***Originally reviewed as Loving Emily, the book's original title. The review stands as is since none of the content inside the book changed.***
This b***Originally reviewed as Loving Emily, the book's original title. The review stands as is since none of the content inside the book changed.***
This book was so amazingly fantastic that I am still working on picking my jaw up off the floor. I have tried time and time again to come up with the perfect words to describe what I am feeling and all I can say that this story is bitter-sweet in the best way possible. It was a beautiful, sad story. It was also a complex, happy story. It definitely made me cry, but it sure as heck made me laugh too. It left me feeling happy and completely in love with Ryan but also a bit sad that some of it all wasn’t just a bad dream. Really, if you ask me, any book that pushes you through so many emotions in such a short amount of time is bound to be a good one. I knew from the very first moment I was entered into Ryan's world, I would love everything about it. Every character was so well-rounded and complex, that Anne could have easily written the story from any of their perspectives. We learn so much about so many people that you come to love and adore them by the time the story is over. The events flowed with perfect timing and it was just an all-around entertaining, tear-jerker of a story.
Ryan is your average 16-year-old guy with a very non-average life. He has his sights set on Emily, a girl he has been in love with for over a year. Ryan also has a best friend, Michael who is a bit of a mess but is ALWAYS there for Ryan. And then there's Ryan's family, an uber famous director for a father, twin sisters that keep him on his toes, a barely there mom, and Rosario, the house keeper that has practically raised them. Their family is unconventional to say the least and Ryan doesn't necessarily like it like that.
Ryan's life is complicated and there are things he would love to change about it, but for the most part it's going good especially when he just may have a chance with Emily. This is when disaster strikes. Ryan loses his best friend and convinces himself it is his entire fault. Things progress with Emily but there is still this guilt lingering over Ryan that holds him back. Then an unexpected person, Chrissie, becomes one of the most important things to him because she just may be carrying Michael's baby. So of course if you enter another girl into the picture, the new girlfriend would obviously get jealous. Jealous girlfriends, complicated situations, more responsibility than anyone should have to handle, plus a debt that Ryan thinks he must pay off to earn his good Karma back. Yeah, and you thought it sounded like a sticky situation before?
Anne created a character you will love, I mean totally and completely love. I am the older sister to three boys so I am fairly certain I know how they act and I can guess what they are thinking. For someone who has no sons, Anne wrote the male character perfectly. Ryan’s voice was so strong throughout the story. It was like getting inside the head of a real-life teenage boy. He is a genuine guy; he is kind and is always trying to do the right thing no matter how screwed up his life gets in the end. He has so much potential to be something great and wonderful, you just spend the whole book wondering when he will realize it too. The love he has over his sisters, Ro, Michael, Emily, Chrissie, and even the baby just astounded me. He has the best of intentions but things just never seemed to work out for him. My heart truly went out to Ryan because of this. I wanted to take away the guilt over Michael's death, I wanted things to just work out with Emily, I wanted to be there to comfort him as he felt like a zamboni was driving over his chest. He seemed real to me, he acted just like a 16 year-old boy would and I can't say I've seen one done better than Ryan. Anne truly did such an amazing job with this character.
Okay, now that you see how much I can gush about just one character, just imagine what I can say about every other character! Some of them may not have been my favorite but they seemed real and alive to me so that’s enough reason to at least mention them!
Michael is one character you really get to know which sounds odd because he is the only one who is technically not there. I think I would have loved Michael regardless of his screwed up life. He was confident and easy-going. He loosened Ryan up and let his own confidence rub off on him. I think he made Ryan a stronger person whether he knew it or not. Anne put so much of Michael into this story that I eventually began to miss him even though I never even knew him. I just felt like I did. He was a great person with a troubled life. I can see why Ryan was so crushed by his death not only because Michael was his best friend, but because Michael was a truly great friend to lose.
Emily is another character you learn a lot about. I must say, I didn’t like her as much as I loved the other characters but I am kind of thinking that is the way it is supposed to be. She is sweet, super smart, and really good for Ryan. She helps pick up the broken pieces of him after Michael’s death so naturally I love her for that. But where Ryan is strong, selfless, and responsible, Emily is selfish, jealous, and thinks of her own feelings more than Ryan’s. Ryan tries so hard to be there for everyone so when he spends a little less time with Emily, she throws a fit about it. At first I got really irritated but then I really thought about it. It’s not that she is spoiled and snobby, she is just a normal teenage girl and normal teenage girls want their boyfriend close by all the time; Emily is no different at all! The thought of another girl around, romantic relationship or not, is just too much for her handle sometimes and she really doesn't feel comfortable with the whole Chrissie situation. So there were moments where I really didn’t like Emily but I could still see why she appealed to Ryan so much. If her character were any different the story just wouldn’t work.
