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Together We Caught Fire

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A forbidden attraction grows even more complicated when the guy Lane Jamison has crushed on for years suddenly becomes her step-brother in this sexy and gorgeously written debut novel about the lines between love, desire, and obsession.

What happens when the boy you want most becomes the one person you can’t have?

Lane Jamison's life is turned upside down the week before her senior year when her father introduces her to his new fiancée: mother of Grey McIntyre, Lane’s secret, longtime crush. Now with Grey living in Lane’s house, there’s only a thin wall separating their rooms, making it harder and harder to deny their growing mutual attraction—an attraction made all the more forbidden by Grey’s long-term girlfriend Sadie Hall, who also happens to be Lane’s friend.

Torn between her feelings for Grey and her friendship with Sadie—not to mention her desire to keep the peace at home—Lane befriends Sadie’s older brother, Connor, the black sheep of the strict, evangelical Hall family. Connor, a metal working artist who is all sharp edges, challenges Lane in ways no one else ever has. As the two become closer and start to open up about the traumas in their respective pasts, Lane begins to question her conviction that Connor is just a distraction.

Tensions come to a head after a tragic incident at a party, forcing Lane to untangle her feelings for both boys and face the truth of what—and who—she wants, in this gripping and stunningly romantic debut novel.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published February 4, 2020

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About the author

Eva V. Gibson

3 books97 followers
Eva V. Gibson is the author of contemporary YA novels Together We Caught Fire and Where Secrets Lie, and the 2023 Edgar Award nominated Frightmares. A bookworm since early childhood, Eva gravitated toward the dark and gritty, reading, then writing, stories with controversial themes and flawed, complicated characters.
She lives in Northern Virginia with her family, surrounded by kids, yarn, pets, and an ever-growing stack of dark and gritty books she will definitely finish reading someday.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 228 reviews
January 23, 2020
pages: 367
Expected publication: February 11th 2020

Fantastic storytelling!

This book had a ton of angst, so much it was almost painful. Despite all the angst I still liked it. The characters are well thought out and the places are described beautifully. The book is about a girl named Lane Jamison, who just turned eighteen at the end of the summer before her senior year. Lane’s mother killed herself by slitting her wrists in the bathroom when Lane was five years old. Her Dad recently got married and his new wife has a son Lane’s age who just happens to be Greyson McIntyre, the boy Lane has been crushing on forever.

Not only does Lane have to see the guy she has loved for years and not be able touch him, but she is now his stepsister. To make things worse, Sadie, Grey’s girlfriend is religious and nice and happy all the time and they plan to get married right after high school. Sadie and Lane have become friends so they all hang out together sometimes along with Sadie’s brother Connor who is gay and has a boyfriend named Paul.

Connor is very interesting and cool. According to gossip at school, he was kicked out of his home by his straight laced father who is a preacher. He was kicked out at sixteen for being Gay and he lived on the streets. He learned how to fight and nearly starved. Now Connor is living with Paul in a huge warehouse that they turned into a workshop where different types of artisans go to work on their art.

The main room is full of easels for painters to work and the rest is a maze of rooms dedicated to different types of art. There is a room for pottery and ceramics, beading and engraving, metal works, woodworking, and fiber arts including a loom for weaving. At home, Lane helps her Dad’s organic soap and lotion business and they sell their goods at a farmers market. She also helps by knitting and crocheting, so she likes what she sees at the warehouse. Connor and Paul have a huge room in the back as an apartment of sorts.

Connor works with metal, making jewelry and other things. He is designing and making wedding rings for Grey and Sadie. Lane starts to spend time at the warehouse as a way to escape from Grey. I won’t give away anything else but there is angst everywhere. Lane and Connor become friends and they each have terrible stories from their past.

The story and the girl are tortured in parts. It is hard to see her yearning for Grey. Lane has other issues as well and isn’t in the best state of mind. She has to balance wanting Grey, being in close contact with him, being friends with him, a sister and also she likes Sadie, who is a bit superficial but genuinely a good person.

Towards the end, Lane was waxing poetic about everything in her life and filling it all with imagery, symbolism an metaphors that were dark and a bit hard to grasp at times. Also, a few places throughout the book the author used huge words for things that would better be explained in plain english. I actually had to use the word lookup a few times. It is one thing if the protagonist is supposed to be a genius, but really no need for it when she is barely making it through high school. For example, lapidary, which is engraving and pranayama which means yoga breathing techniques. Overall, it was good and held my interest throughout.

I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,622 reviews5,062 followers
June 7, 2022
Holy hell. That was easily one of the best YA contemporaries I've read in a LONG time and I'm so amazed that this is Gibson's debut. I can't wait to see what she writes next! I definitely recommend checking out the list of TWs below if you're concerned, because there is a lot going on in this book. I'm clearing out my RTC shelf right now and realizing I can't give this book a full review that does it justice since it's been so long since I read it, but I might have to fit in a re-read soon just to fix that.

Content warnings:

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review!

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Profile Image for Jordan Davidson.
182 reviews6 followers
February 28, 2020
I’m disappointed in myself for reading this in the first place. I don’t know what I expected, but it should’ve been this.

Part of me thinks this wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for the overly flowery prose and ridiculous metaphors the author insisted on cramming into every sentence and paragraph and page. I described it to a bookish friend as “15-year-old who owns a thesaurus and just found fanfiction.net” and I still think that descriptor is painfully apropos.

And maybe even THAT wouldn’t have been so bad if the metaphors made any damn sense. It got to the point where I began bookmarking my “favorites” (aka the most ludicrous phrases) so I could have something to laugh at again later. I’ll share some of my favorites later if I can be arsed to remember to do that. Until then, I excise this book to the bowels of my Kindle, never to be seen again, to rot amongst the dust of other forgotten titles like the monuments of a bygone age.

If reading that last sentence was painful, just imagine what reading a whole book of them was like.

Profile Image for JenacideByBibliophile.
208 reviews126 followers
February 4, 2020
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, SimonTeen, for an honest review.

“How many nights would I lie awake, listening through the thin wall of my bedroom for the sleep-jagged edge of his breath? This boy, so long unreachable-the core of everything I’d wanted, mangled and reassembled into a cosmic joke.”


