Saturday, 22 June 2013

Review of HIM by Carey Heywood

WARNING: Review contains spoilers!

Title: HIM
Author: Carey Heywood
Publication Date: June 22nd 2013
Source: ARC provided by the author for review purposes

"Sarah Miller hasn’t been home in seven years. She thought she could stay away forever. If it wasn’t for her big brother's wedding, that is. Part of her even feels silly for staying away this long. It's not like anyone even knew what happened. Well, except for him.

That guy. The one she compared all others to. The one who set the bar so high no other guy after him could even compete. The one who made her feel like anything was possible. The one she thought she would never be good enough for. The one she spent the last seven years trying to forget.
All she needs to do is make it through the next week without running into him."

*I Hereby Award This Book 5 Wings!*

I can honestly say I had to wait half an hour or more before even trying to write this review because I was a teary-eyed mess. This was such a beautiful, intense, romantic story and it melted this Ice-Queen's heart. It's not often a book will touch me in such a profound way as this one did. I was drawn into Sarah's life like I was really living it. I fell head over heels in love with 'Him' - he's so... *searches for a word*... swoonworthy, schmexy, droolworthy, lovable... Umm, I could go on but I won't.

Sarah Miller hasn't been home in seven years. Then her brother Brian announces he's getting married to Christine and Sarah has to put on her big girl panties and go home. There's just one thing she's not looking forward to about the trip. What? Him. Will Price. The boy who broke her heart all those years ago, the reason she left home in the first place.
When Sarah arrives home she makes a conscious effort to avoid him. The only problem with that is, he's everywhere she turns. 

As the preparations are made for the wedding, Sarah does all she can to stay out of his path. He's the one that broke her heart and he doesn't get a free pass on that. After what happened, Sarah was a mess. But now he's a groomsman in the wedding party so it's useless trying to avoid all social occasions that involve him, like the rehearsal dinner. But that doesn't mean that she has to do more than make small talk just to try and get him off her back. 
He follows her around like a lovesick puppy and whilst he is still as handsome as ever, if not more, he doesn't get to sniff around Sarah's heels anymore. She can't help but notice he is still the same wonderful guy she fell in love with - but that doesn't mean she wants to go there again. He broke her heart into a million pieces, perhaps even a part of her soul died that day. 

Will was Sarah's best friend. They went everywhere together, knew everything there was to know about each other. They went out for ice cream waffle cones together. Sarah was in love with him, had been for years. The trouble was, Will was dating Jessica. 
Sarah could see that Jessica was everything she wasn't and could give Will everything she couldn't. Jessica was popular, beautiful, wore all the right clothes and knew how to use her wiles to keep a boy like Will on the hook. 

One day, Will told Sarah he was thinking of breaking it off with Jessica. He said there was somebody else. How could Sarah compete? If he was dumping Jessica, it had to be for someone even better and Sarah was no match for that. Or was she?

What happens when you fall in love with your best friend?

Having broken up with Jessica, Will was free to be with the girl he really wanted, had done for years. Sarah. 
To say it came as a shock to her is an understatement and she kept wondering if it was really happening or if she was dreaming. 
Dating Will was one of the best things to have happened to Sarah. It was a dream come true. He showed her off to everyone, kissing her in public and showing the kids at school they were together. Sarah never wanted it to end. But Jessica had other ideas. [spoiler not included]

That fateful night, Sarah was a mess. She came home from the party early and decided she wanted out, she needed to leave. But where to go? Uncle Chip had always said that he was there if she needed anything, surely she could go and live with him?
She packed her bags and wrote a note to tell her parents that she had gone, then she was out of there.

Seven years had passed and Sarah hadn't gone home once. She always made excuses to her Mom that her job kept her too busy and she couldn't get away. Truth be told, she just didn't want to run into the boy who she had never managed to get over. 
But now Brian and Christine's wedding was upon her and she was a bridesmaid. She couldn't let her big brother down after all he had done for her. So she caught a flight and dragged her reluctant backside home.

She's happy to be home with her family, but she's annoyed that no-one told her that just because she left didn't mean that Will had stopped coming round. 

Will is happy Sarah came home for the wedding. He doesn't know why she left, all he knows is he was heartbroken. He tries to get Sarah alone to talk several times. She tries to talk to him once but she just can't get the past out of her head. He's the one who hurt her, not the other way round and she doesn't know why he's acting like a love sick puppy.
She calls her best friend back home and asks for her advice. She can't seem to make a clear decision on her own because of how messed up her head has become. She knew that coming back home she would see him around town, but she didn't expect that Will would still be firmly ensconced in her family's life. 

Will Sarah ever be able to forgive Will and be able to move on? Can Will ever manage to win back Sarah's affections? Well that's for you to find out for yourself.

Carey Heywood has a way of writing that really draws the reader in. She made me remember my first love and whilst I'm not in love with him anymore, he is still a part of my heart and probably always will be. We all remember that first moment we experience true love, we will never forget. It's inexplicably impossible to close off your heart to someone who put you on the path of love, even if you're not travelling the path together anymore. 

I fell head over heels for Will and I really can't wait for HER where we get to hear what happened in his life over those seven years. 

Sarah was such a lovable character. Sometimes, characters are but a caricature of a real person, but not Sarah. She's 100% real. She's tangible, she's everything a main character should be. She's strong and beautiful, even if she doesn't know it. I loved reading her story because it didn't seem like just a story being told, it felt like a life being lived. 

This book was so real that it played havoc with my emotions. I loved how alternating chapters told the story of the Past and the Present, it served to give me a really in-depth look at Sarah and Will. There were moments when I laughed, moments when I totally swooned, and a few raw moments when I had to have a good old cry. 
It wasn't just Sarah's story, it was mine. I was her and she was me. I felt the grief of losing Will like I'd lost someone myself and then when she got home, I felt that tumultuous roller coaster of feelings with her. She still loved Will, hadn't ever had a relationship that lived up to him. He had big shoes to fill and had left a huge void in her life. Not only had she lost her boyfriend, but her best friend, her soul mate. 
Was she right not going home for seven long years? If she'd gone home earlier, could things have been patched up between the two? Would they have lost those years together? That's something they'll never know. But living in the past does no-one any good and they both need to look to the future.

This is only the second book by Carey Heywood that I have read but she is now on my list of Favourite Authors whom I will need to read everything they write. Her stories pack a punch and I have found with both Stages of Grace and HIM that her stories have a very real air about them. You could have lived what was written on the pages, and if you haven't, you will once you read them.

I'd like to share two songs with you that this story made me think of as I read it (if you read the book and listen to the lyrics of these songs, you'll see why) - for those of you reading my review somewhere other than my blog, the songs are 'I Love Me Some Him' and 'I Don't Want To' by Toni Braxton....

I would like very much to thank Carey for providing the e-ARC of this amazing book. I'm glad you decided to release it early Carey, I think you made the right decision because now everyone can be touched by Sarah and Will's story. 

Thank you to everyone who came by to read my review. I hope to be able to share a review of HER with you as soon as that is released too.

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