ARC Review: Together We Caught Fire by Eva V. Gibson

Together We Caught Fire by Eva V. Gibson
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Source: ARC via Publisher

A forbidden attraction grows even more complicated when the guy Lane Jamison has crushed on for years suddenly becomes her step-brother in this sexy and gorgeously written debut novel about the lines between love, desire, and obsession.

What happens when the boy you want most becomes the one person you can’t have?

Lane Jamison’s life is turned upside down the week before her senior year when her father introduces her to his new fiancée: mother of Grey McIntyre, Lane’s secret, longtime crush. Now with Grey living in Lane’s house, there’s only a thin wall separating their rooms, making it harder and harder to deny their growing mutual attraction—an attraction made all the more forbidden by Grey’s long-term girlfriend Sadie Hall, who also happens to be Lane’s friend.

Torn between her feelings for Grey and her friendship with Sadie—not to mention her desire to keep the peace at home—Lane befriends Sadie’s older brother, Connor, the black sheep of the strict, evangelical Hall family. Connor, a metal working artist who is all sharp edges, challenges Lane in ways no one else ever has. As the two become closer and start to open up about the traumas in their respective pasts, Lane begins to question her conviction that Connor is just a distraction.

Tensions come to a head after a tragic incident at a party, forcing Lane to untangle her feelings for both boys and face the truth of what—and who—she wants, in this gripping and stunningly romantic debut novel.

The book starts with an extensive list of content warnings, and so will I.Taken from the book:

This story contains content that might be troubling to some readers, including, but not limited to, depictions of and references to death, suicide, cutting and self-harm, vivid nightmare imagery, substance abuse, homelessness, childhood trauma, and PTSD.

I hadn’t heard anything about Together We Caught Fire before Simon Pulse reached out about an ARC. I’m so glad that they let me know that this book exists.

Together We Caught Fire is not the kind of book that I’d normally pick up on my own. I don’t go for heavy books. If the first thing I see when I open the book is an extensive list of content warnings, I’m probably going to stick it right back on the shelf. Life is dark enough as it is, and I don’t usually like that darkness to spill over into the books I read. But sometimes a synopsis will grab me and I’ll give it a shot. That’s what happened here.

There’s a lot going on here. Not only is Lane struggling with her long-time crush suddenly and unexpectedly becoming her stepbrother, but she’s dealing with PTSD, the debilitating pain of endometriosis, and an entire high school that thinks they know everything there is to know about Lane Jamison — and oh, they have opinions on her. And Lane’s only one character in this story. The other characters have their own issues, from controlling parents to insomnia to being disowned and kicked out of the house by their parents. Nobody’s issues are ever minimized. We didn’t play the “who has it worse” game. There are so many ways that this book could have gone wrong, but Gibson handled everybody’s situation with so much respect and absolutely no judgement.

I’ve read a lot of stepbrother romances over the years, and they usually follow a pretty predictable path. I thought I had this book figured out within the first 25 pages, but believe me when I tell you I was wrong. This book has so many twists and turns, so many wrenches thrown in Lane’s life, that even by the last few pages, I wasn’t entirely sure how things would end. I had to know, though, so I stayed up well past by bedtime to find out.

I’m so glad I gave this book a chance, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for this author.

#wian20: one of the 4 natural elements

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