I have always gravitated towards books that will punch a hole through my gut and make my heart feel like its weeping. A book that forgoes dancing around truths by ripping back the layers that mask humanity from what it really is-a tangle of limbs and whispered promises, lines being washed away and expectations discarded in a wind. Pure emotion and action that is flawed, gritty and raw. A story that could incite the same anger, sadness, regret, shame, sorrow, hope, love, fear and recklessness in me, as it does its characters. If a book can do that to me…well.

There’s just no unfeeling that, is there?


I was not prepared for the onslaught of emotion that hit me like a freight train while reading Together We Caught Fire. I, as I assume so many other readers have and will, expected this to be a fluffy contemporary about forbidden love. About a girl who pines for someone she can’t have, but eventually gets. But to say that this is just a love story between two people who want things they shouldn’t, would be a huge disservice to the lives these characters live. It’s a story of trauma, pain and sorrow. Where these young people are thrown into depths they can barely stay afloat in, frantically thrashing their way towards one another, while simultaneously helping and threatening to drag each other down beneath the surface.

From the very first page you are thrust into these tumultuous and vibrant lives. Lane-the girl who has loved her new step-brother from afar, Grey-the step-brother in love who also sees another, Sadie-a girlfriend deep in her faith and future, and Connor-a lost boy who consumes chaos. I fell in love with these teens so quickly, due to the harshly realistic actions and feelings they possessed. They were wild and reckless, but also levelheaded and compassionate. I felt such a strong connection to Lane in particular, and to that anger and fire that was constantly eating her alive. That sadness that makes her reach towards people shyly, wanting love and respect, but retreats immediately and slams up a wall of brick because she would much rather not feel at all. “A girl who picked sensation over feeling.” She is fierce and calm, angry and sweet, a bubble of light and a pit of sorrow.


When Lane was at the age of five her mother committed suicide, and Lane was the one to find her. Even several years later, she has horribly vivid and frightening nightmares of her mother almost nightly. Seeing her in various states of pain and horror. Though she has an incredibly supportive and accepting father, Lane was still unable to fully heal from her mother’s death. This book dives incredibly deep into the roller-coaster that Lane finds herself on as she deals with this new family that has entered her life, and a love that she is forced to push down and ignore.

“I looked up and lost my way, drawn to him with that familiar sickening swoosh. A pitiful tide, held fast in the grip of the moon.”

When Lane was at the age of five her mother committed suicide, and Lane was the one to find her. Even several years later, she has horribly vivid and frightening nightmares of her mother almost nightly. Seeing her in various states of pain and horror. Though she has an incredibly supportive and accepting father, Lane was still unable to fully heal from her mother’s death. This book dives incredibly deep into the roller-coaster that Lane finds herself on as she deals with this new family that has entered her life, and a love that she is forced to push down and ignore.

“I looked up and lost my way, drawn to him with that familiar sickening swoosh. A pitiful tide, held fast in the grip of the moon.”


Which brings us to Grey. He’s one of the most unique male characters I have comes across in YA. Sure he’s good looking, smart and respectful. But he’s also Pagan! A young fictional male that practices?! I was shocked, but deeply thrilled. At first I really loved Grey and found him to be a desirable character, and I could easily see why our leading lady was head over heels for him. But as the story progresses, my opinion of him quickly changes when it comes to how he begins treating Lane. To put it nicely, he becomes a complete ass. He is in love with his girlfriend while fighting the growing attraction and connection between him and Lane. He is confused, frustrated and unsure of what he wants. But when Lane begins to show interest in something other than him, he completely flips and begins throwing tantrums. Stomping his feet and sneering because he wants the shiny new toy to himself.

But don’t worry, our girl Lane knows how to dish it.

“I wanted to puke again. I wanted to scream at him and slap his face, kiss him until the world burned down. Dare him to ever call me cold again, once everything we’d known was ash.”

“I wanted to flatten his soul.”

In this story, the reader gets more than just a tale of love. Lane becomes friends with Connor, the brother of the girl that is dating Grey. When Connor was a young teen he was kicked out of his home for being gay, and had spent the next few years living on the streets. Now he lives in a warehouse for artists, spending his days as a metal worker. Not only do Connor and Lane begin to bond over their love for art, as Lane crochets, but they have pasts that are troublesome and hard to bear. Connor pushes Lane outside her comfort zone, helping her to confront her fears and to move past the debilitating triggers caused by her mothers suicide. He’s a rough-edged, snarky, confident and breathtaking character. It was impossible not to love every aspect of him.


The romance is obviously a huge aspect of this story, and it is incredibly beautiful and raw. It put an ache in my chest and a sharp pain behind my eyes. It was a tender, rough, electric connection laid bare. It was shocking and left me slightly unhinged, wondering how I didn’t see it coming. Every time I assumed it would go a specific way, it twisted and went in a completely different direction. This love has no rhyme or reason and was poetically unapologetic. These two souls entwined to fill the holes in one another that had left them gaping since they were children. Being an anchor for the other to release their pain and sadness. But as swoon-worthy and magnetic as it was, it was also a pit of destruction and tears.

“How had I thought we could end in anything but ruin?”


This book wholeheartedly swept me away into this world of love and darkness. It was more than just a Contemporary Romance, it’s THE Contemporary Romance. It was starry-eyed and dramatic. Sloppy and poetic. But it wasn’t just a teenage relationship story. It was about a girl who had been dealt some serious life-altering shit on a platter at the age of five, and had been trying desperately to crawl out of the hole that it had thrust her in. Together We Caught Fire is a story of loss and forgiveness. How a girl fights through her hardships just to find a shred of herself that she can love.

“It wasn’t about them at all, and never had been.”

If you do anything in 2020, ensure it’s that you read this. The part of you that loves being fulfilled while simultaneously shattered, is begging for it.

~* Dream Casting *~


Emily Browning is one of my absolute favorite female actors, and I couldn’t imagine anyone better to play Lane. She has the look on innocence and sweetness, but has that uncanny ability to flip a switch and become enraged with emotion.


Sadie has to have that southern “Girl Next Door”, girly, wholesome, vibrant, bubbly look to her. I think Rita Volk’s look is perfect for the beautiful Sadie.


Raf Miller feels like a shockingly perfect fit for Grey. Not only does Grey need to be gorgeous, which Raf is, but he needs to give a little of that “Homecoming King” vibe with a little edge of mystery.


