The journey that began in top-rated, best-selling Bright Side, continues ...
This is the story of Gus.
And healing along the way.
“ … but the honest-to-God truth is I don’t even know how to function anymore. Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half ... the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”
Review by Ashley
I was prepared to have my heart torn out with this book but that didn't happen. Instead, it was put back together and left me with a mile wide smile on my face. And, if you can believe it, I didn't shed a single tear. They may have welled up a time or two but nothing fell. Do you have to read Bright Side to understand this book? No. Should you? Absolutely (why haven't you already?). Kim Holden has an unbelievable ability to create characters that are so realistic and likeable that I want them to be real that we can be friends.
Gus picks up right where Bright Side left off, Gus is devastated and doesn't know which way is up. He doesn't know how to function with the other half of him missing. Kate was his Bright Side. But life has to go on because the show must go on. Rook is depending on him, his fans are depending on him. He loses himself in his anger, misery and pain. It is reflected in his self destructive actions. My heart broke for his anguish. It was gritty and raw and had me holding my breath to see what Gus' next reckless action would be. Thankfully, Franco was there to help him see that this wasn't him. But he was still struggling and drowning and it was starting to show in his work. Enter Scout, aka Impatient. I LOVED her. She was bold and fearless yet vulnerable and reserved.
I enjoyed that their road wasn't easy. It was riddled with anger and hurt and pain and heartbreak. They had both been through so much yet were putting on the brave face. Scout brought out a fiercely protective and tender side of Gus. With that, Gus and Scout brought out the best and the worst in the other. It was those moments that sparked Gus back to life though. Oh Gus, sweet, tortured, amazing Gus. There is so much that I loved about him. My absolute favorite thing about Gus was how unconditional his love and friendship was. He loves and hurts deeply, boldly and unapologeticly. He wanted those around him to be happy and succeed and went out of his way to both ensure and celebrate their success. Don't even get me started on the relationship between him and his mom. Their bond was something truly special.
Another amazing thing about this book (and there are so many) is the cast of secondary characters. There are some old favorites that pop in in Kellar and Stella and Franco. But there is also the introduction of a few new people that add to the overall charm of this book. Pax is one of those. The care that Gus took with him, the fact that he genuinely cared about the kid and made an effort enhanced both of their lives. These characters also provided some of the funniest moments in the book. There was a delicate balance between the heartbreak and hope. That balance was played up through the music. The music plays such a vital role in this book. It is its own character. It transformed Gus and Scout and their relationship. Their relationship transformed his music. It was beautiful to see him share that part of himself with her, even through the door and sticky notes.
I can't say enough amazing things about this book and if you've made it this far, I've said a lot. I wasn't sure how Kim would follow up first book but she did just that and then some. She honored Bright Side and all that made it so wonderful but kept Gus its own separate entity. This book completely captivated and enchanted me. It was completely uplifting even when Gus was at his lowest. Gus is his own brand of epic.
About the Author
Some of my favorite things: reading, writing, the two coolest guys on the planet (my husband and son), my bicycle (my husband built it for me), Facebook (I'm fairly certain it's an addiction at this point), iced coffee (hazelnut), and music (LOVE Sunset Sons, the 1975, Dredg, the xx, Balance and Composure, Teenage Bottlerocket, and 30 Seconds to Mars). I also love dreaming, which brings me to my next point. I have one bit of advice for anyone reading this ... follow your dreams. It's never too late. Get started today ... heck get started RIGHT NOW! I wanted to write a book 20 years ago. Instead I waited. And waited. I should've been writing. But I didn't. I don't do regrets, because the past is just that, the past. But let me tell you there's nothing in the world like achieving something you've dreamt about for years and years. So, get started. Make your dreams reality.
I love to hear from other readers. Send me a message or find me on Facebook (https://facebook.com/kimholdenauthor) and tell what's up in your reading world.