Monday, October 17, 2016

seriously romantic: all the ways you saved me by jamie howard

in this new adult romance, bianca easton is a senator's daughter who has always toed the line and never put a step wrong. in all the ways you saved me she doesn't actually put a step wrong. all she does is stay in new york after graduating law school. but deviating from her parents' plans for her is apparently unforgivable. she chooses to stay after graduation when her friend, renée is killed in a car accident. renée had a bucket list and as a way to honor and remember her, bianca decides to finish crossing off all the items on the list.

used to being the good girl, some of the items are a bit of a stretch. so bianca decides to start small. buying coffee for the next person in line at a local coffee shop. she's not sure about the intent behind renée's task, but she fulfills it nonetheless. and this is how she meets ian, she buys him a coffee and gives it to him no strings attached. ian is a bit weird about it. but he feels compelled to seek her out the next time she's in the coffee shop. and then when she tells him about the list he decides to help her out with crossing things off.

as they start spending time together, they go through a series of ups and downs mostly caused by ian's inability to share more of himself. he's closed off, and we slowly start to get his story through a series of flashback chapters. i'm not sure this was the most effective way to tell this story, because we see who ian was eight years ago and read about his love story with maggie. so while he develops a relationship with bianca in the present day you know that there is a story of loss waiting in the wings.

i think it would have been more compelling to see him work through his guilt and grief in a more immediate sense, without also having to see him fall in love and get married to his first love. it's just really weird. like you are getting two stories for the price of one.

this isn't bad, i quite enjoyed it. i liked ian and his family and bianca and her friend harper a lot. there were a lot of dead characters in the story and i'm not sure the author did a good enough job dealing with the loss and grief and guilt and anger and hurt that those events would have caused in the characters' psyches, but as a story about love the book mostly worked. as an exploration of life after loss, i'm not sure it did.

**all the ways you saved me will publish on november 1, 2016. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review. 

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