(Full Tilt #1)
I didn't think I had it in me still but this book...GOD! This book brought out the ugly crying and it's nice to find out that I'm not dead inside. I have no words to say how much my heart aches for Kacey and Jonah.
Jonah is an industrial artist who lives for his work. He creates intricate beautiful things with glass. He keeps to a carefully crafted routine to make it to the deadline of the exhibit of Jonah's legacy and masterpiece. He doesn't let anything get in the way of his goal.
Kacey is a musician, on the brink to success...and sick and tired of the scene. Drowning her sorrow in alcohol and meaningless sex is her coping mechanism, not only with the superficial world of music business but also with the lack of love in her life. One day when she has one drink too much, wrecked one bar too many, she ends up on the couch of her limo driver.
Jonah's and Kacey's connection is instant and while there is also a budding sexual attraction in the beginning their friendship is as innocent as it can get. They love to spend time together, making each other laugh comes naturally to them. A connection like this can't be contained though and soon feelings start to grow and turn into something else, something more. Yet, Jonah needs to keep Kacey at arms' length so he can meet the deadline of the exhibit. He offers her every part of his soul except the one piece that they both crave.
"I want to be able to kiss you if I feel like it, and I think you want that too. Like our first kiss at the casino. It was everything to me. Everything."
"It was for me too. I want to kiss you again. I want to kiss you so bad I can't breathe. I want to be with you every second of my life..."
Jonah is one of the most beautiful souls I've read in any book ever. He is kind, sweet, patient, lovable in every way. He has come to terms with the fact that he will never experience being in love and his courage in the face of his condition is nothing short of amazing. With Kacey he has found his perfect match. She is his light, sweet, funny and with the same kind of courage. She teaches Jonah that focusing on the journey gives you more happiness than living only for the goal. He teaches Kacey that his love is unconditional and all encompassing. Their love is pure, life changing even. Together they create magic.
This was in no way an easy read for me. While the story was peppered with humor and light moments there was always an undertone of sadness which made me dread coming to the end. I am glad that Jonah didn't experience a miracle healing, it would have taken away from the sincerity of Jonah's and Kacey's journey. That their potentially once in a lifetime love was cut short by a cruel fate, however, hurt so much.
"You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop." I looked at Kacey sitting beside me. She is not merely an ocean. She is an entire universe.
Emma Scott's effortless and gorgeous writing only adds to this beautiful pain. I haven't cried like this in years over a book. The secondary characters were endearing and I loved the big brother - little brother relationship between Jonah and Theo. They had a very special connection.
Even days after reading this book I'm still stunned how much fictional characters make us feel, how we can grieve for them days after closing the book. This book is easily in the top three of this year's favorites, I would even go as far as to say it's one of my top 10 ever. I can't wait to read Kacey's and Theo's way to healing and hope that Jonah's legacy will be done justice and his life will be celebrated. What I'm left with is a pile of snotty tissues and the urge to rub the spot above my heart.
I want to close this review with two quotes from an actor who left this life too soon, yet impressed me with his wisdom beyond his years:
"Immortality is to live your life doing good things, and leaving your mark behind. The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering."
"Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."
- Brandon Lee