A no-brainer. Lucky Blue Smith is Connor in a pretty package of devastating gorgeousness and rough-edged allure. He knows he’s stunning, but also possesses that level of assured awkwardness that is Connor.
Profile Image for Liz Lawson.
Author 6 books392 followers
June 5, 2019
Oh my goodness this book. I had been looking forward to reading it for MONTHS, and it did not disappoint. It's sexy, dark, romantic, painful - everything that I was hoping it would be.

Lane is in love with a boy. But not just any boy -- the son of the woman who her father has just married. That's right, her step-brother. She's been in love with him for years, and now is thrust into an incredibly confusing situation where she has to deal with her feelings for him while he's literally under the same roof as her. And, to make matters even more complicated - he's the boyfriend of her good friend, Sadie. To put cherry on the top of the twisted romances in the book, Lane soon finds herself drawn to Connor, Sadie's older brother who has a dark past of his own.

Gibson wrote these characters with such empathy and such awareness of the rawness it is to be a teenager -- the beauty of growth but also the angst, the pain of it all. And she doesn't shy away from the dark, brutal things that teens go through - Lane has lived through some SHIT and it's affected her present in more ways than she's even willing to admit to herself. But, through her relationships with both her father and step-mother and her friends, she comes to realize that maybe she's not as broken as she'd always imagined.

This book is gorgeous, brutal, sexy--and fair warning that it does contain very heavy subject matter, so be aware of that so you go into your read with your eyes open.

I cannot recommend this book more highly.
Profile Image for Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥.
505 reviews306 followers
February 23, 2020
***2.5/5 Stars***

I've sat on this review for almost two weeks now. And that's not normal for me. At all. But I kept thinking that as time passed, maybe my thoughts would change. You see, while this story was an emotional powerhouse, I couldn't connect to or like the majority of the characters. So even though this book didn't work for me, I have a feeling others are going to resonate and feel this story in their soul. I wish I was one of those, but sadly I wasn't.
He’d occupied my heart for years, long before he’d occupied the bedroom next to mine.
Seriously. Kill me.

Lane's father just married her long term crushes mother. Making Lane and her crush, Grey, step-siblings. It could only be a crush though, since Grey was in a long term relationship with Sadie. When Sadie befriended Lane as her new bff, it made life even more complicated for her. And on top of that, Sadie's brother Connor was thrown into the mix. The story started off with the four of them hanging out, and it set the book off on a dark and dangerous tone that seeped through the rest of this story.
“It’s your happiness that matters.” He coughed into his sleeve, finally blinked down at the half-tied twine, still wound around his fingers. “It matters to me. It mattered to your mother. She’d have wanted—”
“She got what she wanted.”
It flew out on its own dark wings, beat its way past my teeth. Sunk its talons deep.

I tried my hardest, but I wasn't ever able to connect to Lane. She suffered from depression that cut so deep into her. So Lane's thoughts could be suffocating and I desperately hoped she would find lightness in her life. Usually I can feel empathy towards a character, but I failed again and again to find it with her. It didn't help that she was blunt, cold and fickle at times. But she was also extremely talented and had a lot of love to give. I just couldn't ever click with her.
“I’d rather have a firecracker than an ice queen. Trust me, Elaine— if Sadie were as cold as you, I’d have slit my wrists ages ago.”

Grey was a conundrum. At first I thought he was a sweet boy. He was helpful, seemed to try and make the situation with Lane at home work and he was kind about the friendship Lane had with his girlfriend. I completely understood why Lane liked him. But as the story progressed, I got whiplash. Grey would verbally attack Lane. He could be so mean and cruel to her as his words cut at her heart. And he wasn't the only one who did that. His girlfriend, Sadie, did too. She'd call Lane her best friend and then in the next moment she'd talk trash to her face. I didn't know how to handle that at all.
Her eyes were wildfire; her mouth a wet blur. Her answer sliced through me, words honed to razors on her dark, bitter drawl. “Maybe not. But whatever you think of me, Lane, at least I’m not a whore.”

Thankfully Sadie did find logic and become the bigger person. But by then it was too late for me, the blood that Lane shed was still too recent. And not enough was done to rectify the problem. I'm one of those who needs a grand gesture to fix everything in a book, but I never got that from Sadie or Grey towards Lane.
A soft, pitiful noise worked its way up from my lungs. Chills broke across my skin like snowmelt, freezing, then slicing , dripping from scalp to neck to spine to soles. My eyes leaped up in time to catch his slipping over my shoulder, off the curve of my collarbone. They reached into me and burned and burned, and undid something in my chest.

One thing stood out on the pages, and that was the writing felt very unique at times. It gave me Shatter Me vibes. And while sometimes it lost me and I wasn't sure what was happening, other times the writing was beautifully poetic. When I think of this book, I'll always remember the writing style. And Connor.
“Loving you was the only thing that made sense.”
“Oh.” There it was again— that same warm thrill spinning through me, slipping along the current of his words.

Connor Hall was rumored to have been kicked out of his house, because he was gay. And we learned a lot about him as the story progressed. Connor was my favorite in this story. That's because he was sweet, thoughtful and had a wild side to him. And he tried to help Lane out, the best he could. Even though he was dealing with his own personal struggles that were huge. And while I loved when Lane hung out with Connor, they were each still drowning in their pain. So I kept hoping that they'd help each other out. And I'm happy with how their friendship proceeded.
He was still everything I’d wanted, before the things I wanted took on a different, darker form.

So at the end of the day, I'm still lost. This story was emotional and the characters each had huge journeys to take. The way it unfolded kept my interest piqued but I just couldn't connect or make myself like the majority of the characters. And I have to able to have that connection, so I can love a book. So if you pick up Together We Caught Fire, I hope that you'll find plenty more than I did to love in the pages!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

For more of my reviews, please visit:
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Profile Image for Amber (Ambee's Bookish Pages).
502 reviews56 followers
January 10, 2020
The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz

Thank you so much Simon Teen for sending me an ARC of TOGETHER WE CAUGHT FIRE to read and review!

***Trigger Warnings: Mentions of suicide, graphic flashbacks of suicide, drug overdose, death & self harm***

How do you put into words how much a book impacted you, how beautifully it is written and how days later you are still thinking about it, all with out sounding stupid because there are still tears in your eyes from all the feelings this book gave you? This has been my struggle since I finished Together We Caught Fire. Sexy, raw, beautiful and thought provoking Eva V. Gibson did not let readers down in her debut novel about love, loss, obsession, healing and finding yourself when you think you are too far gone to be found.

