on November 18, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Friends to Lovers, New Adult, Romance, Sports Romance
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Fractions of seconds can do lots of damage. One decision can ruin lives. A blink can be tragic. And loving a Hollister…can hurt like hell.
I would know.
They say the average person can hold their breath under water for two full minutes when pushed to the extremes. Will Hollister has been holding his for years. The oldest of two elite swimming brothers, Will was always a dominant force in the water. But in life, he preferred to let his younger brother Evan be the one to shine.
Evan got the girl, and Will…he got to bury all of the secrets. A brother’s burden, the weight of it all nearly left him to drown.
The daughter of two Olympians, my path was set the day my fingertips first touched water. My future was as crystal clear as the lane I dominated in the pool—swim hard, win big, love a Hollister.
My life with Evan burned bright. He gave me arms to come home to, and a smile that fooled the world into believing everything was perfect. But it was Will who pushed me. Will…who really knew me.
And when all of the pieces fell, it was Will who started to pick them up.
In the end, the only thing that matters are those few precious seconds—and what we decide to do while we still have them in our grasp.
“I’ve been wandering the world half a man, and Maddy, she made me whole.”
I don’t even know where to start with this one. This was such a beautiful and inspiring, yet heartbreaking story. Needless to say, I loved it, a lot. On one hand I want to write this super long review with super long explanations about everything that happens in the book. I also want to share all the beautiful quotes I highlighted! But on the other hand, I think sharing too much might affect your own reading experience, especially since the book has many twists and turns that make it so special, some I guessed from the first moment, others, left me speechless. So, this review might make sense or it might just be a bunch of rambling, we’ll see.
I will say, Ginger Scott is definitely becoming one of my favorite authors. This is my second Ginger Scott book, the first was The Hard Count, which I loved so much and it’s definitely in my top favorite books of 2016. She’s ridiculously talented and a great story-teller.
As the blurb states, Will is the oldest of two elite swimming brothers. He and his brother Evan used to train at a facility owned by a former Olympian couple, who are the parents of the heroine, Maddy. Maddy, an elite swimmer herself, grew up with Will and Evan and eventually developed a relationship with Evan. However, Evan and his parents died in a tragic plane crash, where will survived. Needless to say, Maddy and Will’s lives completely changed after that. Now 4 years later, Will comes back to train with Maddy and her dad, and both Will and Maddy have their goals set on the Olympics. However, there’s so much history, heartbreak and baggage between them and so much personal stuff to overcome.
“I want to remember what exceptional felt like so I make sure I never settle for less. I wonder if exceptional comes along twice in a lifetime? I wonder what this feels like for him? I wonder if the hurt is the same? Will and Evan were more than brothers; they were best friends. One ended and one began.”
The connection between Maddy and Will is very clear since the first moment, and it’s super intense. Will has been in love with Maddy all his life, that is pretty evident through the book. But obviously, Evan’s presence is something they both struggle with. Will is also keeping a huge secret (about Evan) from Maddy, which I will not spoil. Poor Will, I felt for him the entire time, he truly had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
“Maddy looks at me and still sees him, she sees the man we all kept on a pedestal. So many times, I’ve wanted to tell her the truth about who he really was, what he did. But that would only crush her. And maybe she wouldn’t even be able to look at me at all then, and that…I can’t go back to that. I missed her too much. I can keep the secret. But I can’t avoid getting close to the fire. Temptation and I have always been codependent.”
There are many things I loved about this story. I loved that although there are huge dramatic plot twists, there’s no huge drama between Will and Maddy. They’re amazing together. Once all the secrets are out and everything is in the open, they just become stronger, they definitely act like the adults they are.
“You’re the only thing that doesn’t make me want to drown,” Will says, and my hands fall softly into his hair. My lungs fill at the touch. “I think I came here knowing that you were my only shot at peace.”
I loved their entire love story, from beginning to end, their friendship, their love, the pacing of the story. I absolutely loved both main characters. Will, he was the center of the book, he was amazing through and true, a survivor.
“I’ve wanted Maddy since she dared me to beat her when we were kids racing in the pool. I’ve wanted to kiss her since I wrapped my hands around hers on the rope swing, and I know in my gut that I loved her first. I loved her more…and I loved her first.”
Maddy was a great, strong heroine, she was simply remarkable. The way she faced everything that was thrown at her, and how she just found the strength to be there for Will the way he needed her to be, was just amazing.
“My eyes are locked on Will’s, a silent battle, each of us trying to save the other. But he doesn’t see what I see—a man whose soul is so tired that it may not have much fight left in it.”
“He’s breaking himself trying to save so many people, but nobody has ever stepped up to save him.”
I also loved that this didn’t feel like a “second best” story. You know how much I hate those. Yes, Maddy was Evan’s girlfriend, yes, Will and Maddy got together after Evan died, but it never felt like she was choosing Will because of that, she chose Will in spite of that. I just loved that, for me, I have to be able to feel the love between my MC’s without any doubt, and well it was really clear here.
“Please,” I whisper.
“I love you, Will Hollister,” she says, and I let my lips dust hers just at the sound of those words.
“It has been forever, Maddy. That’s how long,” I say against her skin. “I have loved you…forever.”
“I loved the idea of your brother,” she says. “And the safety that came along with letting myself fall for him. But my love for you is deeper than that. It’s the real kind of love. It’s not about ideas or fantasies. It’s just something my heart can’t help. And I know with every single beat of it …, I’m with the man I was truly meant to be with. My story with Evan—it doesn’t matter. This is the only story that does. Our story.”
Overall, this was a great read. Like I said before, there’s lots of beautiful mixed with lots of heartbreak. Lots of things happen, and a lot of unexpected turns. The two main characters, and also the secondary ones are amazing. There’s lots of love, lots of loss, lots of grief but also a lot of forgiveness. It kept me hooked the entire time. I loved it, and I absolutely recommend it.
“Seconds slow, yet my breath feels endless. I don’t look left. I don’t look right. I know that the storm around me is thick and furious, and every single lane is occupied with someone who feels just as worthy as I do—no doubt, more. But they’re still not going to win. They can’t have today. Today is mine, and doubters can go to fucking hell, because I’m done serving my sentence. I’m done feeling like I owe the universe. I don’t owe anyone shit. I swim for me and that beat that’s picking up pace. My arms follow it—chase that sound. I drive faster. I race…for her.”
**An ARC was generously provided by the author and Wordsmith Publicity in exchange for an honest review”**
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