Publication date: September 25, 2013
Format: eARC, 393 pages
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One year. One woman. One Diary. One question: can you ever stop history from repeating itself and if you could what would you do to stop it?
When Lilah McCannon realises at the age of twenty-five that history is going to repeat itself and she is going to become her mother—bored, drunk and wearing a twinset—there is only one thing to do: take drastic action.
Turning her back on her old life, Lilah’s plan is to enroll at university, get a degree and prove she is a grown-up.
As plans go, it is a good one. There are rules to follow: no alcohol, no cigarettes, no boys and no going home. But when Lilah meets the lead singer of a local band and finds herself unexpectedly falling in love, she realises her rules are not going to be the only things hard to keep.
With the academic year slipping by too quickly, Lilah faces a barrage of new challenges: will she ever make it up the Library stairs without having a heart attack? Can she handle a day on campus without drinking vodka? Will she ever manage to read a history book without falling asleep? And most importantly, can she become the grown-up that she desperately wants to be.
With her head and her heart pulling her in different directions can Lilah learn the hardest lesson that her first year of university has to teach her: The Art of Letting Go?
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In Review: My Thoughts
I am going to try to get through this review without gushing too much. “Try” being the operative word. I promise nothing. =)
“I, Lilah McCannon, aged twenty-five, have just run away from home. I am trying not to think about it too much. Every time I do, I start to hyperventilate with that hitched breathing that precedes a full-scale panic attack.”
When this book begins, Lilah is in the midst of living a life she wants no part of. She is engaged to a perfectly nice (and boring) man. Her future has never been her own choice. She makes the decision to take back her life. At 25, she’s going to head to college (university in the UK) and live according to four rules:
- No alcohol.
- No cigarettes.
- No boys.
- No going home.
Needless to say, the rules are broken… at least the first three… within her first couple days at Roehampton University. What kind of story would there have been if they hadn’t been broken?
“If I am going to get through this and be a stronger, more grown-up person for it, then I need to not melt into a puddle every time he looks at me. I wonder if they still make chastity belts and if they do where I can get one.”
At her first event at university, Lilah meets Ben. He’s tall and hot with dark hair and blue eyes. He’s the lead singer of a band. Their attraction is immediate and despite the fact that she’s with someone else, they wind up kissing. Quite a bit. Life gets interesting when she wakes up and learns that they live in the same flat. As they begin to build a friendship, their mutual attraction and sexual chemistry tempts them. I don’t typically condone cheating in books, but the relationship between Lilah and John was strained and, well, I can’t blame her for snogging Ben. I’d do the same if given the chance. 😉
“I don’t know how to be with you now.” He tenses next to me, and I continue. “But I also don’t know how to be without you.”
Lilah definitely didn’t know who she was or what she wanted when she got to university. She was incredibly immature at the beginning of the book and I’m quite pleased with the way she grew during this book. Each experience, whether with Ben, her family or her friends, shaped her. She took initiative to make changes she found necessary for her growth. I applaud her for that. I still wanted to shake her for being so blind with regards to Ben; for not speaking up and saying what she wanted from him. Ben wasn’t perfect, but he was pretty damn close. He was sweet, caring, thoughtful, real, sexy and honest. He’s totally my new favorite book boyfriend. While the book was told solely from Lilah’s perspective, I still feel like I connected with Ben just as much as I did with her. I understood the motivations for his actions and I could feel the strength of his feelings for Lilah, despite never once being in his head.
“You and Ben are the only people who believe you are just friends. Everyone else knows that you are a minefield of hopeless sexual tension and lingering brooding looks.”
One of my favorite things about this book was the humor. I love British humor. This book is filled with it. It left me laughing out loud… and speaking British slang for days. The other two primary characters, Meredith and Tristan, were fantastic, complex characters as well. They were too cute together. The writing was beautiful and absolutely charming. I devoured this book. I also stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it because I couldn’t even consider going to bed without finding out what happened to Lilah and Ben, two of my new favorite characters ever.
“So why do you love me?” Ben asks as he nibbles along my ear and jaw, making me squirm and not at all in a bad way.
“Because it’s as easy as breathing and feels like the most natural thing in the world.”
Lilah and Ben’s relationship wasn’t easy, but it was natural. It was right and powerful. Their interactions left me swooning and smiling. (Yes, and more than a little teary-eyed at times.) When one of them was hurting, I hurt too. I connected deeply with these characters and they took me through a full range of emotions. I felt a personal connection to the characters because they reminded me more than a little bit of a relationship I had in college. That might explain some of the tears. 😉
“I hope that Ben remembers all these perfect moments for the rest of his life. I know that I am going to remember them for all of mine.”
This book is all about the characters and the journey they travel – both separately and together. It’s about the bumps and crossroads they run into along the way and the choices they have to make. I’m not going to spoil any of that for you. You want to experience it all for yourself. Anna Bloom does such a fantastic job of transporting the reader into Lilah and Ben’s lives that it feels like you’re living each day with them.
Anna Bloom writes fantastic characters. I absolutely adored both Lilah and Ben – when I wasn’t considering strangling Lilah for being so dense, that is. While they fell in love with each other, I fell in love with them. It’s been a long time since I read a book with characters that left me with as much of a book hangover as this one did. It was literally days before I could even consider letting go of these characters. I still haven’t given them up entirely. I can’t wait for the next chapter in their story. I officially have a new favorite author for the auto-buy list.