Lane has been in love with Grey since the moment they had to dissect a frog together when they were children. But the attraction is about to grow more complicated when Grey moves in and becomes Lane’s new step bother. Their attraction which is already forbidden is even more so do to Grey’s long time Girlfriend, Sadie, who also happens to be Lane’s friend. Needing a distraction from Grey on the the impending explosion at home Lane befriends Connor, Sadie’s older brother, who is the black sheep of the family. Connor who is a metal artist pushes Lane like no one has ever before, forcing her to face her past traumas head on. But as their attraction grows, Lane is just convinced that a Connor is a distraction to the real issue: Grey. The explosion that Lane is waiting for doesn’t happen at home, but rather at a party that her, Sadie, Grey and Connor are all at, now forcing her to confront her painful past and untangle her feelings for these two boys.

There is so much so talk about, but so much I can spoil and I honestly don’t know where to begin. Together We Caught Fire is not an easy book to read, not because of the writing but because it faces such raw and triggering things. (I attached trigger warnings to the top of my review for those who would like to check them out or needs them.)

You don’t see reproductive disorders mentioned in YA nor do you ever see a character suffering from it. Lane suffers from endometriosis, a painful and often times debilitating disorder that is effects hundred of thousands of woman. There were several instances in Together We Caught Fire that Lane would be doubled over in pain, sick to her stomach or vomiting because of this. I was diagnosed with endometriosis my first year out of high school and I have never seen this part of myself represented in a book before, so getting to see a character suffering from something I do as well made me feel seen and not so alone.

Eva created a cast of characters that were far from perfect and all needed work. The story is set in Lane's POV, but we see the struggle of Grey's insomnia and the toll it takes on him, Sadie's controlling relationship with her father and Connor building a life for himself after being kicked out. This book is so much more then just a romance story. Its about hitting rock bottom, finding yourself, healing and accepting those around you.

Overall I adored every page and moment of this book. This cast of characters will forever hole a special place in my heart, especially because they are so real. I can't wait to read more from Eva in the future and to see what she is going to bring readers next!

Immediately Post Reading Thoughts:

I took me a lot long then I hoped to finish this. But holy shit. This book is raw and real and something so incredibly different. Full RTC!
Profile Image for Katy Upperman.
Author 4 books306 followers
March 20, 2020
Deliciously angsty, with gorgeous, lyrical prose. This is an intense read (like, lots of content warnings) but there’s an underlying thread of hopefulness. I really loved it!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,813 reviews
January 27, 2020
2.5/ 5 stars

Together We Caught Fire is a mature Young Adult novel.

The narrator is 18 year old high school senior Elaine/Lane (1st person POV).

The beginning of the book was extremely odd to me. And I had a bit of a hard time figuring out what was happening. However, after that the book was a lot easier to follow.

The main characters are Lane, Grey, Sadie and Connor. Sadie and Connor are brother and sister. Also Lane's father and Grey's mother recently got married.

Lane has a lot of problems/issues. Some of them were not really dealt with to my satisfaction. And others were only really mentioned towards the end of the book. I think that I would have preferred to have all of the serious topics in this book dealt with more throughout the book.

The book blurb mentions some big forbidden romance. And honestly I was expecting that to be the focus of the book. I was really disappointed with how this part of the story was handled. If that was supposed to lure in readers then I want some big scandalous affair. Or something substantial. But that was not the case.

The end dealt with some important issues. And I grew to sort of like all four of the teenagers. However this was not the book that I was expecting at all.

Thanks to netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me to read this book.
Profile Image for  Lori (Ficwishes).
681 reviews19 followers
December 22, 2019
Ok. This one is a no for me. I was so completely lost in the beginning. I still can’t figure out exactly what was going on because the writing confuses me so. This author loves her metaphors and incomplete sentences. One of my least favorite was:

“Smashed her son alongside her, staining my world in Grey.”

Also, “Beautiful and gentle, wild-eyed and mad.”

Those are actual “sentences” in this book. It’s filled to the brim with sentences that have implied (you) or implied (I) as the subject. The writing totally shattered with my Grammar-loving heart and that distracted me from the story. I’m sure it’s cool or hip and that many people will love it, but it just makes me want to bring out my red pen.

It gets 2 stars for what I actually gleaned of the story. I like forbidden love stories and love triangles and I was able to make out bits and pieces of them here. The tension was delicious, but the weirdly choppy writing and purple prose kept me from getting into the right zone.

Yes, I realize I am reviewing an ARC, and no, I don’t think it’s going to change all that much in the final edits before publication.
Profile Image for Ron.
Author 1 book79 followers
July 2, 2019
This book is as emotionally raw, brutal, and beautiful as they come. The prose is to die for, the characters are stunningly rendered, the issues are timely, dark, and deeply important, and the story will stick with you long after you read the last page.
Profile Image for Katie.
120 reviews15 followers
November 4, 2019
I! AM! TOTALLY! IN! LOVE! WITH! THIS! BOOK! There are so many little things that make this book different from any other YA contemp. you've ever read, and trust me, you'll fall in love too.

♥ I mean, before the book even begins, we get trigger warnings. There've been a LOT of discussion in the Twitterverse lately about why books should have trigger warnings, but this is the first where I've actually seen them in print.

Please note that it is NOT up to authors whether or not these are included. Most authors agree that they should be! It's generally a publisher's decision, though.

♥ A few other things right off the bat that you don't usually see in YA? An open discussion about periods, endometriosis, and the general suffering that some of us go through with the menstrual cycle. Lane knows she's suffering from endometriosis. She has the symptoms, and her mother had it. Her doctor, however, dismisses her because she's "too young" for that and this is "all in her head" and it's just "bad PMS" (which is not even TRUE girls as young as 11 have been diagnosed with endometriosis), but girl, I know how you feel. I had such bad cramps that I used to throw up every month and had to stay home from school, but when my doctor suggested that the pill might help, my hyper-religious parents refused. SOMEONE is always getting in our way, aren't they?

But Lane and her stepmom have SUCH a lovely scene that sets up their relationship really early on, where Skye sits with Lane on the bathroom floor as she pukes, sends Lane's stepbrother Greyson to make some ginger tea, and settles her back in bed. And when Lane overhears Skye calling her absence into school, she realizes how much that little bit of mothering really matters to her. As someone who also lost her mother at a young age, I can't tell you how much this resonated with me--not even realizing how much you wanted someone to take care of you until they do.

