by Brenda Novak
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Publisher: Mira Books
Book #5 of the Silver Springs series
Number of pages: 416
Source: Net Galley ARC
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 2/26/19 to 2/28/19
Jada Brooks couldn’t have known how her life would change when she fell for bad boy Maddox Richardson back in high school. She couldn’t have known his troubled brother would leave hers forever crippled. Or that she’d be forced to shun Maddox completely–only to discover she was carrying his child.
Although Maddox was devastated by the events that transpired that fateful night, losing Jada was the worst of it. He’s back in Silver Springs, ready to make amends and provide the kind of youth outreach that once saved him. If he’d known Jada was in town, too, he would never have come.
Jada has returned to Silver Springs to be with family after her father’s death. But when she sees Maddox, every tough decision she’s made concerning their now twelve-year-old daughter begins to haunt her. Falling for him again is so tempting, but not only does she stand to alienate her family–if he finds out about Maya, she could lose what matters most.
I’m a fan of Brenda Novak, partly because she doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. I’ve found that this series, in particular, has characters with a lot of flaws and heartbreak in their pasts. In most cases, the most flawed of the characters in each book is one of the former students from New Horizons. In this story, although Maddox has had a rough life, I felt Jada was much more flawed.
Maddox seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. Not just because he’s the type of guy who will stand beside those he loves and has a strong moral compass. He also took on a lot of blame for things he wasn’t responsible for, having people judge him by his mom and not for himself.
Jada also carried a lot of guilt with her. A large portion of that guilt is not deserved. Her parents were absolutely wrong in how they handled a terrible tragedy that happened to her family when she was a teen, in the process they piled blame on her where it did not belong. On the other hand, I felt she did deserve some of the guilt she carried. I can understand her being scared and unsure of how to proceed with her life when she was young. The decisions she made to keep secrets once she found out that Maddox was back in town made me so angry that I often had a hard time reading this story. I’d find myself sympathizing with Jada and rooting for her and Maddox to find their way back to each other, then she’d make another bonehead decision and I’d lose all faith in her and get upset again.
There is almost a charming element to the chemistry between Jada and Maddox. They’re both trying so hard not to hurt anyone around them, including each other. Yet they cannot deny the pull they have toward each other.
There were some surprising favorites for me in this story; Tobias was a pleasant surprise and Atticus eventual wormed his way into my heart. There were also some extreme disappointments such as Jada’s mom. Even her best friend, although super supportive, didn’t really think through her advise in my opinion.
Since Tobias found a solid fan in me, I’m excited the next story will feature him. His story is really quite tragic and it will be wonderful to see him get his life turned around.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**