4.5 Star Review by Ashley
If the gorgeous cover of Finding Me isn't enough to make you pick it up, then the story that Stephanie Rose wove should be. If you're familiar with Rose's work you will recognize the leading lady, Bella from her debut novel, Always You. You don't have to read that as this book is a complete stand alone. I loved seeing the sweet butterfly girl I fell for all grown up and spreading her wings.
Bella is the perfect blend of her parents, Sam and Lucas. She is shy but at the same time not afraid to speak her mind. She is a giver but careful of who she trusts. She loves fully but doesn't let many in. She is trying to find herself after having her heart broken in a place where no one knows of her heartache. It didn't take long for her to cross paths with Owen, the hotshot hockey player on campus. I adored him and his sexy southern charm. Bella has no interest but Owen and his playboy ways both on and off the ice. It was his persistence that made her give him a chance. Not the one he was hoping for but he found his "in" and used it to his advantage. Things between them escalate quickly but it was all so natural too. A relationship of this caliber was new for both of them but there was an ease, a sweetness and innocence to it that they both needed. That's not to say that they didn't steam things up because they sure did!
However, jealousy reigns supreme and people will always want what they can't have...enter Amber and Richie. Ugh- those two- don't even get me started on the destruction they caused. Their twisted little plan worked to perfection and brought all of Bella's fears back front and center. And they weren't the only ones out to get to Bella either. Oh how I just wanted to wrap her up and hug her tears away- she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. Thankfully Sam talked some sense into her daughter. But it was Owen and Lucas stepping up in a big way that put the monster smile on my face.
Now, while YA has never really been my thing, I tore through this one in a few hours- I could not put it down. I was so wrapped up in this book that I wanted more when I finished the epilogue that had me a bit weepy. Stephanie Rose delivered on all fronts with this one. There was humor and drama, anger and hope, family and love- it all blended together to create the perfect coming of age story in Finding Me. Bella and Owens story is a testament to the true meaning of family and finding yourself amidst the chaos that happens in the everyday (and when the jerks of the world want to cause trouble). It shows that the power of love can conquer all, including the demons that live in the darkest corners of our hearts and minds.
About the Author
Stephanie Rose was born and raised in the Bronx, New York and still lives there with her superhero-obsessed husband and son.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business and a day job in marketing, but she always has a story in her head. Her books are full of swoon-worthy men and feisty heroines.
This lifelong New Yorker lives for Starbucks, book boyfriends, and 80s rock. Her voice is often mistaken for a Mob Wives trailer.
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