Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: If You Stay (Beautifully Broken #1)

If You Stay (Beautifully Broken #1)
by Courtney Cole
Published: 2/5/13
Published by: Lakehouse Press
New Adult/Contemporary Romance

24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole.

He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match. 
But he’s got his reasons. 
His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count. 
As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect fa├žade.
So he slipped far, far from it. 

Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right?

And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila.
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.

When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness. 
But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it. 
He knows that. And he’s working on it. 
But is that enough to make her stay?

My Rating: 5 GINORMOUS Coffee Cups!

This was one of those books that left an impression. It had you thinking about it long after you finished reading it, while you are in the middle of reading another book. This book grabs you from the start and just doesn't let go. At all. 

The book's opening chapter, hell it's opening couple of sentences kinda left me with my mouth wide open in a sort of disbelief. I think it went something to the effect of "Wow, he really just went there". Pax Tate is an asshole. It's not just a line to hook you, or a gimmick to keep you reading. That opening chapter leaves you with no doubt, or hope that he is anything but. Pax has an effed up past. There's no denying that there was definitely something incredibly major and incredibly awful that made him into the man he was. His mother died when he was younger and he was left to be raised by his father, who basically checked out of life at around the same time. The cause of her death was fuzzy at best. He uses drugs, alcohol and women (and more often than not uses the three of those at the same time) to keep himself blissfully numb. He doesn't want to think, he doesn't want to feel, he just wants an escape.
Enter Mila Hill. Literally. Essentially the guy's total opposite. She is sweet and kind and selfless. She actually stumbles upon him in the throes of an overdose. She ensures he doesn't choke on his own vomit and calls an ambulance. When it's all said and done, she is the only reason he lived that night. And this people is the way in which this beautiful, devastating, heartbreaking story begins.

They fall for eachother and they fall hard. The analogy Pax uses for the two of them couldn't be more perfect- Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. That is exactly the kind of couple they seem to be at first glance. Mila is dealing with the death of her parents. They had died two years prior and her life sort of just stalled. She didn't feel often, and when she did she painted. When Pax walked into her life her brain and logic and common sense (because come on, he is the bad boy of all bad boys) and her fricken big sister (who's getting her own book and man I can't wait- but I digress) told her STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THAT ONE, but her heart, well her heart started beating again. And for whatever reason, Mila touches a part of Pax he's either ignored or didn't know existed. She has an artist's soul and she believes and sees the best in him and he finds that he wants to be better for her. Now, this isn't without bumps in the road. Pax is trying to be a reformed asshole after all, and assholes slip up. 

“I roll my eyes. 'Are you trying to find some sort of reason that I've become such an asshole? The reason is... I'm an asshole. There are some things in life that can't be explained. Period. Assholes are assholes. Rainbows are pretty. Kittens are cute. Chic flicks are sad. It's the way of things, no explanations.” 
Also, (as Oedipal as this may sound) Mila reminds him of his mother. Not in a creepy way, but in the way that she is gentle and caring towards him and his mother was the last person to show that kind of affection. But with this brings nightmares that shake him to his very core. The star of the nightmares is Mila and it scares the everliving crap out of him. And with that he agrees to see the therapist Mila had asked him to give a chance to. This sets off a series of events that make you want to cry, hug a teddy bear (and pretend it's Pax), scream and punch something. Yeah, you find out out the major that happened to him, but it's nothing like what you think. It's so much worse. It actually hurt my heart to read it. Once the window to it opened you knew where it was going and you knew it was going to stay with you. And Pax's way to handle? Like an asshole, he pushes Mila away. 

I really can't review much more because you really just need to read it for yourself. It is hands down my favorite read for 2013 so far.    

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