"Sugar, Jules and I had run for our lives. Only our shadows had followed us. And no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't outpace them."
All-around bad boy, and twenty-five-year-old heir to the Jameson fortune, Tommy Jameson, knows three things:
- His family is disappointed in him.
- Overcoming his addictions won't necessarily crush his vices.
- He is wildly in love with Sugar Scarborough, a girl who is dealing with her own addictions and an insatiable need to please.
Danger sends Tommy, Sugar and their friend, Julian Fitzpatrick, a heavily medicated, socially dysfunctional genius, fleeing from Green Willow Recovery Center. Now, together, they will face the outside world and uncover a horrifying mystery while being forced to confront their inner demons.
Review by Amanda
This book is unlike anything I have ever read - it is certainly unlike anything Tess Oliver generally puts out, and I have to say OMG!! I freaking loved it.
This story follows the life of 3 dysfunctional adults, who have been sequestered to a "recovery" facility.
We meet Tommy, the son of a wealthy and well known businessman. He has always had severe emotional problems which cause him to act out violently. He has been placed in the facility to help him deal with his anger issues as well as to recover from substance abuse. He has trouble opening up to people, and is often viewd as arrogant and moody.
Next, we are introduced to Sugar - in a place where addictions are rife, although, it is not categorically stated in the book, the one that stands out for me with regards to her is sex addiction. Her mother has placed her in this facility as Sugar has a habit of ending up in bed with her mother's boyfriends/husbands.
Finally we meet Julian or Jules as he is affectionately referred to by Tommy and Sugar. Jules has been in the facility for a long time - his grandfather and father have been major funders of the facility since its inception. Thus Julian is subjected to better treatment - he has a far superior room and does not have to attend the group therapy that the others have to endure.
As the story continues we begin to understand the intricacies of the characters and what draws them to each other - and also what separates them.
I fell in love with Tommy from the outset of this book. He was the giant with the heart of gold. He keeps himself separate from the rest of the residents/patients and only interacts with Sugar and Julian. He is completely and utterly in love with Sugar - he wants a forever with her, but knows that with both of their histories that may be impossible. He is damaged, and that is evident from the outset of the book; he is fighting his own inner demons and very obviously struggling. He is beautifully broken and needs a lot of patching up.
Sugar - I struggled to relate to. I think though, her character was supposed to be somewhat antagonistic. She had this tempestuous and promiscuous past, but she also had moments that were so soft and beautiful that you were drawn to her. I can imagine that Tommy could offer no resistance to her charms. Although, all she is desperately seeking is the love of a good man, and someone that can see past the exterior and love her for the inside. Having said that, she was by no means a walkover as a character - she was strong willed and hard headed and sassy to a fault. That aspect of her character really drew me in.
Things are not all as they seem at this center and soon everyone is left running for cover with what is unleashed and discovered. The trio of misfits are sent off on the lamb as a result of circumstances gone horribly wrong. As they take off on their journey, we discover more about what has made them who they are - and the tales that they tell are both heart breaking and harrowing. We also watch Julian's steady decline into psychosis as he goes without his medication.
I am giving this book 4.5 smashing stars. It was completely unexpected - I am an avid Tess Oliver fan, and have read just about everything that she has put out, but this book just floored me, in the best way possible. It was so beautifully written and dealt with the issues so sensitively and with so much detail. I really enjoyed delving into this book and being sucked into a world where nothing was as it seemed.
The only issue that I had with this book, is that the ending felt a bit rushed - I wish that things had not happened as quickly because I felt that there was a part of the story missing.
Nevertheless 4.5 amazing stars - and what a RIDICULOUSLY amazing read.
Meet Tess Oliver
I write romance for young adult, new adult and those of us past the 'new' stage. My stories take place anywhere from 19th century England to 21st century California. And you can count on a super alpha in each book.
Tess Oliver is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Custom Culture Series. She lives in sunny California with her husband, kids and a herd of spoiled pets
She loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit www.tessoliver.com