To Whom it May Concern,
It was easy to call us forbidden and harder to call us soulmates. Yet I believed we were both. Forbidden soulmates.
When I arrived to Edgewood, Wisconsin I didn’t plan to find him. I didn’t plan to stumble into Joe’s bar and have Daniel’s music stir up my emotions. I had no clue that his voice would make my hurts forget their own sorrow. I had no idea that my happiness would remember its own bliss.
When I started senior year at my new school, I wasn’t prepared to call him Mr. Daniels, but sometimes life happens at the wrong time for all the right reasons.
Our love story wasn’t only about the physical connection.
It was about family. It was about loss. It was about being alive. It was silly. It was painful. It was mourning. It was laughter.
It was ours.
And for those reasons alone, I would never apologize for loving Mr. Daniels.
This book is so much than the traditional teacher/student romance. For a lot of reasons…
Ashlyn Jennings. From the beginning, she is a such a sad soul. When she sees Daniel the first time it’s his eyes that she notices first. Then it’s his voice and lips. Daniel experienced his own loss before meeting Ashlyn. They are quite the couple when it comes to sadness and grief.
Some people would probably think it was weird that I was wearing the dress that my dead sister had picked out. But that was Gabby. She’d always been a bit morbid like that, talking about her death before it had even arrived, before she had even been sick, and wishing me to look my best at her funeral. The dress was a little too small for me around the waistline, yet I didn’t complain. Who was there to complain to anyway? -Ashlyn
Memories were scary, how they could break you with simply your own thoughts….I hadn’t really allowed my brain to deal with Dad’s death yet–I was still somewhat in shock by Mom’s No matter what, no matter how many times you’d dealt with it, death never grew easier. There was no one I could truly talk to about it. My friends wouldn’t understand even if I tried to explain. Plus, I didn’t want to make them feel as shitty as I felt on a daily basis.-Daniel
They do have another thing in common, besides grief. Shakespeare. They both love quoting from his plays. Daniel’s band, Romeo’s Quest, write songs based on his plays. There is even a scene/game that involves stripping and quoting lines that so sexy and wonderfully written. Ashlyn’s love of reading is what I loved most about her. For Daniel I would say his music, is what I love most, for sure. At the beginning of each chapter you get lines from his band’s songs.
Secondary characters. For me what makes a good book, a great book is the secondary characters. They do need to stand out, not just be fillers. Gabby, Ashlyn’s twin sister, is one of them despite that fact that she is not alive. Then there is Ryan Turner, Ashlyn’s step brother. He is so funny and complex that he made me sob, literally out loud. When you read the book, you’ll understand.
Excerpt from Chapter 15 (Ashlyn’s POV):
“…Hailey told me about this bucket list of yours.” I wasn’t surprised. He continued. “And from what I found out from snooping through your bedroom while you were in the shower…this Gabrielle girl sounded like a real babe.”
I smirked at his comment.
“I mean, if she were here, I would probably give up Tonys with a Y to have Tonis with an I.”
“You would date my sister,” I frowned jokingly, “but not me?”
“Uh, did you die and leave your twin sister letters for every occasion?”
“Then of course I wouldn’t date you. There’s something so sexy about ghosts leaving notes for their loved ones.”
Giggling, I nodded in understanding. “So you only get turned on by ghost girls, not alive girls.”
Ashlyn’s father and his new wife and children invite her to live with them after her sister dies of Leukemia. Her mother seemingly doesn’t want her and is too grief stricken to care. Henry, her father, is the vice principal at her school, so it gets doubly complicated when she becomes involved with Daniel, her English teacher.
God. This. Book. Even now as I look over all of the passages and lines I saved, as I write this review. So many feelings come up, that I am crying all over again. If I had to compare this book to others, I would say Colleen Hooper’s Hopeless and Losing Hope might be close. Because of the raw emotions that the characters and storyline force to the surface.
It feels like I am skimming over this book, but there are details and nuances that I think are better left for you to read and experience. I’ll just say that this book will be in my top 5 favorite list for this year.
–Because maybe home wasn’t a location. Maybe it’s simply the people who you were surrounded with that made you feel as if you could be whoever you wanted to be. – Ashlyn
–His kisses tasted like forever soaked in always.- Ashlyn
–Before her, I never knew life. After her, I’d never know death. – Daniel
–What do you want to be when you grow up? Because growing never stops, and dreaming rarely ceases.- Ryan
–The undeniable power of pain was devastating. I’d known hearts could hurt, but I’d never known they could bleed out into the realms of nothingness.- Ashlyn
–“You’re the reason people believe in tomorrow. You’re the voice that scares the shadows away. You’re the love that makes me breathe. So for the next few seconds, I’m going to be selfish. I’m going to say things that I don’t want you to listen to.” – Daniel
I give this book 5 break my heart stars and put it on my “books that own me” and “top shelf fantastic reads” shelf on Goodreads.