and epilogue was the story of the push and pull between Nicki and Adam. Their chemistry was strong and I thought the build up to their love story was very realistically paced and true to many high school-ers love experiences. Well, okay, maybe they were a smidge more mature than many of my students...but I think some of my seniors have the capability to be this mature. (sometimes)
That being said, it was a very, very enjoyable story. Nicki and Adam don't have the greatest start to being friends so the authenticity of hormonal teenagers was great. Nicki has great friends and Tom is by far my favorite. He was a bit of a scene stealer, yet I wish that he would've been involved even more!!! I don't know that we've mentioned it yet, but if we haven't...Adam is British. Do you see my emphasis. The banter with him and Nicki and his using very English expressions were some of my favorite lines. I loved him as much as I hated him, and he will for sure make you remember those times with your immature boys in high school and how they aren't exactly thinking with the brain in their head.... :p 

I love that Adam is British; I'm a sucker for an accent so that was definitely a plus. Nicki's friends were really great too--fun and supportive and good about telling her what she didn't want to hear sometimes. I think one of my favorite things, though, was Nicki's willingness to be who she was and not feel self-conscious about her scars. She's been through so much and she's still so strong. 

If I had to suggest anything, it'd be to add more of their adult lives to the story. I was so curious after the prologue (and the epilogue) and I kept hoping that we'd get to it but alas, we'll have to wait until the next book to see how their adult lives will intersect. The writing in this book is really good and I know I'll pick up the second installment to see what they are up to next.

Courtney: 4 Stars
Shelley: 3 1/2 Stars

Author Bio:

Even before she graduated from law school, Mary knew she wasn't cut out to be a real lawyer. Drawn to politics, she's spent her career as an organizer, lobbyist, and nonprofit executive. Nothing piques her interest more than a good political scandal or romance, and when she stumbled upon writing, she put the two together. A born Midwesterner, naturalized Texan, and transient resident of Washington, D.C., Mary now lives in Northern California with her two daughters and real lawyer husband.


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