♥ Something else that's very just chill and part of the characters, not a Whole Big Thing: Lane's father, stepmother, and stepbrother are all practicing Wiccans. There is definitely some drama because Grey's girlfriend is VERY conservative Christian and can't wrap her head around this (I mean at one point girl says that yoga is against her religion??), but for the most part it is just a piece of who the characters are, not something they're struggling with, not a huge plot point.

♥ We also get a main character who, for no discernible reason, has been labeled easy and a slut at school. We thankfully don't spend much time at school so we don't see much of it, but we do hear about it through text messages from an ex, little comments from Grey's girlfriend Sadie, and, most annoyingly, Grey himself.

But Lane is no pushover, and she's not okay with this shit. She ALWAYS stands up for herself.

"Someone like me? Finish that sentence, Grey McIntyre, I fucking dare you."

♥ Look, I know there's supposed to be a hard choice between Grey and Connor, but here's my hot take: Grey is a garbage person.

Check out these differences in the way the two speak to her:

Connor to Lane, after seeing some texts from a guy she had dated over the summer who is now harassing her and using abusive language:

"I think the word you're looking for is 'unsubscribe.'"
"He's not giving you shit at school, is he?"

Compared to Grey to Lane, while being unfairly jealous of Connor:

"Or you, being a sl--" He bit the word in half, the two remaining letters flaring an even darker red across his face."
"I'd rather have a firecracker than an ice queen. Trust me, Elaine--if Sadie were as cold as you, I'd have slit my wrists ages ago."

Each time I read this, I spent most of the book being pissed at Grey and not understanding at all what Lane sees in him. Grey has a girlfriend from the beginning, but still feels like it's his right to be insanely possessive, territorial, and jealous of Lane. He does begin a decent redemption arc by the end, but, homeboy is MEAN for a good long while, because homeboy is jealous and hurt and doesn't understand why he is either of these things, because he does love his girlfriend. He can't process what he doesn't understand, so he continues spiraling, taking it out on Lane basically because he's being a baby.

I will concede that Grey is consistently called out on his shit ("Tell Grey hi from me, and also to go fuck himself"..."Connor says hi, and that you should fuck yourself.") and by the end has recognized, apologized for, and rectified his behavior, so he is someone who can learn and grow and thus does not have to remain a garbage person forever.

"These past couple months, my head was in a real bad place--like, the one core tenet of my moral compass is do no harm and that basically all went to shit the second I moved in here. Now I have this laundry list of things I fucked up, that I can never take back, and it's killing me."--Grey McIntyre, in a rare self-aware moment

♥ But Connor? Connor gets under Lane's skin from the beginning, as their lives intertwine and enmesh through Grey and his girlfriend, who happens to be Connor's sister. Connor pushes Lane, asks her to face her fears, gets her to do something about them.

"To paraphrase...the best way around a problem is to go right the fuck on through it. So--yeah. Let's fix it."

Connor lives and works in an artist workspace/warehouse, and Lane knits hats, scarves, mittens, chokers, blankets, etc. for her family's booth at the farmers' market, so they're both creative people. Lane takes to spending a lot of time at the warehouse, where she feels safe and can work on her craft with people who understand.

♥ But here's the part that's really different than most YA. I've read a lot of books with trauma in them, but there's a lot to unpack in this one. Grey suffers from insomnia, up for hours at a time in the middle of the night. His girlfriend, whether or not she wants to admit it, is being verbally abused by her father and their religion at home, if his language in the one or two conversations we hear is any indication. Connor was kicked out of his home at 16, and spent 14 months living on the streets before he found salvation in the warehouse. And Lane? Lane's mother committed suicide when Lane was only 5 years old, and Lane was the one to find her. She has very vivid nightmare flashbacks, and what I would consider PTSD.

She knows that she should want to get help. But when you're suffering from trauma, sometimes it's hard to want to get better. Your mind can convince you that you'll start to forget the things that were good, if you heal from the things that were bad.

"Still, some part of me didn't want to heal-it wanted the wounds and blood and memories, and the unending, unparalleled fear that, so far, had kept me going."

When I was 11, my mom died. Not by suicide, but there was still plenty of trauma to go around then, and in the aftermath. And Lane is right--the wounds start to feel like part of you. I've been through therapy for years and years, and there are still pieces of the trauma that I don't want to give up. It's been a part of me for so long, that it feels like it belongs there now. So what Lane is going through? It feels very valid.

Final Thoughts: I think it's clear that I adore this book, if the length of this review is any indication. It's so well written, it's so complicated, so sexy, so darkly romantic. And the author is a true delight to interact with. This is her debut, and I hope you'll all pre-order a copy! Pre-orders are SO important to authors, especially when we want them to be able to publish more books!!

Favorite Quotes:

"That's all any of us are, I think-more or less screwed up, at any given moment. It's all chaos."

"Life is nothing if not a shitshow of everything you'd rather forget entirely."

"Lane, if you could maybe locate your chill, that would be great.

All quotes are taken from an uncorrected proof of the book
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,110 reviews1,010 followers
February 6, 2020
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight


There is, blissfully, a content warning given at the start of the book. I will include it in my review, verbatum from the unfinished advanced copy, for your trigger warning needs:
This story contains content that might be troubling to some readers, including, but not limited to, depictions of and references to death, suicide, cutting and self-harm, vivid nightmare imagery, substance abuse, homelessness, childhood trauma, and PTSD. Please be mindful of these and other possible triggers, and seek assistance if needed from the resources on page 347.

Look, I know it might sound squicky, to have a case of the feels for your step-brother. But Lane knew (and liked) Grey long before anyone's parents shacked up. I didn't find it squicky in the least. I did, however, find it like the gut-gnawing, all consuming unrequited love that most of us have endured at one time or another. So I was sort of drawn to Lane from the start, because of how much I could relate to what she was going through in that regard. But soon, I became completely invested in her whole story. And kind of loved it, even when it broke my heart.

And it will break your heart. Lane has been through a lot in her life. She's lost her mother, is dealing with her own precarious mental health and physical health (she has extremely severe endometriosis), and is now living with the dude she's been in love with for ages. Oh and did I mention he has a girlfriend (Sadie)? Who even Lane can't help but like? Yeah. The story mainly follows these three, plus Sadie's brother, Connor, who's been shunned from their family by their garbage father.

