Author: Missy Johnson
Genres: Romance/Drama/Young Adult
Maturity Rating: 13+
Some graphic sensuality, but okay for a mature teen reader
My Quickie Synopsis: Wrenn is taken in by her aunt when tragedy befalls her family; her aunt also happens to be the headmistress of her new all girls school. Still acclimating to her new surroundings, Wrenn is blindsided by her substitute teacher Dalton Reed. He's everything she never knew she wanted and more, but Dalton's secrets and position of authority threaten to derail their relationship before it even begins.
And here we go again; here is yet another book that claims it's new adult, but screams young adult fiction again and again. Our main heroine is in high school and our main hero is her hot, young, substitute teacher. No matter how you look at it, the relationship is sketchy as hell. Yes, she's of legal age, and yes, the age difference is acceptable; however, this particular love story just doesn't ring true. Why would a man who has spent the better part of his life avoiding commitment suddenly give in to having a go with a girl who could potentially ruin his career?
|This is a joke...right?|
For as much as I disliked the heroine, I can't say that she was an underdeveloped character. As a matter of fact, all of the characters had depth to them, with the possible exception of Paige. But, thankfully, the story wasn't about her, so I'll let that one slide. I think my favorite character though had to be Wrenn's best friend. She was a good dose of quirky in a desolate landscape of romantic angst.
The premise of the story is actually pretty good; taboo romance, hot-for-teacher action, and heavy secrets should all make great ingredients for a steamy good read. But there was no follow-through! If this were a cake, the story would be the equivalent of mixing all the ingredients but never actually putting it in the oven. There was an overall lack of cohesiveness in the plot elements that made it feel like I was being bounced around from scene to scene.
I find myself struggling on how to rate this category; on one hand, I still fail to see how the characters would ever end up together. However, if I maintain a healthy distance from my own reservations, I see the glimmer of a possibility. Perhaps she's so broken and he's so dense that they actually work together. I can partially accept that.
I honestly think that the editor went through the first half of the book and said to themselves that it was decent and then proceeded to ignore the latter half of the novel. If I went back to re-read this, I could probably point out the exact page that marked the beginning of the editor's holiday. It was jarring; there I was sailing through the book and then suddenly I was hit with rough waters. It's not a pleasant feeling.
The accusations that Paige made were so quickly brushed off that it made my head spin. What was the point of even dropping that bomb if you weren't going to dedicate serious time to exploring it? I'll make another analogy since I'm on a roll: It's like making a tutorial that only shows the beginning and the end steps. Pointless. Outside of that warp-speed fast-forward, I think the pacing was adequately handled, so a half star it is!
My Icing on Top:
I'm going to be honest here; the secret that Dalton has is one that was similar to a secret my own boyfriend had to share. All I felt was heartbreak when Wrenn started to throw a tantrum over it; I couldn't fathom being so cruel. Did that affect my enjoyment rating? Absolutely. But I tried to not let that bleed into my technical rating. This isn't an awful book, but it is awfully predictable. It's an average tale of two people with less than stellar pasts who come together in a somewhat taboo romance. Consider Always You to be a midnight snack of books; it can be your guilty pleasure, your little secret, until you get to read a more fulfilling story at a later point in time. But don't come complaining to me about remorse; I told you so!
Check out my informal review on Goodreads!