***ARC provided to Kris & Vik’s Book Therapy Cafe for an honest review!***
Some days are brighter than others, but Penelope Finnel has been taught she can be invisible behind the colored lenses of her heart-shaped sunglasses.
Her mind is her worst enemy, and simply waking up in the morning is risky. For a kid like her, staying in bed is easier, especially when the day has come to start school in a new town with new kids who don’t understand that the clouds are not the only reason everything is so gloomy.
Dillon Decker is a typical boy from a typical small town who radiates light and happiness. Under the hovering glare from her father, Dillon leads Penelope around on his bicycle’s handlebars, hoping he is the cure to her madness.
But when friend turns to lover, and lover turns to caretaker, how much can either of them tolerate before they’re swallowed whole?
A story about moving trucks and rollerblades, candy for smiles, and notes across lawns.
First loves and the struggle to keep it sane.
The true love way.
“What are you looking at, boy?”
If Mary Elizabeth writes it, I will read it. Always! Her words are beautiful and so fucking soul crushing I don’t even know how I survive. I don’t know how she does it but she ruins me for all other books every single time.
True Love Way had my emotions running rampant, I swear. The first part of the book had me giggling and wishing Wayne Finnel was a permanent fixture in my life. But as the book went on, my heart cried for Penelope and Dillon.
There were ups and there were downs. Those ups were beautiful and heartwarming, but those downs were lonely and heartbreaking. I felt like I was right there in that bed with Pen, slowly slipping into the dark depths of despair. It was both wonderful and awful at the same time, if that even makes sense at all.
I’ve become obsessed with Penelope Finnel. Purple-orange is her favorite color, even after I told her purple-orange isn’t a thing.
That boy! He was smart, beautiful, caring and he loved with his whole heart. The things he did for Pen just melted me from the inside out. I loved him lots and lots especially his beautiful, rickety heart.
“You’re my best friend.” Penelope’s soft voice forces my eyes from her hands to her blue star-shaped rims. “I’m lucky to have you.”
Pen! I loved her. She was so strong; strongest even at her lowest. It was extremely hard to read about her depression and anxiety. I won’t pretend I really knew how she felt, but I felt like I was feeling everything she was feeling as I read her heartbreaking story. She was just so sweet and sad and beautiful, and every single time she laughed or smiled pretty, I wanted to cry.
Just seriously, seriously this book was beautiful. I don’t know how many more times I can say it. When my daughter turns 14 she is reading this book so that she knows what kind of boy to give her heart to because SERIOUSLY Dillon Decker is just so gosh damn perfect.
The words…all of them, they are so beautifully written. I just cannot even handle it. With Mary and her books, I know that every single time I am going to get my ass kicked, and I just bask in it and savor it all!!
I cannot end this review without mentioning Wayne Finnel again. That protective, funny, hairy guy just made his way into my heart forever.
“Get away from my daughter, boy.”
We’re tangled limbs and naked skin, breathing heavily and touching curiously. My bare back stings under the summer sun, and her pale, undressed chest practically glows. A cage of stark white bone, red blood and muscle, and blue veins protect the fragile beating heart beneath. I brush my lips over the diamond-shaped collection of freckles at the base of her throat and push my knees up, opening hers around me.
She’s tired-wild and lifeless-living.
The dense wall of trees around us protects her from being seen, and the blanket over the grass keeps her comfortable. Far enough out into the woods, only the wildlife will hear her screams.
She’s all that matters and safe with me.
Sliding my hands up her thin stomach and over her round chest, my girl tilts her head back, and her brown eyes move under her translucent lids. Chapped lips part, and a sound so small escapes I don’t know if I heard it and question my own sanity.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” I ask, unbuttoning my shorts.
Penelope’s long lashes flutter, and she opens her eyes against sun rays so strong red blotches slowly appear on her outstretched arms. She has green blades of grass in her grip, holding on to Earth so she doesn’t fly away as I slowly push my fingers into her warmest spot.
My girl circles her hips over my hand, and I shove deeper, like either one of us knows what this really means.
Leaning over her small body, I kiss the length of Pen’s neck and pull her earlobe between my teeth.
“We can stop whenever you want,” I say, licking the single tear that bleeds from the side of her eye.
“I don’t want to,” insistence answers with a breathless voice.
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Mary Elizabeth is an up and coming author who finds words in chaos, writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets.
Known as The Realist, Mary was born and raised in Southern California. She is a wife, mother of four beautiful children, and dog tamer to one enthusiastic Pit Bull and a prissy Chihuahua. She’s a hairstylist by day but contemporary fiction, new adult author by night. Mary can often be found finger twirling her hair and chewing on a stick of licorice while writing and rewriting a sentence over and over until it’s perfect. She discovered her talent for tale-telling accidentally, but literature is in her chokehold. And she’s not letting go until every story is told.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”–Jeremiah 17:9
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