Author: Kate Avelynn 
Pages: 336 
Publisher: Entangled Publishing 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Sarah O’Brien is alive because of the pact she and her brother made twelve years ago — James will protect her from their violent father if she promises to never leave him. For years, she’s watched James destroy his life to save hers. If all he asks for in return is her affection, she’ll give it freely.

Until, with a tiny kiss and a broken mind, he asks for more than she can give. Sam Donavon has been James’ best friend — and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on — for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her. Neither of them realizes James is far more unstable than her father ever was, or that he’s not about to let Sarah forget her half of the pact. 

My Summary: James and Sarah have always been inseparable - growing up with an abusive father and a drug-addicted mother forced them to become the only person the other could rely on. Their relationship may not be like other siblings', but it works for them.

Until James starts becoming more demanding, resembling his father in more ways than Sarah can imagine. And as Sarah begins to pull away from her brother in pursuit of a relationship with one of his best friends, James begins on a downward spiral that threatens Sarah's entire life. But how can she get herself out when she owes her brother everything? And what can she do when he asks for more than she's willing to give? 

My Thoughts: Wow. That's all I can say. It's tough formulating a review for a book that was so complex and heartbreaking, even though I couldn't put it down. 

This isn't one of those books you can say you liked - it's one of those books you can say you've experienced. You feel yourself get pulled into the character's world, past the pages and the ink and into the mind of the author. I was hooked from the first sentence, and I only looked up five hours later when I'd finished. I couldn't put it down. Sarah and Sam were a great pair, and for all he did my heart still went out to James. 

The relationship between Sarah and James was so incredibly intense... definitely something you can see happening as a result of being raised in an abusive environment. The author didn't shy away from any taboo subjects, weaving the story together in a way that made your heart break for the poor kids trapped in a situation that twisted them inside and out. And although it was a heart-wrenching roller coaster of emotion for me, I'm very thankful to the author for having the courage to write the book she wrote. 

Because while it's a story of abuse and pain and grief, it's also one of hope.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to fans of edgier contemporary lit, and also to fans of Tabitha Suzuma's Forbidden.


  1. This definitely sounds like the kind of book I'd devour in one sitting!

    Also, how awesome is that cover?!

  2. It definitely will be! And I adored the cover :)


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