13 January 2016

As You Breathe Again (A Walker Boys Novel)

Synopsis from Goodreads: She's never had the courage to hold on to anyone. He never learned how to let go of what he wants.

Delaney Shaw isn't looking for anything complicated. After her teaching career is put on hold, she decides to spend the summer in Georgia with her best friend. Lanie lives for the here and now, and she isn't thinking past the end of the summer. She's never had any problem being unattached, because she learned a long time ago that life is safer that way.

Until Reece Walker decides to change her mind.

Almost a year after his ex-wife's death, Reece is still reeling from her passing. He's devoted himself to raising their son and working his family's farm to keep himself grounded. Reece feels like he's lost sight of the man he used to be, and he's not sure how to find his way back.

Everything changes when the woman he's unsuccessfully tried to forget walks back into his life.

Even though she's fighting their sizzling chemistry, Lanie is losing the war. But love isn't always like it is in the movies, and they have real issues. Lanie is terrified Reece's small town won't accept their interracial relationship, and she doesn't know how to let him in.

Lanie has had years to build her defenses, but Reece isn't the sort to give up without a fight. If he can counter Lanie's fears with the future only he can offer her, maybe they can both learn to breathe again.

This book is considered New Adult and/or adult contemporary romance due to age range, subject matter, and tone.

Stats for my copy: e-book, pub. 2016.

How acquired: NetGalley.

First line: “This always looks a lot easier in the movies.”

My thoughts: I've avoided New Adult, because I got a little tired of Young Adult and more interested in reading about characters a little closer to my own age, and New Adult just didn't seem that far removed from Young Adult, and frankly, the phrase “New Adult” just sounded stupid to me. So this is the first book I've read with the New Adult label. And I realize now that I shouldn't look down my nose at a whole category of books just because I haven't deigned to try it. (I'm still not quite prepared to read that fifty shades book, but someday I will. Probably.)

It took me a little while to really get into the story, though I'm not sure why. The writing is smooth, and the characters interesting and likable. We meet Lanie first, on the day she learns she is being let go from her teaching position in New York. Devastated, she decides to visit her best friend, Quinn, in the small town of Baylor, Georgia.

In Baylor we meet Reece. He's a little different than the cowboy heroes I'm used to, with his motorcycle and his eyebrow piercing. He's still mourning the death of his ex-wife, who he had stayed close to and friendly with after their divorce. He lives in an apartment with one of his brothers and his young son, Jamie. There were some times when Reece was out and about or with Lanie and I would wonder where Jamie is and who's taking care of him. I would've liked Jamie to get more page time and be more involved in the story. But the scenes between Reece and Jamie were wonderful. Reece was a very loving father and you could tell Jamie was a huge priority to him, and some of their exchanges were very poignant.

And actually, a lot of the book was poignant. There were so many feels, and I teared up a few times while reading a scene. And there were also many, many scenes that made me grin like an idiot.

For the most part, the book is a light, at times sappy romance, but there's also some seriousness. In addition to Reece coming to terms with the loss of his ex-wife and putting his life back together, and Lanie dealing with trust and commitment issues and bitterness towards a father who left the family when she was young, the characters also deal with racism. Lanie has been surrounded by it all her life, but that doesn't make it any less painful for her. And Reece is appalled when he witnesses it happening to her, and when it's aimed at the two of them as an interracial couple.

A very enjoyable book. 

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