Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Book Review: Following Me by K.A. Linde

Following Me
By K.A. Linde

Blurb: 

“I knew you were running the first time I saw you…"

Devon didn’t have a game plan when she decided to leave St. Louis on a Chicago-bound train for the summer. Just a reason.

One she couldn’t share with anyone. Not Hadley, her best friend from college, who lets her stay in the guest bedroom; no questions asked. Or Brennan, the bartender at the local restaurant they frequent, who she actively tries to avoid. Or Garrett, Hadley’s boyfriend, who befriends her when she has no one else to turn to.

"I just didn't know what you were running from...."

Desperate to hide at all costs, Devon plunges into her new life in the city. Everyone around her starts to reveal sides of themselves Devon never expected. And just when she starts to get comfortable, her world flips upside down…

"...but I think all along you were running toward me."

4 lives.
All connected.
All with secrets that just keep following them.



Available for purchase at 
   

Lea's Review: 
Just by reading the description of this book, I was drawn to its mystery.  Why did Devon Sawyer abruptly leave St. Louis?  Whatever happened to her must have been devastating enough for her to run to Chicago and keep the truth of why she's there from her friends.  She's even gone so much as to lie to her parents and her boyfriend, Reid, of her whereabouts.  Whatever happened to her must have been extremely serious. 


Once Devon arrives in Chicago, she stays with her best friend Hadley.  Devon has a cautious personality.  She's not spontaneous, while Hadley is.  She doesn't always do what she wants, while Hadley goes after her dreams and desires.  Being opposites is exactly why they are best friends.  They compliment each other.  However, it still leaves the mystery of why Devon left St. Louis.  She attends college there, so running away even in the midst of summer seemed rather abrupt.  Devon's move is contradictory of her personality.  Even Hadley's boyfriend, Garrett, starts to wonder what Devon is hiding.  Nonetheless, they let Devon stay with them without pressing the subject.  These thoughts continually crept into my mind because Linde masterfully planted them there to capture and maintain my attention.  I love it when an author does this.  I feel like I'm kept wondering to the point where I'm just dying to know what's going on and the anticipation gets me excited and riled up.

This is all happening while she continues to lie to her parents and Reid.  She is also plagued with horrific nightmares which prove the magnitude of how much this secret has affected her.

Another interesting twist to this story is that Devon isn't the only one keeping secrets.  Hadley has a secret of her own that Devon accidentally discovers.  This drives a wedge between the best friend.  It's this wedge that causes Hadley to distance herself from Devon.

Enter Brennan, who works at Jenn's, a restaurant that Hadley takes Devon to.  Devon winds up spending more and and more with him and feels an undeniable attraction, however, as she learns more about Brennan and his dreams and fears, she still acts closed off.  She's insecure about opening up to him as well.

What is she hiding?

Enter Garrett.  He seems to be the perfect guy with the perfect personality.  He's caring and willing to listen.  Sounds like the ultimate, attentive boyfriend.  The rift Devon and Hadley causes Garrett to get to spend more time with Devon and in a state of being slightly drunk and desperate to talk to someone who will listen, Devon opens up about her secret to Garrett.  My reaction was: "Huh?"

The confession of Devon's secret wasn't how I envisioned it to be revealed.  It was rather anticlimactic.  To go from zero hints as to what her secret could be to merely confessing to Garrett was a bit disappointing.  While the mystery kept my attention and interest, I was anticipating the big reveal in a more dramatic way.  I wanted it to be at an unsuspecting moment.  I wanted it to be filled with angst and shock while my heart rate increased.  I wanted to be left gasping and thinking "Holy wow!  What the hell just happened?".

It wasn't like that.

Her secret actually comes back to haunt her and that was more interesting than finally knowing why she ran.  It just goes to show you can't run and hide from your secrets.  She learns to face it head on.  I did admire how she went to great lengths to protect Brennan from it because by this time in the book, they have become even closer than ever.  Brennan is her pillar of strength.  He helps Devon face her fears and take control of them.  In fact, Brennan is her biggest positive influence:

"I think I found what my mama was talking about.  You're my greatness."

Towards the end, as the story was winding down, it felt rushed.  Devon does the right thing by seeing a therapist, however, I would have loved to read a chapter where she's having a conversation with one.  I think therapy is a critical part of healing and to mention it in one sentence felt like it wasn't that important.

Ultimately, Devon transforms in this book.  She goes from scared and closed off to strong and determined, but she didn't do it alone.  She had Hadley, Garrett, and Brennan for support.  I enjoyed these characters because each had a sub-story of their own.  All are human in that they have insecurities and secrets and these qualities were conveyed through the intertwined relationships they each had with Devon and one another.  

My only wish is that the revelation of her secret could have been written a different way to where I am left shocked, speechless, and blown away.

Rating: 3 Stars - I Liked It


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