I’m sort of in between really liking it and loving it so I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5 PINK stars! There are some parts that made my heart clench and then again, some parts made me want to stop reading all together. I’m glad I read it through to the end and let me tell you why.
Ebook provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Becca Trent lived her childhood next to a cruel woman—her mom—who lived to torment and neglect her. During her high school years, her mother married; bringing home not only a new husband, but a step sister her same age. The latter took over her Mom’s role—making Becca’s life miserable. Including stealing Ian—Becca’s best friend and boyfriend—Lisa treated her worse than her mother had for the previous fifteen years. A couple of years later, things ended up in tragedy.
Becca buried that part of her life in the deep corners of her psyche, but that only work during the days when the nightmares didn’t come back to haunt her. Her best friend, Dan gives her that family love she always lacked. Everything was close to perfect, until everything and everyone from her past came back. Now, she’s trying to figure out how to survive and keep that bond which seems now to be held together by a thread.
Note: This is the first part of a two book novel.
When her mother remarried, her new stepsister became her own personal torturer. Lissa was a very messed up girl and she used Becca as an emotional, psychological, and sometimes even a physical punching bag. Nobody in their house ever cared for Becca. She was alone in that respect, that much was clear. She was grateful to have Ian as a bestfriend. He would soothe her and calm her when things get particularly rough for Becca. Promises of a better life with Ian made her look forward to the next day.
It didn’t last, though, because everything changed. Ian was not the person she thought he was. It all ended in a tragedy that shook Becca’s world upside down, a tragedy that held her in the past and kept her from moving on with her life.
Years later, and this is how we meet Becca in the book, Becca is somehow coping with the events of her life. We see her trying to deal with the memories of the tragedy that made her lose everything.
At first, I was kind of annoyed with Becca. I did not understand how horrid she can possibly be to mooch off of her best friend, Dan. As I got to know more about Becca and as more of her story is revealed, I slowly understood why she is the way she is. This is one of the things that I did not appreciate about the story, though. It starts out very slow. It left me confused for quite a while. There are all these references to the events that made Becca the way she is but the thing is, I had no idea what those events are. It’s all very cloudy in the beginning. And although I don’t mind a bit of a mystery in a novel, it kind of made me feel lost during the earlier pages.
When more light is shed on Becca’s past, everything made much more sense. Claudia Burgoa was able to portray Becca as a character that a reader can grow very attached to. The fact that she writes the book in Becca’s POV allowed me to see the depth of emotion that went into writing that character. There’s so much pain in the way she narrates her story and it just comes off the page and seizes the heart. I felt every harsh word that Becca endured. We also see her as she deals with the memories she fought to keep from the harsh light of day knowing that her new friends would abandon her once they find out her secrets. It was interesting to see how she sorts her feelings and thoughts in her mind. Her rants and mental ramblings, her notes to self, all made her a very endearing character. I may not have experienced half of what she went through in her life but I understood her.
I went into the book thinking that this was going to be another case of the male bestfriend trying to save a damaged girl with a past in a show of machismo. It was a pleasant surprise to find that there is more to WHERE LIFE TAKES YOU than that. I like romance novels, I really do, but I barely even felt the romance here and it actually worked for me. WHERE LIFE TAKES YOU is more about how Becca tries to resolve the guilt and insecurities that have taken over her life. It tells the story of how a young woman struggles to find who she is and what she has become in the shadow of the people she clings to. Her history of being abandoned left Becca with an unconscious tendency to hold on to the people in her life. I sort of got the impression that, in the beginning, she tolerated Dan’s overbearing personality because it’s a far cry from the neglect she grew up with. As the story progresses, we find Becca struggling to find her own footing, to find the courage to stand up on her own. WHERE LIFE TAKES YOU is all about Becca and her struggle to pick her pieces back up after the Lissa and Ian. After her mom. And even after Dan.
I so did not expect it to end like that, though. That ending will have me sitting on the edge of my seat until NEXT TO YOU comes out later this year.