Isabelle is returning from Paris after some time away, and was looking forward to being picked up by her boyfriend Jamie. But there were many things Isabelle didn't expect was going to happen that day, or the days to follow. First Jamie is unable to pick her up, so she's stuck with Jamie's older brother; Harper - who she has a bittersweet relationship with, her luggage was gone when she landed in Atlanta, and to make things worse, she's got two guys vying for her affections. The thing is, they're brothers. And she's only just finding out how heartbreaking and whirlwind the next few weeks will be for the three of them. Isabelle was a great narrator and character, and I loved that there was a lot of dialogue in the novel, because I think it really set the tone and kept me interested more than usual. She was very different to Harper, and I think because he had a slightly troubled background, Isabelle was very judging of his actions and past before she really got to know the real Harper. Letting Go is a novella I could read over and over. I was captured by the storyline and was taken along for the ride for the whole car "road-trip" and the days that followed. It was addictive and fun, and I was especially drawn in by Harper and Isabelle, no matter the things that came in-between them. She knew all along when she was with Jamie that there was something between her and Harper and I think that until those early pages of the book when we really get to see them together, interacting, does she really think; we have a connection. And I know that she was with Jamie first, but torn still, and I honestly thought that Harper brought out something special in her. The whole romance was cute and light, perfect for a Novella...but I wanted more! More than a Novella! I wanted to find out what would happen after the "the end" and more. There was a sheer brilliance about the whole setting of Letting Go and I'm actually so happy that I had the chance to get to read it, because I know if I hadn't been offered to read it, I would be missing out completely. Pure sweet-romance, emotions and heartbreak, but ultimately, a love story that I loved. Perfect for Valentine's Day!
Isabelle is left stranded at the airport, and her only chance of getting home is with her boyfriend’s older brother, Harper. When this good girl and bad boy set off towards home, it turns out that maybe she’s not such a good girl after all. And even bad boys have reasons for their bad behavior.
The road trip is full of shocking revelations and unexpected emotions, bringing the two of them closer than Isabelle ever thought possible. Maybe too close.
14+ due to sexuality and adult situations
They had to use their jackets to shield themselves from the rain as they ran to the car. It was pouring again.
“I’ve had enough of this rain,” Isabelle said.
“It’s been like this the entire week. Freaky weather.”
“At least I got some sunny days in Paris,” Isabelle sighed as she got in and closed the door.
“Did you go see the Luxembourg gardens?” Harper asked and started the car. Driving down the street, he typed a quick message to Missy, and Isabelle itched to give him a lecture on safety.
“I loved them,” she said instead. “I went there almost every day and watched the people. It was almost like a gallery, but the pictures were alive.”
“Did you see kids playing with the sail boats at the basin?”
“Yeah. It was such a nice, calm place. I can imagine going there to relax or cool off.”
“It’s the perfect spot. But then again, every spot in Paris is damn near perfect.”
“Is it my imagination or are you a hopeless romantic?”
He looked at her and smiled crookedly. “It’s an inspiring city, that’s all.”
“Did you visit it alone?” Isabelle asked, smiling.
“Hm. What happened to her?”
“Come on, tell me.” She only half teased him. She wanted to know more about the Harper she’d glimpsed last night when they talked about his family and earlier in Missy’s kitchen. He astounded her, made her curious.
“She ditched me over a physics student,” he said as if he were ashamed of it.
Harper turned to her.
“What? A physics student as opposed to a web designer that can cook? That’s a no brainer.”
“It certainly was a no brainer for her,” he said dryly.
“You cared about her?”
“I took her to Paris, didn’t I?”
They fell silent. Isabelle mulled over the things she had learnt about him. She’d only dated one boy before Jamie and it wasn’t very serious at all. Still, when he dumped her, her pride was hurt. Chloe went on a mission of returning her self-esteem by taking her on shopping trips where they spent most of their time assessing the boys they saw because neither of them could afford to buy anything. That was how Isabelle first noticed Jamie. He was in front of them in the line at the ice cream place at the mall and she remembered he chose vanilla and chocolate. The ice cream was why she noticed him. She had a habit of choosing the flavors with the wildest colors, so she rarely picked vanilla and chocolate. Jamie, as she learned later, always picked the same flavors.
“Did it hurt?” she now asked Harper.
“I got over it,” he said. But the way he said it answered her question better than the words. She could imagine his heartache and it made her sad. His entire life had been sad, Isabelle thought. She guessed that was one of the reasons for the distance that he created between himself and the people around him by being sarcastic and unkind. He deserved a break. He deserved someone to make him happy. Why was it that some people never got to be happy?
“What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” she asked, thinking of Jamie standing in line at the mall. When Jamie had turned and smiled at her, she thought he was cute. Decent and good.
“I don’t have one. I always pick a different flavor. Why?”
“Just curious,” she said, her smile tense. “And thanks. For a wonderful morning.”
“It wasn’t as bad as you expected, was it?”
“It wasn’t bad at all.”
