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303 pages, Paperback
First published August 9, 2016
"We can't always control our circumstances, who our parents are, where we live, or how much money we make, but in those rare moments when we can shape our fate, when we do have the power to make our own happiness, we can't be scared to do it."
"His name is Jase Colbertson. He and I used to finish each other’s sentences.”
When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J. Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. Yet from the very first page, she is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life... That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.
The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?
"Would you ever have thought we'd be like this? Grown-up and wanting nothing more than to be with each other every second of the day?"
"I always knew."
I laughed. "You're lying."
He was impassive. "No. I did. I swear to you. I always knew we would be like this one day. I think you always knew too."
I was breathing hard as I lay the book down on my chest, right over my throbbing heart. I remembered that moment when everything started crumbling down around us. There was nothing we could do; we were just a couple of powerless, poor kids, so desperate to find a way to be together…
"It's easy to let yourself become the burden of your own life, especially when you were given the label of being a burden before you could even reject it."
“Jase had planted himself inside of my heart so deeply that when we parted he kept growing there.”
”We weren’t together, but he was always there, like a part of my soul. I tried desperately to deny it and to forget…"
"I love you, Emiline. I loved you before I even knew what it meant."
"I love you too, Jase... I'll love you forever."
"Swear to me."
"I swear I want this."
”I loved you before I even knew what it meant.”
”Our story is great, maybe not all the other shit, but the story of us is perfect Em.”
O boy, I have a feeling that I'll be eviscerated for this review, if you do have to, please be gentle.
Swear on This Life had so much promise but the execution was, at best, lackluster.
The premise is a second-chance love between Jax and Em who, during their teenage years, were best friends turned lovers. A tragic situation caused Em to move into Foster care and this signified the beginning of a separation that would span 12 years.
At 27, Em is an adjunct professor/uninspired writer who lives with a roommate. Anyways, imagine her surprise when her roommate comes home with a book she insisted Em had to read, only for Em to discover the book-"All the roads between"- was a semi-memoir, chronicling hers and Jax's childhood, which Jax had written.
Carlino proficiently intersperses parts of that book within this, and we get to read it with Em, concurrently.
Well, of course, Em knows the book is not all fiction and while she gets increasingly upset that Jax would profit from "their" story luckily, she discovers he had a book signing scheduled to occur within days at a location that was conveniently within reach.
At this point, my heart was palpitating as I expected a swift escalation of events and was eager to witness an emotional "reunion" between these two star-crossed lovers, however, what I got was infinitely too lacklustre to even reference as anti-climactic.
With him staring at the love of his life and she bristling with righteous indignation will go down as the worst second-chance book reunion of all time.
I could have forgiven the lack of character development, the immaturity of the protagonists, even the predictability of the plot; but the absolute mismanagement of such a fundamental moment soured the remainder of the book.
In addition, Em's indecisive post-reunion actions, the dubious "love-triangle" with Trevor-the-boyfriend (who, IMO, was just filler) and, Em's slow paced read (despite everyone telling her to just finish the book already) of Jax's book, were so unbelievable that I was not in the least interested about their HEA.
Overall, it was a pleasant but extremely slow-paced read, the conflict was contrived and their adult relationship lacked the requisite emotional intensity.
❝It's like reading a good book. The kind where you don't want to skip pages to see what happens at the end. Each moment is a story in itself.❞
J. Colby - All the Roads Between
SWEAR ON THIS LIFE was such a heartbreakingly beautiful second-chance love story! About two kids who show us, that no matter where and what you come from, you can still make life beautiful, you can still have hope and love and dreams! And sometimes those dreams really do come true. I loved Emiline & Jason's story! Run to your nearest amazon asap ... you need to read this book!!!!
“There once was a boy and a girl . . .”
Some of us will look back on our lives and recall events that were a bit too perfect, but until you know the whole story, it's important to see the universe at work, or even admit that there is something bigger than us, making sure everything that should happen does happen. If you can surrender to the idea that there might be a plan, instead of reducing every magical moment to a coincidence, then love will find you. He found me.