I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Do you hear that? That’s my heart beating over this story. Interim is powerful. The words, the characters. Everything. This book simply moved me. I am left breathless.
“...and I wondered what life was like to never really walk on the ground but to glide instead. What it was like to be effortless and confident.”
Jeremy Stahl is an outcast. A nobody. A loser. Well that is how the popular crowd sees him. It’s how he sees himself. He's a victim. To his peers. To his dad. Regan Walters runs with the cool crowd. She doesn’t have time for the likes of someone like Jeremy. Until one day she reads his journal. Every single detail regarding his revenge is in that journal. Plans need to change.
“Metal could slay a flying fist. Metal could silence an ugly word. Flesh was weak; metal strong.”
This story is SO much deeper than bullying as it goes beyond that. It’s emotional and deep. It reminds you of the resilience of the human spirit and that we are all worthy of forgiveness, hope, and most of all, love. That we deserve to receive it just as much as we deserve to give it. Every single character in this book plays a part. You feel Jeremy’s hurt, his pain, his need for revenge. But the author also shows you the other side. How vulnerable bullies are. That those who pick on others, are just as messed up, or even more so. That they are deeply hurting and find solace in hurting others. It’s interesting ow an author can strategically allow the reader to see both perspectives. The bully and the victim. At the end of the day, she shows you that deep down, these are people. And there is power in their choices.
“And I wanted to feel everything at once. And give you everything. And take from you.”
Is there romance in this story? Honestly? Yes. But not hearts and rainbows. Not the fluffy kind. Oh no. That is not this book. Jeremy and Regan are not the usual high school sweethearts. Their love is intense. It’s ugly, it’s beautiful. Their love shatters everything you thought you knew about love. Everything. For Regan to love the boy with so much hate in his heart and for that boy to find love despite that black heart was breathtaking, scary, beautiful. Their love knows no boundaries as the boy who never received love, learned to love harder than anyone. You watch his soul slowly come alive as he’s around Regan.
“Because broken people don’t know when enough is enough.”
The subject matter in this story? It’s heavy. It’s relevant. It pushes boundaries. It’s not pretty. But isn’t that life? We have come so wrapped up in these fairytale fluff stories that as readers we are not pushed. What happened to the time when books actually made you think? But S. Walden? She pushes you. Hard. She makes you come face to face wit the ugly and bad parts of life. It’s raw, genuine, and you feel every single moment. I gripped my kindle. I never wanted to put this book down. I was mesmerized, addicted. Her seamless detailed writing is brilliant. You are not reading the story, you are IN it. I was in Jeremy’s head. I felt every thought, every emotion. S. Walden doesn’t write her characters, she simply breathes life into them. The words of this story will haunt you, but you will be inspired.
Interim is a story I will never forget. This brilliant, heartbreaking, thought provoking story just gave me life. It consumed me. I am overwhelmed just talking about it as I am not sure if I can truly put into words what this story truly meant to me. My heart pounded with each chapter. I was living this story. I held on to every single word. The author is amazing at the art of storytelling. It's as if she purposefully chooses each word as they strategically and beautifully add to this story. Despite the warning on this book, read it. The author is nothing but original in her efforts to truly portray a haunting story on bullying and the choices we have in life that come with consequences. I applaud the author for tackling such an issue, especially with the times we live in today. But that's the thing. This is our world today. We need to embrace it head on if we are to ever to fully understand. what we are facing As I end this, my heart is still beating over this story, and I don't think it will ever stop.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
What an amazing piece of writing from S. Walden!! I’ve read her books before, and after reading this one I was in complete amazement by how beautifully she scrolls her thoughts on to the page. I want to start off by saying that Interim has some pretty heavy stuff going on and it’s definitely not for everyone. With that being said, I still want everyone to read it.
“Now, I love you because I know you. I love you because I believe in all your goodness. I love you because of the way you make me feel. I love you because I want to.” She smiled. “And I love you because I’m helpless not to.”
