I try to swallow back my hurt and fail miserably. Driving back to my hotel roomm, I'm lost in thought at the strange turn of events.
I'm being pushed away from the one person who I never thought I would be without, while being pushed toward the one person I never thought I would have to see again.
Full disclosure here: I read about ten pages of Let Love In, the first book in this series, and then tried to dive in to book #2. Book #2, however (Let Love Stay), basically picks up where book #1 ended, and so I was "forced" to go back and read the first book to get some back story on the main characters, Reid and Maddy (I say "forced" because I love YA books, so it really wasn't that much of a hardship!).
Instead of doing an official synopsis, I'll try to summarize the books for you in my own words. In the first novel, 18-year-old Maddy goes off to college in Ithaca, NY, with her best friend Melanie. Maddy's parents died in a car crash when she was only 10 years old, and Melanie and her mom took Maddy in and have been her surrogate family ever since. At a house party one night, Maddy meets Reid, her suitemate's boyfriend's roommate, who comes across as very standoffish at first, but soon (surprise, surprise) they are attracted to each other and fall in love. At the end of Let Love In, Maddy and Reid have just had a fight, and she gets in a car accident while driving his car and learns that she's pregnant.
At the beginning of Let Love Stay, Maddy and Reid must sort through their issues, especially after she tells him she's pregnant, and figure out what they're going to do. Reid's mom, too, has cancer and is dying, and a girl from his hometown calls him to tell him this; he's been estranged from her for 4-5 years, and must decide if he wants to make amends with her or not before she dies.
There were a lot of things I liked about these books and a few things I did not; since this is a review of Let Love Stay and not Let Love In, I'll try to keep my ramblings contained to this book. The book was a mix of Beautiful Bastard and Beautiful Disaster, in my opinion, and although both of the main characters have tragic backgrounds/pasts, the characters in Disaster (Abby and Travis) did as well, which is probably why I started comparing the two novels so quickly. LLS also has a lot of sexual scenes, but it's classified as NA - "New Adult," the more sexualized version of YA (Young Adult) - so that's to be expected.
I was a little taken aback that neither Maddy's character nor any of her friends even brought up the idea of having an abortion, once she learned she was pregnant; to me, the author was trying to convey a very pro-life message. Although Reid is 21 in the book, Maddy is only 18, which is pretty young to be having a baby; but she immediately decides she's going to keep the baby, even if Reid leaves her over it.
I will say that I really liked the characters in this book, even though they weren't really unusual compared to other YA/NA books, as well as the core story. At the same time, however, I felt their relationship was a little unrealistic. They jumped into being in love very soon after they met, in the first book, but were somehow able to survive all of the hardships and challenges thrown their way, even though there were a ton of them, including accidents, deaths, and the pregnancy. Perhaps I'm a bit jaded from reading a lot of YA stories, but I couldn't help but think that they fell in love super quickly. I did like, however, that they each helped each other get over their painful pasts.
I thought this was the last story in the series, but a third, Let Love Heal, that will focus on Maddy's friend Melanie, will be published in October 2013, and I will most likely read it, as I'm curious to see how Melanie's story turns out.
3.5 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of this book and the prequel for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.