by Leah Raeder
I met him at a carnival, of all corny places. The summer I turned eighteen, in that chaos of neon lights and cheap thrills, I met a man so sweet, so beautiful, he seemed to come from another world. We had one night: intense, scary, real. Then I ran, like I always do. Because I didn’t want to be abandoned again.
But I couldn’t run far enough.
I knew him as Evan that night. When I walked into his classroom, he became Mr. Wilke.
I don’t know if what we’re doing is wrong. The rules say one thing; my heart says screw the rules. I can’t let him lose his job. And I can’t lose him.
In the movies, this would have a happy ending. I grow up. I love, I lose, I learn. And I move on. But this is life, and there’s no script. You make it up as you go along.
And you don’t pray for a happy ending. You pray for it to never end.
***This novel contains graphic sexual content and strong language. It is intended for mature readers.***
Have you ever watched a movie or read a book that was so well written or so well done that there is not a single thing you would change? In fact if you really thought about it, you could say that the movie or book changed you? Well, this is one of those book. Leah Raeder is not new to writing. She has apparently written before, how I have missed her other works…I don’t know. Her writing is poetic and precise. To be able to put both of those things together seamlessly is a high gift. Want to know what I mean? How about this:
In my own bed I lay staring at the monster shadows on the ceiling, clawing, seething. Sometimes I saw watchers in them. Sometimes I saw myself.- Maise
Never once while reading this book did I skim. Never once did I think, I would have done that differently or that part wasn’t necessary. Not only was it necessary, but I was in absolute awe at the beauty of the writing, it sucked me into this amazing story. This amazing story that starts out innocently enough, at a carnival…
Maise is a young lady on the verge of womanhood. She is eighteen years old. In those eighteen years, she has experienced a hard and sometimes cold life. The story starts on the verge of many things. The verge of fall, the beginning of something new. Maise wants to reinvent herself. She is on the verge of becoming something more, allowing herself to feel something more.
One night at the carnival she decides to face her fear, she rides the Deathsnake and face her fear of roller coasters. This fear that she has had since she was a little girl. On that fateful ride, she meets a man, not a boy. He is also facing his fears and together they take a chance.
Evan is running from his past and finds a beautiful young woman at a carnival. He has no idea who she is, he just knows that on some level, they are the same. The chance encounter leads to feelings that he is not sure what to do with. Before he can question anything the beauty he knows as Maise is gone.
This is where the story picks up and gets interesting. Maise is now the forbidden fruit. Evan is the handsome and much older teacher. On that fateful night they met they had no idea how much they really had in common.
I sat next to Wesley, my attention drifting outside. A big old granddaddy black oak shivered in a sudden breeze, a thousand leaves clicking dryly, like castanets. The smell of gunsmoke drifted through the open windows. The world was tense and desaturated, waiting for the catharsis of rain. I knew exactly how it felt.– Maise
Maise has never really had a lot of friends and as her senior year starts, she befriends Wesley. Maise is trying desperately to hold onto her dreams and move up out of the life she seems so destined to lead. Wesley becomes her confidant in almost all things. She finds out what family means by blending into his. Maise knows what her issues are. She has had to live with them for years.
“When you’re a wounded animal in the company of jackals, you can either cower and submit, or feign strength. Wear your blood like a red badge of courage. That’s all I was doing.” Maise
She is an old soul and wise beyond her years in many ways. But at the heart of it all, she is just a scared young lady. Evan finds himself unable to resist Maise but no one can know.
“I’m also thinking the night I met you was like someone handed me a winning lottery ticket and said, ‘You can only have it if you don’t tell anyone.’”- Evan
Evan and Maise must keep things a secret but as time wears on, they make mistakes. Mistakes that could lead to dire consequences. Maise knows in her heart that the only way to protect Evan may be to let him go. But can she? Evan knows that what they are doing is wrong, but he seems to be strapped into that roller coaster and unable to get off the ride. Wesley puts himself out there and it may destroy their friendship.
I don’t want to tell you much more because you really have to just read it! I mean it..go read it now!
There were so many things about this book that I loved! The writing is the BEST! The characters were perfectly damaged and loveable. There was a perfect amount of love story/ plot balance. There were just the right amount of steamy hot love scenes to make this a book about a story and not just sex (not that there is anything wrong with those books, I love them too :-). The plot was well thought out and unraveled perfectly. The symbolism, oh, it was beautiful. This is one of those stories you could read over and over and fall in love every time. Did I mention how much I LOVED the writing?
I will definitely be looking for more from this author. I am adding this to the top of my favorites list. I am just in love with this book. Perfection!
5 Amazingly Perfect Stars!