With her world crumbling around her, sixteen-year-old Hayden reluctantly finds sanctuary at a group home for older children. Far away from her childhood home after her parents die a year apart, she deals with a swarm of situations far beyond her years. As she settles in, she encounters a young, mysterious, and quite dangerous man named Ward. Seemingly untamable, he quite literally storms in her life. After an adventure of self-discovery, and a deep family secret is unveiled, can Hayden keep herself together as she battles not only her own demons but demons of an unapologetic man? Will she finally find comfort through the deceit, emotional pain, and a few troublesome romances?
Be ready for an emotional roller coaster. Follow young Hayden as she enters the start of a rough adulthood and through an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
A Toxic Romance
The story starts with a police officer arriving at a young woman’s home. He isn’t there to arrest her, but rather gives her very specific instructions. Pick up your stuff, but don’t look left when you go upstairs. The moment the book talks about the blood being shown, you’re hooked, you have to read more. I think that this is an excellent way to start a story full of emotion and pain. The story shifts back from tragedy to a life that more resembles a typical coming of age. She is soon pulled through several dramatic relationships. These men have lots of problems and pieces that our hero, Hayden, must try and figure out how they fit in her life. As you read this book, there will be times you want to scream at the men. There will be times when you want to scream at Hayden. I think that’s the way that coming of age books get you so enraptured. As a person who has already been through a lot, you know the hidden side and the trouble coming from quite a ways away. But others that are just experiencing these problems, don’t know about the train about to hit them.
All this being said, I had some technical difficulties reading the book. For example, In chapter 17.5, it mentions the chapter is from Ward’s perspective. Then Trevor says a line that is in first person. That took me a moment to sort out, as I expected any first person remarks to be from the narrator (Ward in this case).
The story is full of twists and turns. People are not always who they appear to be, which is part of the fun. That being said, if you’re expecting a cute country spun “girl next door” kind of story, I would assume that would have been shattered in the first chapter. (Perhaps even the first line as she’s smoking)
If I have one complaint about this book, is that it might move a little fast. I feel as though some of the stories could have been full books themselves. Instead you have multiple things happening at once and quickly. That makes for an excellent page turner, but it also makes me hope that the author has a bunch more work to share. There is a lot of great stuff here, and I would not simply classify this as a traditional mushy romance novel.