This isn’t just a story about a school shooting. This is a story about people. Whether you are a good person or a person with a black soul, you are still a person that had to derive from somewhere. This story moved me in such a way that I have tears in my eyes while I type this. It’s so beautiful and so ugly and I loved every bit of it. This book is about love, and how you interpret that love, or lack thereof. It shows you how people can grow and surprise you every single day. That being kind to someone—even if it’s just ONE person, is the most simple and meaningful thing that a human can do for another human.
“When you’ve gone so many years wanting something, and then you finally get it, sometimes you don’t react appropriately. The feelings are too intense. You don’t know how to handle them. Like being in a manic state, I guess. Out of your mind. That’s how I felt when you kissed me.”
There are so many things I love about this story, but one thing that stood out to me was how connected I felt to the characters. Especially Jeremy, since you get a good look into his head. I was floored by the development that he had so early on in the book. It usually it takes me a while to be so invested, but with the way the Author lures you into his brain it’s pretty hard not to be. He seems so rough and determined and steadfast about what his plans are, but with Regan in the mix everything changes. He feels his resolve slipping and it’s really wonderful to read that in the amazing way it was written. I can’t express how enjoying this was to read just based on the wordage alone.
"Every time he thought of her, something moved in his mind—a cog lifted and slid onto the right bolt. A wheel finally rotated in the correct direction. Wires repaired themselves. Like his mind was healing itself."
I’m not going to even get into the story because I believe that it is a treat all by its self! And one that romance readers from all over the spectrum will embrace. When I first heard the synopsis of this book I was sure it would end up in a controversial spat all over the internet. But after reading it, and falling in love with the characters and writing, I’m almost certain that it will be just the opposite. Every single character had a connection deep to the story and every single word reverberated the feeling of the book as a whole. This was truly a gift to read, S.Walden is brilliant. PLEASE read this book!!
“I love you. I hate you. The pendulum swung. Love. Hate. Good. Evil. Right. Wrong. Victim. Vigilante. Sanity. Slipping."
Letter to the Reader:
Not many authors will discourage you from reading their work. After all, the goal of our stories is to grow our readership, not diminish it. I’m well aware of that, but when I first became inspired with Jeremy’s story, I knew I would have to go about promoting it in an entirely different way—something far removed from my past marketing campaigns. I knew I would have to hide the book, stamp disclaimers all over it, plant seeds of doubt in your minds, decline requests for advanced reviews—in essence, all the things an author SHOULD NOT do when marketing her book. That’s why it took me so long to write the damn thing—over a year of worrying, second-guessing, flip-flopping, arguing. Jeremy sat waiting patiently, and I stared back at him wondering just how much he would destroy my career.
Then I remembered that his story is exactly the type of controversial social issue I enjoy tackling. I knew I had to write it because I could. I could be sensitive to the subject matter without being PC. I could leave my political and moral opinions out of it. I could make it a human story, not a gun story. I could do all these things if I worked very hard—if I was diligent and faithful to my characters and their experiences. Once I realized these things, I stopped fretting and just started writing, careful to keep all the details private and sacred. That’s how writing should be: private and sacred.
Now Jeremy’s story is no longer private, but I hope you will find it sacred. I hope you will throw off your preconceptions and bury your social and political views, your moral judgments. It’s too easy to go into a story like this already angry, especially if you or someone you love has experienced gun violence. I urge you to think long and hard before starting Interim if you are especially sensitive to the topic of school shootings. There are extremely violent, descriptive scenes, and I do not wish for my book to be a trigger for you.
I am well aware of the social debate a book like this may provoke. I did not write it for debate. I did not write it to make a statement about guns, gun control, gun access, Constitutional rights, etc. I am not interested in comparing my story to the horrific school shootings that have taken place in the United States. I have no motive other than to tell a story about an abused boy who felt he deserved justice. What you take away from the novel is entirely up to you.