Speaking of, there are a ton of sideplots, which I think worked well. None of them felt like too much (well, maybe one small one, but that's really not bad), and they all seemed to enhance the story. I liked that each character had some aspects of the plot that felt like their own. Because isn't that how life works? We all have our share of the shit, frankly. And the author does a brilliant job reminding us of that.

The relationships among the four main characters are fabulously well-developed. While the relationship between Grey and Lane is a bit at the forefront, Lane's relationships with each of them (and each of them with each other) are brilliantly showcased and seem so, so authentically messy. I also must add, Lane's relationship with her dad and stepmother are incredibly well-developed as well. And the stepmom? She's awesome, and it's clear that everyone really loves and cares about Lane.

Bottom Line: Very thoughtfully done and so very readable, I would absolutely recommend this one for anyone who can handle the content warnings. It's absolutely worth it!
Profile Image for Madi ~☆TheBookNerdDiaries☆~.
333 reviews201 followers
March 28, 2020
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and this has in no way affected my thoughts.

I'm gonna be honest: when I was first approached about reading and reviewing this one, I was kind of iffy on it. My first impression was a sort of incesty (step-siblings)romance novel, but as I started to get into it I realized that this wasn't really the case and it became less uncomfortable. I also hadn't really read any books of a similar fashion because of said incesty concerns so I wasn't sure what to expect.

The beginning of the book was a lil rough but as I kept reading, I found myself falling more and more into the book and more compelled to keep reading in my free time, which is something that for me indicates that I'm connecting with and actually enjoying the book. It's hard sometimes, especially if it's during testing season or when major assignments are due, to find myself in these moods because so much of me is elsewhere and trying to manage all the other stuff going on. Together We Caught Fire reeled me in during a busy season and gave me an escape from all the craziness irl.

Alrighty with all that said, it's time for a breakdown of some of my other thoughts on TWCF!:

Content/Trigger warnings
(Depictions of death, references to suicide and cutting, self-harm, vivid nightmare imagery, substance abuse, homelessness, childhood trauma, and PTSD)

I really loved that the author included trigger warnings before the book began. I’ve never read a book that has done so and I think it’s a really important feature that should be used more often. Though I don’t have any of the triggers, they helped prepare me for what I was going to read and for someone who has these triggers I think it would be really helpful and informative as to if they should read the book or to prepare for what lay ahead. Another thing I really like was the inclusion of resources at the end of the book for ().

The Connor Incident
As a psych major and as a human being, it really bothered me that Connor, knowing Lane was uncomfortable around knives, basically forced her to cut him. No medical professionals were involved or consulted and I imagine that the situation would have been very triggering.

The Love Interests
I never found it in me to root for either love interest. After the Connor incident, I never liked him and felt he wasn’t a good influence. Towards the end of the novel, he also felt like he was being a dick for no reason. Grey also seemed like a dick and I couldn’t understand how that was attractive.

As I kinda said before in less specific terms, I don't know if I would have picked this one up if I had come across it on my own rather than being approached by the publisher. I'm glad I was approached about this one because it exposed me to a book I wouldn't normally read that I ended up really enjoying and finding to be a meaningful read especially with the content.
Profile Image for Olivia Wildenstein.
Author 41 books2,597 followers
March 24, 2020
“We fell into the stars. They funneled out of the darkness and seeped into my senses, overlapping and infinite, distant and impossibly close.”

This book will char your heart, then set it aflame again.

I don’t think there is a better way to describe Gibson’s TOGETHER WE CAUGHT FIRE as one long and beautiful, devastating yet hopeful poem. Her characters were marvelous and made the lyrical journey addictive. I absolutely adored Connor and his sister Sadie.

TWCF was so dark at times that I swear I could taste ash on the page, and then Gibson kindled a new fire in her character’s lives, and the pages burned with renewed hope.
Profile Image for hope.
109 reviews3 followers
November 14, 2019
Well boo. I liked the summary, and really wanted to like it when I found out it was set in North Carolina, but this book was a dud for me.

The romance was bad, and by the mid-way point I hated both of the romantic leads. They both were completely overdramatic and said nasty, uncalled for things to the MC, usually involving her being called a slut.

You're led to believe the romance with Grey will be the main focus of the novel, but Lane spends most of it with Connor instead. And what a roller coaster that toxic relationship was! I hate you, now I miss you, I don't want to see you, can I spend the night, etc. The love triangle also didn't get resolved in a satisfying way at all--somewhere near the 3/4 mark Lane gets with Grey in a moment of weakness and.....after pining over him for four years decides she's over him literally three seconds later. Really?

Also, Lane was very unlikeable too--super dramatic and she didn't talk like any teenager I know--a lot of "Wow, _______ (adjective), much?"

The plot itself was pretty thin (someone dies and Connor gets arrested and....nothing happens?), and there were weird time skips. I did like Lane's relationship with her step-mom and her Dad (the scene when they were relieved that Connor was an atheist instead of a Christian was the high point of the novel), and I liked seeing how Sadie grew at the end of the novel, so that was something.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Krystal.
105 reviews6 followers
February 22, 2020
Lane, Conner, Grey and Sadie are the main characters in Together We Caught Fire, a book about forbidden romance, teen angst, and a lot of other issues that may not be okay for everyone to read. There is definitely a need for trigger warnings with this book - suicide and drug use, among others.

The beginning of this book was extremely confusing, I wasn't sure what was going on. It got better but to be honest, the overall book fell a little flat for me. There were some great parts, I'll give you that. At first I enjoyed the playful friendship between Conner and Lane, and the time they spent together. But then things changed and their relationship changed to this weird back and forth. Sadie was an interesting character that felt out of place to me.

Overall, this just wasn't the book I was expecting. I think people are going to fall into 2 categories with this one, you're either going to love it, or not and it looks like I fall into the latter.
Profile Image for Jill Corddry.
Author 7 books16 followers
July 19, 2019
For anyone who's ever had a forbidden crush (even if that crush didn't become your step-sibling)...

The writing is lush, each word carefully crafted to summon maximum emotion, from humor to gut-wrenching sorrow. Eva creates characters you want to know personally, to hang out with, to hug when times are tough, characters you'll miss when you finish the book.

