Starla wasn’t trying to steal her older sister’s boyfriend. In fact, she was fighting him off when Janice caught the two of them alone in the dark. Unfortunately, love-struck Janice didn’t see it that way and tried to end her life. Although she didn’t succeed, her suicide attempt left her brain damaged, and it became Starla’s responsibility to care for her. Four years later, the sisters’ peaceful lives are interrupted when Nick, a handsome, young attorney, moves in upstairs. Seeing that Janice is attracted to him, Starla keeps herself out of the picture. After all, she hurt her sister before, and she’s not about to do it again. Yet as much as Starla tries to ignore her feelings for Nick, she can’t bury them entirely. Especially not when he seems to be choosing her over her sister.
Even though she tried to push Janice’s boyfriend away from her, the damage was done. Janice believed that her sister Starla had been having an affair with her boyfriend and literally felt as if her life was over. So she decided to end it. The failed suicide attempt left her a husk of her former self, and she can barely do any of her former activities. Years later, her mom and sister are still taking care of her, but the parents are trying to shift the burden onto Starla. Starla, an adult, wants to be able to live her own life free of her parents, but she can’t seem to get off her feet. Then she finds Nick, who could help her finally feel like herself again, but Janice wants him too.
This is definitely an interesting story of how a failed suicide attempt can really destroy someone’s life, and Janice does a good job of playing the victim. She never acknowledges that her ex-boyfriend was forcing himself on her sister, and even helps her parents to believe that Starla ruined her life on purpose. She barely tries to get herself healthy again, and she constantly uses her dwindling mental health to scare Starla into letting her have her way.
This book may have some romance in it, but it is mostly about Starla trying to regain her lost connection with her sister. Janice is stuck in her own body, and Starla and her parents do their best to support her. Nevertheless, Starla refuses to take the blame that everyone is trying to put on her for her sister’s brain damage. She didn’t force her sister to try to commit suicide, and she didn’t want her sister’s boyfriend trying to kiss her. None of this was her fault, but everyone is trying to punish her for it. Even their own parents put the blame on her. It is definitely a dark story, but it might just happen in real life. Even if Janice had died, her parents could have completely blamed Starla for her death even though she was also a victim.
The plot of this story is smooth as it discusses both Nick and Starla’s romance along with the storyline of Janine’s declining mental health and her fights with Starla. There actually wasn’t as much character development as I had hoped, as Starla’s relationship with her parents and sister are never really “fixed.” But, the story did tackle the most important issues for the most part, and I was able to see Starla grow even if anyone else didn’t.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a story about a family trying to heal and a woman trying to find her place in a broken world with a side story of romance.
I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Maybe it’s because of my Halloween birthday, but I’ve always been attracted to scary stories. On the other hand, I love romances as well. Once I discovered that these two genres existed side-by-side in urban fantasy novels, I was in heaven! Urban fantasy is like chocolate and peanut butter: a perfect, to-die-for combination that I can never get enough of.
I’ve been writing since childhood, but earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology and my master’s in English literature. When I’m not writing, I’m a straight-laced English teacher at a two-year college in Detroit. I’ve been married to Mr. Right for over twenty-five years. I also have three teenaged children: a boy and two girls, all of whom have threatened to never speak to me again if I turn them into characters and put them into my books.