by Melissa Collins
What would happen if you lost everything? If the people who were supposed to love you unconditionally were no longer there for you, how would your world change?
That’s exactly what happened to Madeleine Becker when her parents died when she was ten years old. Ripped from her home and everything that she has ever loved, she is forced to start all over again. The only way for her to move on is to build walls around her heart and keep everyone at a safe distance. Her logic: she can't get hurt if she doesn't fall in love.
That theory is blown to pieces when she meets Reid Connely during her freshman year at college. He is gorgeous and darkly mysterious. He understands Maddy's pain all too well, but sharing his pain would mean breaking down the walls he put up around his own heart. Conflicted between loving Maddy and hiding his dark past, Reid starts to reevaluate his world. Maddy's inner strength, snarky personality and breath taking beauty help Reid to make peace with his past.
Together they find out what happens when they Let Love In.
This review may contain spoilers.
The synopsis of the book intrigued me. When I started reading the book I had a bit of trouble understanding Maddy’s feelings of never belonging. Yes, she lost her parents, and was sent to live with a great aunt. The great aunt opened her home, gave her affection, and took care of Maddy. Far from abusive “you’re a burden to me” treatment. After the death of her great aunt, Maddy moves in with her best friend, Melanie, and Melanie’s mother. Both treat her as family and open their home to her. Why does she feel like she doesn’t belong? It felt more like poor pitiful me, and was a little tiring. I didn’t dislike Maddy, rather bored with her being so self-absorbed. In real life what teenager isn’t self-absorbed? So I can excuse the behavior.
I admit when she met Reid at a party immediately after starting college I rolled my eyes & thought, “Not again. Hasn’t this been done already?” However, Melissa did a good job of giving a new take on this type of story line. There was instant attraction and instant animosity, but no instant love. After running into Reid the morning after a party, Maddy decides avoiding him will save her a lot of trouble.
Trouble finds her anyway in the form of a slime ball, who spikes her drink at the bar. While her “friends” let her get taken from the bar by the scum, Reid catches them and keeps Maddy from being taken, saving her from what was sure to be something horrible. He takes her back to his house, and takes care of her through the night. The next day she agrees to go on one date with him.
They go from their first date to dating. Things go pretty well. Reid works hard at being a good boyfriend. He treats Maddy like a prize. He makes the effort to do special things for her. There are some growing pains, but nothing too troublesome. They grow closer, trust builds. Reid finally confesses to Maddy why he is afraid to let someone have power or control over him. As a teenager he became the victim in a game he didn’t know he was playing. In his mind he also became the culprit when the game took another victim. Reid considers his parents dead. He wants nothing to do with them after their reaction to the tragedy in his life. To me, Maddy helping Reid accept what happened for what really happened, and not what it had become in his mind, was one of the best parts of the book. It showed a lot of maturity in both of them.
I liked the book up until the end, then I got irritated. Reid and Maddy have a huge fight after Reid refuses to speak with a nurse about his dying mother. In my opinion Maddy was sanctimonious. She felt like she had the right to make Reid feel bad about his dying mother because her parents were really dead. This bothered me a lot. Maddy could have approached that situation a lot different. I understood her point, but she doesn’t have the market cornered on pain and hers doesn’t trump his.
After their fight Maddy gets in a wreck. Reid rushes to her side. As she is getting ready to be released from the hospital Maddy gets some shocking news. This is when she decides because Reid gets upset with the news, and that he can cut out his parents, no matter his reasoning, that she doesn’t want him in her life. The book ends with Reid declaring his love for her.
Yep, you guessed it. The ending is a cliffhanger. I would have liked a resolution to the story without waiting for a second book. The story that is there is well written, even the annoying parts (b/c teenagers and young adults can be annoying. I’m sure I was, even if I don’t want to admit it.) The characters change in realistic ways and in some unrealistic ways. That doesn’t bother me. I read fiction for a reason. Overall, I give the book B. A well written first book. I’m sure Melissa will grow in her writing.
Reviewed by Liz
"LET LOVE IN"