Published by Pan Macmillan on June 19th 2014
Source: Author, NetGalley
Home on leave in sunny California, Marine and local lothario Kit Ryan finds himself dangerously drawn to his best friend's sister, Jessa - the one girl he can't have.
But Kit's not about to let a few obstacles stand in his way and soon Jessa's falling for his irresistible charms.
What starts out as a summer romance of secret hook-ups and magical first times quickly develops into a passionate love affair that turns both their worlds upside down.
When summer's over and it's time for Kit to redeploy, neither Kit nor Jessa are ready to say goodbye. Jessa's finally following her dreams and Kit's discovered there's someone he'd sacrifice everything for.
Jessa's prepared to wait for Kit no matter what. But when something more than distance and time rips them apart they're forced to decide whether what they have is really worth fighting for.
A breathtaking, scorchingly hot story about love, friendship, family and finding your way back from the edge of heartbreak.
There’s a meme I’ve seen floating around the net about relationships that loosely states “The reason you dated all those jerks is so you’d recognise the right one when they came along”. That’s kind of like me and this book. My relationship with New Adult has been…rocky to say the least and several times this year I have closed a book and yelled “NEVER AGAIN” only for a little glimmer of hope to spark and make me want to try again, to find that book that may for once depict a relationship between two young people that isn’t “damaged girl whose pain is solved by jerk-wad with a magic peen” and huzzah I cry! I have found that book! COME BACK TO ME by Mila Gray otherwise known as YA author Sarah Alderson is a breath of fresh air amidst a rapidly stale, stagnant pond filled with “haven’t we read this one before?” offerings that make your eyes roll so hard you have to place your palms over them for fear they’d pop out like marbles. Nice imagery huh? You are welcome.
Come Back to Me centres on a military family called the Kingsleys. 18 year old Jessa is celebrating the homecoming of her older brother Riley and his best friend Kit who’ve been serving as Marine security guards in the Sudan. Relieved that they are not only both safe but she now has some support when dealing with her father, a Colonel suffering from severe untreated PTSD and a mother who can only cope by sticking her head in the sand ostrich style. Not to mention the fact that her long-time crush Kit seems to finally have taken notice that she’s not a little girl anymore, things are finally looking up for Jessa and she can almost forget that her father is refusing to let her attend the college of her dreams and that his grip on her life and happiness is almost choking. As Kit and Jessa grow closer, both realise that the lives they have are not enough and maybe something bigger is waiting. Will Kit and Jessa overcome the odds stacked against them or is this Romeo and Juliet story fated for a tragic end?
I cannot put into words how much I adored this book but I’ll give it a try. Mila Gray has a wonderful way with words and I’ve already been told that as Sarah Alderson – her character development is wonderful which I’m hoping to find out for myself soon when I pick up a couple of books – and thankfully it’s a similar situation here. I loved how realised and complex her characters are in this book and it added to the heightened emotion and anticipation that threaded the storyline because I truly cared for Jessa and Kit and the secondary characters and was actively rooting for their happiness at every turn.
Jessa was a wonderful MC. Sweet, intelligent, loyal, she’s always put her family before her own happiness despite her talent and passion for drama and her dream of studying acting strangled under the oppressive hold her father keeps on his family and her. Her relationship with Kit not only opens her up to the joy of first love but the realisation that being with him awakens her need to truly be “her” and that the love and passion she has not just for him but her dreams can no longer be buried. It was fascinating to watch her develop, to see her confidence grow, her personality flourish and blossom into a strong, confident young woman eager to grasp opportunity rather than let it pass her by. There’s a strong message of positivity throughout this book to embrace your power and be the person you want to be which I loved.
Kit was equally an impressive character and I adored what a support he was for Jessa and how he grounded her and enabled her to pursue her bliss and how Jessa was just as pivotal in his life as he was in hers. Her belief in his goodness, his dreams outside the military, and his potential showed how well matched they were and it was wonderful to see depicted in an NA novel, a relationship between two young people that was healthy, mutually supportive and loving. The chemistry between Jessa and Kit was scorching, there were moments when I could have sworn my kindle would overheat and happily it was tempered with a sweet, wonderful romance, full of teenage flirtation, blushes and winks that would make any cynic swoon. The secondary characters did not take a back seat in this book and I was just as invested in their stories as I was in Jessa and Kit’s.
I loved the realism Mila brought to the story, the harsh realities that face military families. The brutal emotional trauma that occurs when PTSD takes its toll on relationships and the family dynamic and the threat that grief and sadness is always hiding around the corner, ready to taint any precious happy moment and the realisation that those moments must be grasped fully and without reservation. The pacing of the book was excellent, never faltering and the tension from the first pages right through to the end was taut, keeping me captivated with this emotionally charged page-turner. It was a well balanced story that didn’t need to play the drama card for the hell of it. It was engaging and had value to its story that mirrored real life.
COME BACK TO ME was a beautifully crafted story of love, family, honour and truth with amazing characters, a compelling storyline and a message to never let life pass you by. I simply loved it.