As for Ryan’s family, they were all incredible, maybe a bit screwed up, but still incredible. Every family is dysfunctional and Ryan’s is no different. I hated how distant and cold his parents were at first but the more you got to know about them, the more you can understand and sympathize. Yeah, what they did by ignoring their kids was never right, but just getting their side of the story surely helped my love for them in the end. Ryan’s sisters were so adorable! They looked up to their big brother so much it just made my heart melt. Any younger sibling can sometimes be a nuisance but Ryan always made time for his little sisters. Oh and we can’t forget about Ro, she is so amazing! She takes care of Ryan and his sisters as if they were her own. She is strict with them but I think that is what makes them all such great kids regardless of their flashy lifestyle.
I adored Chrissie throughout the whole book! She is a free spirit, someone who doesn’t let the bad times get her down, and when it comes down to it, she is the exact type of friend that Ryan needs. Chrissie is maybe a little too flippant for my own personal liking but it suits her character. She truly believes that things will turn out okay in the end and in her case they somehow do. I wouldn’t force her situation onto anyone (being pregnant at a young age, with the father of the baby dead) but she handles it with grace and ease, and of course the help of Ryan. She is like a bright ray of sunshine in this whole story. Ryan suffers a lot, and some of it is because of the situation that Chrissie and Michael have gotten him in, but she makes these tough times bearable for him.
I know that this review is all over the place but I am just hoping you guys can trust me on this one. You will LOVE this story. It was so great from start to finish. Every character was so well written whether I loved their personalities or not. And it has a beautiful message behind it! That is like a triple whammy in YA contemporary fiction! You will go through a slew of emotions while reading Loving Emily, it has some hysterical highs and depressing lows, but it makes the book that much better. I really couldn’t have picked a better book to start 2012 off with....more
There is something to be said about a book that can capture your heart in the very first pages and continues to hold onto it long after you’ve finisheThere is something to be said about a book that can capture your heart in the very first pages and continues to hold onto it long after you’ve finished reading. This is the case with Easy. I read this book a few weeks ago, fell hopelessly & madly in love with it, and then failed to write a review because I feel like my words cannot do this book justice. After reading one shining review after another I just knew this would become and insta-favorite of mine and never in my whole life have I been so right.
Jacqueline is not in the best of places when we first meet her. She has just been dumped by her boyfriend (the same guy she traveled across the U.S. with to attend the same school) and whatever strands of normalcy she held onto after the break-up were quickly severed the night she was attacked. Enter Lucas. Lucas is the dark knight that steps in to save her. He is a quiet, mysterious boy that makes Jacqueline feel those tingly feelings again (whether she wants to admit it or not). On top of Lucas we also “meet” Landon, her tutor that she e-mails quite frequently. Where one guy is the dark, baffling type the other is the sweet, funny type and Jacqueline finds herself somewhat torn between the two. And this folks is where there’s a twist to end all twists. I am not one to spoil much but let’s just say picking one or the other is not as difficult of a task as it may seem.
So here’s what I loved about our main character (aside from everything). She was NORMAL. Sure her life and the events she just went through are not normal but as far as teenage college students go, she is just like everyone else. I loved that she wasn’t the extra funny type or the super brainy type. She was just in the middle and I did not know that was exactly what I was craving in a book but it SO was! I think Jacqueline’s low-key personality will make it incredibly easy for readers to relate to her. You will likely have more than one thing in common with her and by the end of the book you’ll be rooting for her happiness.
And now here’s what I loved about Lucas (aside from everything). He is so, so, so broken. But even though there are parts of him that hurt so badly, he is also able to love, care, and feel so strongly for our main character. Lucas was a puzzle for Jacqueline to solve with his long hair, lip ring, tattoos, numerous odd jobs, artistic skills, and the ability to be everywhere important (i.e. wherever Jacqueline is) and honestly people, I did not mind one bit how long it took her to really figure him out. He was such a deep, multi-layered character and learning all the little details about Lucas, his past and present, his strengths and insecurities, it all just made him all the more lovable.
Then there was the romance…*sigh* Here’s what I loved about it (aside from everything). Ms. Webber has a way with words and boys. She made my heart melt and my toes curl. She made my pulse race and my mind spin with all the future possibilities of these two characters together. Every scene that featured Jacqueline and Lucas together practically ignited the entire book with their chemistry. It was always there, even from the very first scene, but seeing it grow and escalate into something so beautiful, raw, real, and swoon-worthy was quite the experience. These two just fit together in their beautifully broken ways. Jacqueline has her not-so-secret demons haunting her and Lucas has some terrible skeletons in his closet that make getting close to someone quite difficult but seeing them grow individually and as a couple while working through their problems made this romance one of my all-time favorites!
It is probably very clear to all of you just how much I adored Easy by Tammara Webber. She has created a story that I will be recommending to everyone from now on. It was wonderfully written and every little detail of this story helped to capture my heart completely. The story line was filled with twists, darker issues, a love story to be insanely jealous of, and a couple that really works and I am telling you now, you MUST read this book because it is certainly a book not worth missing....more