This was one of the few novels I've read recently that I couldn't put down once I started it, and yet I hesitated over finishing it because I didn't want it to be over. I cannot wait to read her next one...and the one after that...and the one after that.
Profile Image for Caz.
1,099 reviews24 followers
March 15, 2020
The book is over flowing with metaphors and flowery prose...and not in a good way. I tend to find that with books that revolve around mental health.

The writing made it difficult to connect with Lane and her turmoil.

Profile Image for Nishi Wadhwani.
113 reviews21 followers
April 18, 2020
"We lied and we lied and we lied"
Sometimes we come across books that we don't just read... we live them. Feel every high, every low , every emotion .
Gibson's writing style is so enthralling, she spinned the whole book as one beautiful heartbreaking poem. The emotions, the angst, the romance is so intense that it sets fire to your every belief, sets ablaze your heart over and over again.

I read the book in one go. I just couldn't put it down.
Lane - the protagonist experiences two kinds of *love* for the two guys in her life: Grey/Greyson- he is everything she isn't, he's your typical boy next door with his own issues. What she feels for him is safe, because she knows he is way out of her reach. Until one day her father introduces Grey as her soon to be step brother. Suddenly her world is falling apart and burning down to ashes.
Then she meets Connor Hall, the mysterious loner guy who was born and brought up in a perfect American dream but then disowned by his parents because he's an atheist. He's also Sadie's brother.. Sadie who is Grey's girlfriend, almost fianceé.
Initially what ignites between Connor and Lane was a way for both of them to escape reality, which slowly transforms into something beautiful.

Two broken souls trying to find solace in each other. The slow burn which I absolutely love in a ya romance book.

This book has made it to my favorite books shelf and I strongly recommend to everyone who can handle some triggers like slut shaming, suicide, self harm, religion related triggers, etc.
I absolutely adore the writing style and am now eagerly looking forward to Gibson's future books.
A fantastic debut that will make you fall in love with the characters over and over again.
"Before I set fire to everything between us, letting it spark and scorch and devour us both, until there was nothing left in the world to burn."
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,340 reviews94 followers
January 27, 2020
I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

I was in the mood for a little angst and, oh boy, did I get that with Together We Caught Fire.

The story ended up being a little different than I thought it would be, based on the synopsis. There was still angst for days, but it wasn’t all romantic, love-triangle stuff. Lane is a complete mess and had issues in every single aspect of her life, mostly stemming from discovering her mother’s suicide when she was five years old. She has nightmares every night, severe trust issues, intimacy issues, family issues, depression, the list goes on. When Grey becomes her step-brother she starts hanging out with him, his girlfriend Sadie, and Sadie’s brother, Connor. Each one of them have their own myriad of issues and dysfunction and it could all be a little too much at times. However, it was one very addicting read.

It’s kind of hard to describe any of these characters as “likable”, but I was pretty invested in them. I wanted to see them work out their issues and heal and we do see a little bit of that by the time the book ends. Out of all of them, I did like Connor the best. It’s arguable that he had the most tragic backstory, but he was still the most well-adjusted, despite his issues. I liked how he was with Lane and I definitely shipped them. I had a hard time really understanding Lane’s “feelings” for Grey. He had moments where he could be sweet, but for most of the story he acted like a jerk and he had some definite anger issues. He and Lane had a few charged moments of longing glances, but I could never really get on board with the idea of them getting together. I liked them much more as step-siblings than as romantic interests.

While religion didn’t play a huge part in the story, the two ends of the spectrum were represented here. On one end was Sadie’s Fundamentalist Christian church, which her father pastors (who are, of course, the villains of the story as hateful bigots), and on the other end is Grey, the Wiccan. Lane is firmly in agnostic land, but partakes in her family’s pagan rituals. I have to say that even though these aren’t huge points in the story, it kind of brought my overall reading experience down. It always annoys me when the Christians are portrayed so poorly (even if they are fundamentalists and not your average Christian church) and I also was a little uncomfortable with the whole paganism thing. There’s even a point in the story where Lane’s father sits her down to talk to her about her relationship with Connor because he’s so afraid he’s going to “convert” her and then he’s overjoyed to find out Connor is an atheist. I mean, honestly, my main recurring thought while reading this whole book was, “These people need Jesus.” I did like, however, how it portrayed that no matter what your faith is, we all have our issues and brokenness we have to work through.

Overall, I did enjoy Together We Caught Fire. I don’t think it would be for everyone, but if you think you can handle the angst, buckle up and clear your schedule for this addictive debut. Even though the writing was a little more flowery and used a lot more imagery than I generally care for, it is super addictive and I could hardly put the book down. I’m definitely interested in seeing what Gibson does next.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars
Profile Image for Celia.
Author 6 books479 followers
November 26, 2019
Some spoilers. Read at your own risk. Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher.

Also, my Grammarly account is on hold so tough out the grammatical mistakes I am too lazy to fix.

When I first read the synopsis for this book I said to myself, this sounds like some weirdo dreams I used to have when I had a crush on Joshua Goodwin back in elementary school. I seriously imagined my mother divorcing my dad and marrying Josh's father (where his mother went, I don't know. Dead maybe. I was a weird kid) and OMG the scenarios that would play in my head. GAH. Anyhow, the synopsis had me all, wow, I'd love to read something like my juvenile romantic inventions, but sexier.

So, here we have Lane who, after her dad announces with engagement, finds herself living with the very boy she's had a crush on, like, FOREVER. Cue the fans because is it hot in here? Not only that, but he's the boyfriend of Lane's friend AND NOT ONLY THAT she finds herself crushing on a mutual friend, Conner. When Lane hooks up with Conner, she finds that her feelings toward her step-brother Grey become muddled.

Gibson's writing is literally to die for. At first, I thought it would too flowery for my taste but NOPE. It worked and it worked so well I need to take a class on how to write like her because she is GOALS.

The open discussion about Lane's periods and endometriosis was a welcome topic seeing as a lot of women, including myself have suffered from such a thing and her doctor brushing her off saying she's too young for such a thing, even though her mother had it, is so real-life. Women's pain is often discredited. I was told the same and I ended up wth stage four endo that nearly rendered me infertile. Endo needs a cure. Fist pump.

The other topics I need to mention are that Lane's family are Wiccans and that is not something we see in YA. Also, the slut-shaming that Lane puts up with not only from her school, but from Grey and her friend would have been infuriating if not for Lane's attitude. She's no pushover and makes it known.

