She’s addicted to sex. He’s addicted to booze…the only way out is rock bottom.
No one would suspect shy Lily Calloway’s biggest secret. While everyone is dancing at college bars, Lily stays in the bathroom. To get laid. Her compulsion leads her to one-night stands, steamy hookups and events she shamefully regrets. The only person who knows her secret happens to have one of his own.
Loren Hale’s best friend is his bottle of bourbon. Lily comes at a close second. For three years, they’ve pretended to be in a real relationship, hiding their addictions from their families. They’ve mastered the art of concealing flasks and random guys that filter in and out of their apartment.
But as they sink beneath the weight of their addictions, they cling harder to their destructive relationship and wonder if a life together, for real, is better than a lie. Strangers and family begin to infiltrate their guarded lives, and with new challenges, they realize they may not just be addicted to alcohol and sex.
Their real vice may be each other.
3.5 stars — Wow. I’m still trying to process what I just read. While reading this, I think I realized that I don’t tend to read a lot of super angsty books. And this is not angsty in like a bad way…huh, so this just spurred me on to look up angsty in the dictionary, and I’m not sure I mean that word. It’s just that this book deals with a lot of real and sometimes very negative emotions, and our two main characters are ridiculously self-destructive. So it makes it hard to read for me. I’m a fairly sensitive reader, and so my heart just cringed for these characters over and over again.
And there just wasn’t a balance of lightheartedness to compensate for the heaviness…which don’t get me wrong, I definitely wasn’t expecting any lighthearted moments in this book (I wasn’t confused about what I was getting into). I mean, objectively there were some (Connor providing a lot of it), but I think I was stuck in horrified mode and it wasn’t enough to get me out of that place. It’s more that I realized something about myself as a reader, and that I tend to gravitate more towards books that have a balance of the two (heavy and light), does that make sense? And so there’s a part of me that really enjoyed this book and all the issues it tackled…and there’s another part of me that’s just emotionally exhausted. So I find myself desperately wanting to read book 2 and find out what happens with Lily and Lo, and there’s another part of me that’s more cautious of the emotional strain I’d be subjecting myself to.
And so I guess that brings me to what this book does well (much to my dismay): the authors do an amazing job of portraying characters struggling with addiction. Or at least to me it felt very authentic. And it broke my heart. B/C you could see glimmers of who Lily and Lo were beneath it all, but for the most part they were just smothered by their addictions. I can’t even honestly decide how I feel about their romance, b/c it was so hard to see their love beyond how they were enabling each other. It really wasn’t much of a love story…at least not yet. It’s not that you didn’t see that they cared for each other, but they both genuinely loved their addictions more and always put those above each other.
I actually wasn’t sure how I would feel about following a character with a sex addiction, b/c it’s not something that we as a society focus on as something real. I wondered if the authors would just use that as an excuse to have a really racy book, but it wasn’t that AT ALL. And so I really applaud them for that. I could believe it. And I hated it. I hated how it controlled Lily. 🙁
I feel like I honestly didn’t get a great feel for Lo. Maybe it’s because the story was told from Lily’s POV, so we were able to get inside her head? Maybe it’s because addiction twists characters, and so we end up seeing so many different sides of him (including some mean sides)? I don’t know. I wonder if the rest of the series is all from Lily’s POV, b/c I would love to see into Lo’s head so badly.
I thoroughly enjoyed the side characters in this book. I have a feeling the more I learn, the more I’m going to want to read all nine books, including the sister spin-offs… Maybe they’ll be a bit more reprieving in the emotional distraught-ness area.
Other than that this book is a bit outside my wheelhouse and left me a bit scarred, I also felt like it dragged on a bit at times, and so that was where that extra half star loss falls. Also, I’m not sure how I feel about how things went with Lo’s father and Lily’s thoughts about him at the end (how’s that for vague and not spoilery). But I’ve decided I’m definitely going to give the next book (Ricochet) a try and decide how much my heart can take from there, and see how I’m feeling at that point.