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Cutting breaks through my numbness, but only opens more wounds.
Depression, self-harm, bullying….that’s my reality.
Sex and guys….that’s my escape.
The space between the truth and lies is blurred leaving me torn, lost and confused. And while the monsters that live in my head try to beat me– the two men that I love try to save me.
This is my story of friendship, heartache, and the grueling journey that is mental-illness.
Sometimes you have to get lost in order to be found…
Married. Thinking about Jace being married to someone else puts a crack in my armor. It hurts; it burns my throat as I try to swallow the acidic thought of it down.
“Well then, in four weeks you should get married. Buy a big fancy house and go to charity dinners with your mother and wife. You can have the white picket fence and everything. It sounds like a perfect happily ever after, Jace. Don’t give it up for some broken girl you slept with once.” I bite out. I’m doing my best to keep it together, but I’m slowly unraveling. I love him; I hate him. I want him to stay; I need him to go. My contradicting thoughts circle my mind like vultures.
“Jessica, falling in love can’t always be a happily ever after or a once in a lifetime kind of story. Those happen in books, in movies. This is life and it’s real. Life has no script, no outline. We broke the rules of love long ago. All I know for sure is that with you, the rules will never apply.”
Before dejectedly walking out, he stops to look at me once more.
“And you weren’t just a girl I slept with once. You’re a girl I’ve loved—always.” And then he’s gone.
Upon starting this book, I am faced with my worst nightmare for my children. You see Jessica Alexander suffers from depression. She doesn’t truly fit in with any crowds in high school and doesn’t know a thing about love, hope or friendship. Boys use her because she lets herself be easily accessible to them and she is bullied and ridiculed by the popular kids in school. In a word, she is a mess. I want to cry for this girl because she wants to be wanted and loved and has no real family support behind her.
Enter Jace Collins, the popular athletic boy from her school. Jace reveals some of his secrets to Jessica and they form a friendship based on trust and support. I LOVE Jace – at an age where most boys only care about themselves or sex, Jace is smart and with a heart of gold. He is confident and doesn’t care what people say or think of him – he does things for himself and I’m so proud to watch him protect and stand by Jessica’s side.
Unfortunately because of Jessica’s low self esteem and confidence issues, she is very clingy with regards to Jace and could potentially ruin what they have with each other. But Jace sees her and understands her and sets their relationship on the right path realizing that often times young love and relationships have the potential of not lasting but that the “thing” between them is more meaningful than anything that they have ever experienced and something to treasure at the right time in their lives..when they are ready for that next step.
But of course things are never quite simple and this book takes us on a sad journey showing us how life isn’t always easy, how sometimes you have to make mistakes to be able to learn from them to become a better person and how ultimately you have to learn to love yourself. For me, the message that really stood out was that the belief that there is a higher being watching over us and guiding us is really true if one really believes and I have always had that belief but reading it in this book made it even more real for me.
These characters will stick me for some time, each adding so much to the overall story.
I bonded with Jessica experiencing and understanding everything she went through. Jessica made some really tough decisions on things because she honestly felt that she was doing the right thing. Watching how these decisions impacted her life in the future was often times painful and heart breaking.
Jace crosses paths with Jessica again in the most unexpected way. Seeing them as adults, the reader sees that Jace is that guy in school that you never got over, the one who sticks with you through the years wondering what they are up to, always a constant within your heart. There were so many missed opportunities, so much wasted time, so much heartache between Jessica and Jace but despite this, I couldn’t help but root for this couple.
There was a secondary character who threw me for a loop and I didn’t know how to react to him – Kingsley Arrington stole my heart. He truly did. He came into Jessica’s life at a time where she was so down on herself and her life. Kingsley showed her unconditional love, kindness and how to truly live life. Things happen in the story that completely broke me and I didn’t know how to deal because my heart was literally ripped from my chest.
I didn’t realize going in that there was a potential for a love triangle but I will say it was done in an honest and real way and there was no “team” I was on as my heart ached for all parties involved.
Beautifully written, so personal, so deep and emotional. This was a journey for Jessica, watching someone struggle with mental illness as well as society’s perceptions of the disease but forcing the reader to experience every emotion and every feeling and coming away with some key messages that I for one will never forget.
Devastating yet beautiful – Therapy will stay in my heart for a long time to come. It means even more to me understanding how personal it is to the author as well. I look forward to more from Ms. Perez! <3
Kathryn lives in her small hometown in East Texas with her hand and two amazing children. Kathryn is an advocate of suicide prevention, supporter of ant-bullying efforts and does all she can to provide support to organizations who educate and bring awareness to these topics. With music being her second love to books she claims to be a music infused writer and book junkie who loves to live in a fictional world.