Grey is one jerk of a character. For one, he's controlling. He doesn't show the least bit of interest in Lane, save for a few tiny moments, until she gets with Conner and then he goes all crazy, like some boys do when they want something they can't have. Thank the gods that Lane sees it for what it is. Although her relationship with Conner becomes strained when her fantasies about Grey still vying to become reality.

And Sadie, Grey's girlfriend, and Lane supposed friend is pretty much a sh&t person. The comments she makes regarding Lane's clothing cannot be blamed on her conservative upbringing. She's just downright rude.

And Conner, poor cinnamon Conner. I just fell for him. Hard.

All in all, this was a fantastic book and I loved every moment of the time I spent reading it. This book deals with some heavy topics and there is a trigger warning, but my final thoughts are that I feel like YA needs to tackle more topics like mental illness as well as homelessness, suicide, insomnia, as well as other health issues like the endo I mentioned above. It is doing a disservice to teens not to touch upon this and publish more books with these issues.
Profile Image for Anouk.
127 reviews
March 10, 2020
So... Let's talk about his book.

First of all, it's definitely not a fluffy read and you should absolutely heed the multiple CW
Then, there are the characters, or more specifically the two main love interests Greyson and Connor.

I get that you would want to write characters that are flawed, not perfect, and struggling with issues of their own. I mean, the heroine is definitely not a flawless.
However, it is one thing to write them flawed and another to have them be the perfect embodiment of toxic masculinity for the whole book
Profile Image for Sarah.
350 reviews1 follower
May 15, 2022
This book had a lot of potential and I liked it when I was actually able to get into it. The problem for me was the writing style, and it was a big problem. The story, which is complex and intricate already, was bogged down by the flowery prose and over abundance of metaphors. There were so. many. metaphors. This could have been fine if they made sense, but so many didn't. It was jarring to be reading what should be an emotionally poignant scene, only to be pulled out of it but this long rambling description that just had me thinking 'wait, what?' I lost track of the number of times I had to back track to figure out what was happening. Those moment kept pulling me out of the story and prevented me from being able to get really invested in it or the characters.

That said, the part that I was able to get into I just enjoy. Lane was a difficult character to be in the head space of at times, but that didn't make me like her any less. She reminded me a lot of Courtney Summers 'unlikable heroines' and that is a a good thing in my book. Conner was lovely and definitely my favourite of our central characters. He wasn't perfect, but he recognized that and he tried his best. I think that is the beauty in all these character, Grey and Sadie included. They are all deeply flawed. Most of the 'drama' in this book comes from the characters behaving badly or making poor decisions, and there was something so very human in that. Everyone goes through rough patches, or handles a situation badly and it doesn't make them bad people (or characters). To me it just made them more interesting.
Profile Image for Cait.
2,222 reviews4 followers
July 28, 2020
This was very much not what I expected. I feel like I say this a lot, but it's true. The love triangle surprised me, as did how it all shook out. But it was a nice shift of a coming of age story.
February 20, 2020
Lane Jamison has been in love with Gray for years. The only problem? Gray has a girlfriend, has only had one conversation with Lane years ago, and has a new step-sister: Lane herself. When their parents marry after a whirlwind romance, Lane finds herself living in the same house as Gray and battling back her attraction for her new brother. Only her battle includes some sketchy eavesdropping on Gray's VERY personal alone time (if you know what I mean...).
In the middle of all the teen angst and yearning comes Connor Hall. Connor is the exiled brother of Sadie (Gray's girlfriend). As Lane spends more and more time with Connor to get away from Gray and the tensions at home, she finds herself falling into his arms and his bed. As their bond grows, Lane starts to questions what love really is, and whether what she feels for her step-brother is love at all.
As we follow Lane through the twists and turns of her relationships with Connor, Gray, and Sadie, we also watch her mental health crumble. Lane has suffered from horrible night terrors since she found her mother dead on the bathroom floor when she was five years old. The death of a boy at a party has sends her into a dark spiral, damaging and straining the relationships with her friends and loved ones.

Eva Gibson did some really amazing things in Together We Caught Fire. For one, she managed to keep me involved and invested in all four of the main characters (Lane, Connor, Gray, and Sadie), even when I actively disliked Gray and Sadie for nearly the entirety of the book. I still cared (which is impressive for me, as I don't usually care about characters I don't like). Gibson kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering if Gray and Sadie would realize just how screwed up their relationship was, even as I did excited little happy dances every time Connor and Lane did something adorable.

Gibson also was exceedingly careful with the issues she put into her novel. There is a lot of talk of suicide and mental health troubles, and it is all done so tastefully. Never once is it inferred that mental instability is a flaw. In Lane's mother, it was something that was never faced, and in Lane it was something that, ultimately, she found the courage to face and work to overcome. But never once was Lane viewed as needing to be 'fixed', even in her own head, and I think that representation is extremely important in YA today. There was also a very helpful Trigger Warning at the start of the book, as well as a list of resources for anyone struggling with depression or mental illness. All in all, I was so impressed with the tact and respect that was given to this topic in particular.

The only thing that really detracted from this story for me was the way that Connor's banishment was dealt with. We're told at the very start of the book that Connor was kicked out of his family home for being gay. This made me wonder if perhaps (knowing Connor was going to be the main love interest) if he might be bisexual. I even flirted with the idea that perhaps both he and his boyfriend were bisexual and Lane would make them a complete set. I would have been excited to read either option. However, what we got was a boy who was 100% straight, a roommate that was 100% straight, and a four year old rumor that spread by a youth group to get back at Connor because he was an atheist. Suffice to say, I was less than impressed. Not only did you offer up representation, then tug it out from under everyone's feet, the way that the 'rumor' reveal was presented was awkward and just felt a little off.

Overall I rate this a 4/5 stars.
I enjoyed this book immensely. It was angsty and honest. I loved the tasteful way mental health was addressed. The characters were easy to relate to, even though there is a solid decade between us. This book was witty and hard hitting while still ultimately being a romance novel that was enjoyable from beginning to end. Gibson managed to have me rooting for characters, even when I didn't like them (Sadie and Gray) for large portions of the book. I was invested from page one and she never lost me. The only things I didn't like about this book were the take on Connor's exile/gay rumor, and the slightly off-kilter reaction to religion from some of the characters that simply didn't feel genuine to me. Otherwise this book would have probably been a five star read for me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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