“See? I told you that you could trust me.”
“I’m beginning to realize that sometimes it’s easier to trust others than myself.”
Glancing at her, he said, “What got you thinking that?”
“Life in general,” she shrugged. “It’s messier, less controllable than I’d like to think. I often misjudge situations. There’s plenty of confusing grey areas.”
“That it is,” he agreed. “Don’t let it get to you. Grey’s a cool color.”
“I don’t know.” Isabelle looked out of the window into all the rainy greyness. “If you don’t mind a Miss Pageant moment, I’d say that if I had the magic wand, I’d make everyone happy. That would make the world more pleasant and easier to live in.”
“You’d definitely win the pageant, but you could never make everyone happy. Not even with a magic wand.”
“Why not?” she said, frustrated.
He glanced at her, but when she met his eyes, he looked away. “For example, someone will want a sunny day, but their neighbor might like rain. Or to be less prosaic, say, two people are in love with the same person …”
Harper let the rest of the sentence hang in the air. Isabelle froze when his words amalgamated into a coherent sentence in her mind. She didn’t dare guess whom he was talking about. She didn’t respond.
“Yup,” Harper said off-handedly a moment later.
What a fantastic novel! Isabelle is left stranded at the airport, back from her trip to Paris. And guess who gets to pick her up? Her boyfriend's (Jamie) big brother, Harper, and now the journey is on. Isabelle's boyfriend is the right guy, and his big brother, Harper, is the wrong guy...or is he? This is the first YA book that I've read in a while that honestly took me back to a time when I was a teenager. This is a scenario I could totally see happening! Harper has a dark past in contrast to his little brother's bright future and clean history. It would appear that Harper is a womanizing, reckless hottie, while Jamie is the good golden boy. The great thing Ms. Hall did was while the road trip lasted for two days, she covered a lot of miles. I loved the way the author flashed back to past experiences between Isabelle and Harper. It built the chemistry between the two and justified the budding feelings. As I discovered Harper's haunting past and how he worked through it...I cheered all that much more for him. Having a love interest shared between two brothers is not an easy thing to pull off without someone coming out the other end a bad guy, but I have to say, this author did it flawlessly. I felt like I was on the road with Isabelle and Harper. What an incredibly sweet, passionate, and tender read! I LOVED Letting Go!
With the current paranormal focus in YA novels, it's hard to find books about real people doing real things. I'm happy to say that LETTING GO fills that void with characters readers care about and experiences that ring true. It is also heartening to read a novel written by an author who remembers how life altering and angst inducing a kiss can be. :-)
My original review can be found at Sizzling Hot YA Books Letting go was the sweetest of young adult contemporary reads. Nothing overly angst-filled, nothing too far fetched either. Just. Right. Exactly what I needed this week. :) With her luggage lost and no ride home from the airport after a trip to Paris, Isabelle is frustrated and the last thing she wants is to hitch a ride home with her brother’s boyfriend. This guy is dangerous, in the sense that he makes her feel things she shouldn’t. The kind of things that one should not be feeling towards their BF’s brother. But what can she do when he’s her only hopes at making it home in short order? Throughout their road trip home, Isabelle and Harper have no choice but to talk. It’d be a long ride home if they didn’t, right? But when Isabelle discovers secrets about Harper and her boyfriend Jamie’s family, she realizes that maybe stereotyping Harper all along as the bad boy, with the drug habit, and womanizer ways, was not exactly the best move on her behalf. Not to mention the fact that all those feelings she secretly harbors for the guy she shared a memorable dance with not so long before, come back, hitting her head on in the emotional sense. But Isabelle can’t be in love with Harper…she’s in love with Jamie. Or can she? I enjoyed the characters in Letting Go. More so Harper than Isabelle. Not because she wasn’t a good person, or a sweet girl even (which she really was.) I just couldn’t connect with her very well. Not sure why that is. Maybe it was because of her indecision and the way she pushed her feelings away more than embraced them. But yet she was young, and I totally understood her teenage mentality at the same time. Harper, on the other hand, stole my heart from the get go. His wannabe bad boy ways that filtered over to a sweet guy, with real heart, and an amazing ability to love. Oh, yeah, and his ability to cook. Who can resist a bad boy who cooks? Not this girl. I would have loved to hear Harper’s perspective throughout the length of Letting Go in someway shape or form. But yet, the mystery was still there when it came to his personality and that, in turn, really drew me into the story line, keeping me going and wanting to find out all his secrets. Overall, if your looking for a truly sweet, love story, with lots of heart and some smoldering kisses, then Letting Go is the perfect book for you. Not too long, not too short, the perfect length for curling up on your couch with a blanket, on a cold winter’s day. I loved the premise, the road trip stories are always some of my faves, and in turn I loved the way Ms. Hall brought tougher subjects together, with heart and humor at the same time. I can’t wait to read more from this Ms. Hall, and maybe…just maybe…she can write me a book with Harper’s side of the story? Oh, and maybe a Jamie story too. Just dropping a few hints