I became a huge fan of Shelly Crane after devouring her Significance Series. It will probably forever be one of my favorite series and Shelly's love of romance and happily-ever-after is definitely something I can appreciate and I
can't get enough of her writing. One thing I love Mrs. Crane for is her sugary-sweet romance and the fact that she can get me all dreamy-eyed and sighing before I know what's hit me. Well she definitely mixed things up a bit with Wide Open. And that's ok, because it was fantastic all the same. This book is a lot more...gritty. A lot more "real," and a lot more mature-- in both subject matter and content. It deals with a lot of series issues-- drug abuse, addiction, illness, and death. These characters and their struggles will claw at your heart the entire time and might bring on an ugly tear or two. I won't say whether I bawled like a baby or not during certain parts... ;)
We first meet Milo in Wide Open (which I LOVED, by the way... so if you haven't read that one, get on it and fast!), as Mason's brother. Mason's & Milo's family life is a bit chaotic and full of drama, and Milo has quite a few problems of his own. These problems carried over into Wide Open, and we get to delve much deeper into Milo's mind and see him as he tries to turn his life around. I'm always nervous when starting a series book that focuses on a different character than the first, only because I become so invested in that first character, that I'm convinced I won't be able to connect with the new guy (or girl) nearly as much. More often than not, this isn't the case, but I always go in a little...leery at first. And while I still adore Mason, Milo definitely won me over and I'm so glad to have been able to read his story.
Now on to Maya. This girl stole my heart and I love her to pieces. This poor girl has been through so much and my heart went out to her. I mean, she cannot catch a break. But what a strong and brave character she was. She just proves that being strong doesn't mean you have your stuff together all the time, but that you just keep pushing along and try your best. I think Milo and Maya were perfect for each other and it was easy to root for them throughout this book.
This was a great book about struggle, perseverance, family, and second chances. It was a lovely story and very nice to see this author try something a bit different. The characters in Wide Open will definitely win you over and, although it's definitely a tear jerker and difficult to read at times, it's worth every minute.
Shelly is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author from a small town in Georgia and loves everything about the south. She is wife to a fantastical husband and stay at home mom to two boisterous and mischievous boys who keep her on her toes. They currently reside in scorching North Florida. She loves to spend time with her family, binge on candy corn, go out to eat at new restaurants, buy paperbacks at little bookstores, sight-see in the new areas they travel to, listen to music everywhere and also LOVES to read.
Her own books happen by accident and she revels in the writing and imagination process. She doesn't go anywhere without her notepad for fear of an idea creeping up and not being able to write it down immediately, even in the middle of the night, when her best ideas are born.
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