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99 problems, and a book ain't one

Hello. My name is Tricia, and I have an addiction, an addiction to fiction. Fellow addicts, I welcome you with open arms. Blogger over @ bookwormcoalition.wordpress.com


Use Somebody - Joanne LaRe Thompson, Riley Jean


   Where do I even start?! I guess the first thing that comes to mind is that one of the things I really enjoyed about this book were the things that it made me think about myself. First of which being that I found myself about 300 or so pages into this story thinking, "Oh come on, when is Scar going to pull her head out of her ass already?!" I was desperately searching for everything to start to fix itself. I kept telling myself isn't this when a book usually does this? Here's the thing, part of the reason I was so expectant for this story to fit in the usual parameters of books I read, is because so many of the books I read lately are part of a series and tend to come to an end around this point, just to be continued when the next part comes out. It's been some time since I read a FULL (like really full) length novel. So as soon as I quit thinking about how this book should compare to others in that sense, I actually just sat back and enjoyed experiencing everything it had to offer. And it truly did have so much to offer. So yet again I learn the life lesson that patience pays off (a constant thing I have to relearn lol)


 <---- totally me, like all the time.


    Scarlett's transformation from the light, bubbly girl full of hope in the beginning, to Scar the broken loner, who doesn't dare to dream anymore was such a stark contrast. It felt like Scar and Scarlett were two completely different people.The not knowing what brought on this radical transformation was killing me! As the story progresses we get little glimpses from Scarlett's past and many of the things that contributed to the huge change. All the small hurts and disappointments and eventually the monumental one.


    "Relationships are like that. Each time you fall in love with someone, you give a part of your heart away. And when they're gone, they take it with them. Some people gave little pieces away too many times, like Lexi. Some people gave their whole heart away once, like Gwen. When it ends, what is left of their heart? A smaller piece? A large hole? Could you fill it up, would it heal over or grow back?"


   There was a lot of stuff in this story that was so easy to relate to. So many hard life lessons that we learn along the way, from realizing who are our real friends, to dealing with and learning from the mistakes we've made in the past, and also learning what real love looks like and how it works, and does not work. The thing that I liked about this factor of the story was that Scarlett started realizing these things slowly, and even in the midst of doing so, she still made plenty of mistakes. It wasn't something she learned all at once and executed with precision, it was like real life, always evolving and getting knocked down and deciding to get back up again.



"When I hid behind my walls, they blocked everything out, the good along with the bad. I was convinced that numbing myself was the only way to survive. I hadn't seen anything beyond my own misery to find something worth holding onto. But now, looking at the sky and trees and earth before us, I could only wonder, what kind of life could I have without this?"



Now that's not to say there weren't times when Scarlett screwing up wasn't extremely frustrating, like wanting to pull your hair out frustrating, because it definitely was, but it also made this story seem more genuine, so I accepted it.....well by the end.  





  "...But as bad as it can be, I think it could be just as amazing. And that makes all the hard parts worth it. So you can't let it keep you down. People come and go. But you can always hold on to the good times in your heart, even if that person's no longer with you. You have to look back at everything that's made life good, instead of why it isn't now. Life isn't something to endure, Rosie. It's something to experience."



    Another thing I really enjoyed was the other characters, Vance especially (of course!). Vance was the best! He was the ray of sunshine that couldn't help but cut into Scarlett's vast darkness. I loved that more than anything, Vance was an incredible friend. Everyone in life should count their lucky stars if they have just one friend like him. He was someone you couldn't help but to like instantly.



  Even some of the other characters that were harder to warm up to or like in general, weren't always total villains. They had many different layers, or reasons for doing the things they do. May not be good ones, but the point of it all was beautifully summed up by the end. I think that notion played into the whole everyone kind of uses someone theme here. Sometimes whether they admit it to themselves or not. And that's definitely something else that's relatable to real life. If it's using someone to make you forget about someone or something else, or using someone so you aren't alone, using someone to make you feel better about yourself, or even using someone to hurt someone else. At one point or another we all use somebody, and get used by somebody, and this story showed this brilliantly.


     I just want to add a few brief things. The first being that this book really kept me guessing the whole time, as to what happened in the past and to what was going to happen next, which was refreshing and quite a ride. Even if you figure out some of it, there's PLENTY that will knock you on your ass, so just you wait!



   Finally, a thank you to Riley Jean, first for gifting me this fantastic story for review, and secondly because (very tastefully) there was some brief context in this story concerning religion/church, which for the first time in sooooo long made me feel something positive about it. Thank you for bringing to the forefront all the absolute best, most beautiful things about a subject that typically has me shying away from it. Use Somebody was an emotional journey and I highly recommend it!



    I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review