'You make me feel like there's something good in the world I can hold on to,' Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it's almost hard to breathe. 'I love you, Gem. And I promise I'll hold your heart forever.'
When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.
But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma's life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?
Told in both Gemma's and Aaron's words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like.
~I was gifted a copy from the publishers - all opinions are my own~
I give it - 5/5
My review - What a fantastic and moving story! Karen writes some of the most insightful and moving stories that I just adore. An interesting look at gaslighting in a relationship and how it is hard to see the warning signs once you're in deep.
This is a story that starts off as a love story and it goes in a different direction. Gemma and Aaron start dating but, after awhile there is warning signs. He seems nice as first, he's a little bit older than her, drives her to collage, takes her on nice dates and buys her nice things but it's all a front. Aaron keeps bringing up his ex, how he's been hurt and then the comments start happening. Little things, little digs at her, her friends and her family. He starts to show up to her work, her home, and before she knows it she's moved in with him and cuts of all her friends.
This book gets to the dark side of controlling relationships. How you never really know how someone is until you're in too deep. Her friends try to tell her what they see when they're together but she doesn't listen even though she knows they're the voice of reasoning. Can she get out before it's too late?
Gemma is a fantastic character. She loves to sing and write songs. She has entered a singing competition and has such a talent. She loves her family and always loves supporting her brother in his football games. She has a great group of friends who have her back and really want to do what they can to help her at this time.
It was also interesting to have the POV from Aaron in this book! Kind of seeing where his thoughts came from. Karen said that even though we have a POV from him it doesn't exclude his behaviour but she wants to give the reader an insight, 'influences at personal and societal level might have led him to hold such damaging views of women and relationships'.
A powerful read that shows the two sides to a controlling relationship and the impact it has on the person, their friends and family. It shows how great friendship is and how at the end of the day you need your friends and I know it's hard to get out of the mindset when you're in a relationship but the warning signs are there and some times they might start of small but they grow and Gemma starts to realises this.
What an honest and realistic look at how a controlling relationship begins and progresses.
A fantastic book from Karen Gregory!