Series: Caroline and West #1
Author: Robin York
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Published: January 28th, 2014 by Bantam
In Robin York’s sizzling debut, a college student is attacked online and must restore her name—and stay clear of a guy who’s wrong for her, but feels so right.
When Caroline Piasecki’s ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn’t look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.
West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he’s shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger—even after promising her dad she’ll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.
They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they’re “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself—and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.
When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.
Amazing debut novel by Robin York. Profound story line, beautifully written and layered with deep emotions and characters that capture your heart. I absolutely loved it. Fans of EASY by Tammara Webber will appreciate and devour this book.
Some decisions can affect your life in ways you never thought imaginable. One click, one snap and that’s all it took for Caroline’s life to be turned upside down.
College student/good girl Caroline Piasecki has her life planned out. She wants to be a lawyer for which she knows she has to study hard, keep a level head and prepare herself for the future she has always envisioned. Then her clear and cut future is shaken by betrayal. Pictures of Caroline in very compromising situations pop up all over the internet. Pictures that she had let her ex-boyfriend take privately. Pictures she regretted taking from the beginning are now out in the open for the world to see, compromising her flawless reputation and tainting her future plans.
“The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies. It comes from friends and loved ones.”
Now just trying to keep her head above water while ignoring the voices of the men that call her all kinds of profane names, Caroline knows the last thing she needs is to get involved in any level with someone like West Leavitt. He is bad news, oozes sex appeal, likes to fight and sells drugs. Not exactly the low key appearance she is desperately trying to maintain, but the slow simmering attraction she feels towards West brings them together in a sort of “non friendship.”
“I’ll see you around. It’s a good thing we’re not friends, or else maybe I’d miss you. Or something more than friends-it’s a good thing we weren’t going out, or I’d be gutted right now. But, you know, we’re not. Going out. Obviously. It’s so obvious. I’m not sure why I didn’t get the memo on that.”
West was quite an interesting character. He was raised in a trailer park with a carefree mother whose only interest is his good for nothing father that comes and goes as he pleases, making a mess of things. West has a mission, go to college, work as much as he can, do whatever needs to be done in order to make money-and that includes a wide range of illegal things- go to medical school and provide a better life for his little sister Frankie. He works three jobs, sells drugs and he absolutely, CANNOT afford any distractions that might derail his plans.
“The problem with Caroline isn’t that I want her. The problem is that I want to help her, want to learn her, want to fix her, and I can’t do that. I can’t get caught up with her, or she’ll distract me and I’ll wreck everything.”
I was captivated by the emotional depth of this story. The problems the characters confront are real issues, personal and scary. It’s not just a conflict of forbidden love. It’s about things anyone can relate to, strong subjects like drugs, money, sex, revenge. The narration is so explicit and vivid that it feels as if you’re living everything along with the characters.
Seeing Caroline’s growth throughout the story is admirable. She held strong even though at times it would have been easier to give up. The author does such an amazing job at describing the emotions in this book that it really grabs at your heart. It felt as if I was literally in Caroline’s shoes, feeling what she was feeling. It’s not always easy to grasp someone elses pain, we can sympathize but is not quite like experiencing it for yourself which is exactly what York does, she makes you live it.
“I have choices. Not falling apart is my choice. Every morning, whether I’ve slept or not, whether I’ve made it through the day without crying or given in and sobbed in the shower, where no one can hear me – the sun comes up, and I make my choice. Today won’t be the day this breaks me.”
I LOVE West but there were times where I had mixed emotions about him. It was a love hate relationship with him, at least until I got to know him better. He is extremely loyal, devoted and deeply protective. West has a complicated life. He has one goal and he doesn’t want any distractions therefore his attitude towards Caroline can sometimes seem a bit cold and detached. He wants her, feels deeply for her but he knows that she’ll only distract him, so he holds back. He doesn’t share anything about his life with her, continuously keeping her at arms length. He’s unable to turn away from her but also unwilling to go further. It was an internal struggle when it came to his feelings for Caroline, which was quite frustrating but understanding all the same considering the position he was in.
“I want you, and I don’t know how to stop wanting you. I want to get deep inside you, and then deeper, until I’m so deep I don’t even know what’s me anymore and what’s you.”
I was proud when Caroline finally stood her ground and decided that enough is enough. She was patient and understanding with him because she also had her reasons to stay away from West. He isn’t exactly the good guy you take home to meet daddy but she learns that some things in life are worth the risk and nothing and nobody can dictate your life unless you allow it. I love it when a girl stands her ground and is not afraid to ask for the respect she deserves. Caroline was an amazing, heroine.
“Is deeper or nothing.”I tell him. “So make up your mind.”
This time, I’m the one who walks away.
I wasn’t too satisfied with the ending. I definitely wanted more, so I was GLAD to learn that the second book HARDER is around the corner and I simply cannot wait! York’s writing is a work of art. You will fall in love with West and you will cheer for Caroline the whole way.
*Pre-order Harder *
About the Author
Robin York grew up at a college, went to college, signed on for some more college, and then married a university professor. She still isn’t sure why it didn’t occur to her to write New Adult sooner. Writing as Ruthie Knox, she is a USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary romance, including RITA-finalists About Last Night andRoom at the Inn. She moonlights as a mother, makes killer salted caramels, and sorts out thorny plot problems while running, hiking, or riding her bike.