After Stroked, which I had some major quibbles about (and I think I wasn't alone there), I was nervous starting this one. I was hoping for more story and less inane bitchiness that was Bellini. What can I say? My prayers were heard and Meghan Quinn dishes up a way more serious story than I knew her for.
The moment Bodi forgot to lock up the door of his childhood home was when this spirited twelve year old boy shattered. He and his sister became ear witnesses of the murder of their parents, cowered together in the tub. It was the moment Bodi turned from a carefree young boy from a loving home into a damaged human being with ticks and disorders. And above all with an unbearable amount of guilt and self hatred.
Helping to plan a fundraiser gala in memory of her friend Eva's late parents together with Eva's brother, the hot swimmer Bodi Banks gives Ruby tingles. She's had a crush on him for a long time after all. Her first encounter with him involves glitter in her face and jazz hands and how embarrassing is that?
Bodi's only concern is what is left of his family. There are two people he can be himself around: his sister and her girlfriend Lauren. These two give him a modicum of normalcy by letting him keep them safe. Talking to other people is a rehearsed behavior and doesn't come naturally for this socially awkward man. His days are planned out, deviating from his routine means ending up in a panic attack. When he meets Ruby Hearts who he is supposed to plan the gala with, he doesn't know what to do with her quirkiness. He knows she is chaos and will be a disturbance to his routine. She says those weird things and has glitter in her face. Yet, there is something fascinating about her too.
From page 1 Bodi broke my heart. He is so impeded by his disorders that he can't function without turning his lock three times in row, washing his hair in three repeats. His quirks give him a sense of calm when nothing else can.
Talking with people he doesn't know is a veritable act of force to him. In the first chapter you might think he's rude - read the second and you get your first view into the damaged soul that resides in Bodi. My heart bled on every page with him. You can clearly see his inner beauty, only he can't.
This man is so clueless to his worth in this world and not just in the athletic sense. That comes second to the heart he shares with others. He has no idea how special he really is.
His self hatred is so misplaced yet I don't pretend to understand what goes on in a person who had happened to them what Bodi experienced as a child. Despite his mental issues he is caring, protective and has the most beautiful, kindest soul. And he has a dirty mouth on him that completely took me by surprise.
When he meets Ruby it's the first time in his life that he is tempted to leave his comfort zone. She doesn't judge him, she puts his demons at ease and soothes him. He breathes easier with her.
You're sweet, caring, kind, easy to talk to, and a fucking ball of sunshine"
Ruby is such a sweet, compassionate and funny character. Nurturing, caring, selfless, gentle and super quirky. One scene involved a camel toe and I just couldn't stop laughing with the images in my mind. And everytime that scene was mentioned I cracked up again. And again. The only person who could drag this broken man out of the darkness was Ruby with her bright light.
Looking at the sparkle in her eyes that hits me straight to my core, I know I'm up against a force too great for me to comprehend, too grand to undertake. It fucking terrifies me.
Around the 90% mark I started to get a bit nervous how this would play out. It was the moment when I thought Meghan Quinn will either make it or break it now. I tell you what. She made it. I am absolutely happy with the ending. (highlight) The whole time I was waiting for Bodi to break out of his walls when I realized he didn't have to. The way this author wrote the last pages of the story were perfect because there wasn't a miracle healing. Bodi was broken and with Ruby he had found the perfect partner to deal with his issues. She didn't have to fix him.
Meghan Quinn has written one hell of a story. It's not a typical romcom. It's too serious for that but her sense of humour is spread throughout the book and I kept asking myself how this woman comes up with this stuff. I think I went through every emotion I have in my repertoir, from sad to happy, from upset to warm and fuzzy. I laughed, I cried and if that doesn't justify a 5 star rating I don't know what does.