Will Hollister is drowning, despite him being one of the best swimmers in the US. The responsibilities he is buried under would be too much for everybody yet he tries to shoulder them. Alone, with a mountain of lies and duties.
Avoiding conflict is half the reason I’m as miserable as I am. If I’d embraced it, once— the important time— I wouldn’t be carrying half of the misery that I walk around with every minute of the day. But I can’t change who I am, and I’m a lying chicken shit.
Maddy's future took a completely unexpected path when tragedy struck. She hasn't been living ever since. Not really. Existed. Yes. Survived. When her childhood friend and Evan's brother Will announces that he wants to attempt trials for the Olympic games she has more than mixed feelings about it. Maddy is the daughter of two Olympic swimmers, there is no question that she wants to swim during the summer games. Her training happens at the same place she spent every summer with the Hollister boys. The same place Will is going to train at for his own trials, her father's swim club. For her own peace of mind she needs to stay away.
The competitor in me is back, with the hunger of a thousand dragons. And Will Hollister is just going to have to be okay with the line I need to draw between us. I can’t get close to him. We can’t be friends. There’s too much Evan there. It will only slow me down.
Maddy was hard to read in the beginning. I think her own confusion with her feelings made it so. She has to wade through a lot of conflicting emotions. The farther I got into the story the more my admiration grew. Maddy takes care of Will when she realizes that he shoulders more than she was aware of. She is there for him, taking some of his weight and making life easier for him. And when she finally learns the truth she goes all in. She has come a long way and I loved the new Maddy she grew into. I adored her for being a worthy heroine for an amazing hero. Speaking of...
Will...the things he has gone through? The person he has become? OMG. Besides juggling his life he feels he has to hold in all the lies and secrets he is left with. And those aren't small untruths, they are life changing ones and I think everybody would buckle under them.
“You’re the only thing that doesn’t make me want to drown,” Will says, and my hands fall softly into his hair. My lungs fill at the touch. “I think I came here knowing that you were my only shot at peace.”
He is amazingly strong but you can feel how he starts to crumble. Beside all that there is his love for Maddy which began when he was a teenager. He is very perceptive and in tune with her feelings and reservations. Will's character is sweet and kind and caring, yet hot and funny and this mix makes him irresistible.
I loved how natural they are together. How there are no insecurities or lies. Not even the little white lies. They "get" each other, there is no room for pretense. Of course, that they were childhood friends helps. When you read an emotional book it can be heavy on the angst. While there was some angst and heartbreak it never got too hard. There was humor and hope peppered in between.
“And you better not cheat. If I find out, I’ll do something really shitty to your shampoo bottles when you’re not home. And you know Duncan would help me.” I pull in my brow and laugh out a breath.
The competitive nature of the two main characters made for some funny moments. The description of Will competing and giving his all to crack the elusive eighteen had my heart pounding. The side cast is fabulous and Will's uncle is a cunning man with Will's and Maddy's best interest at heart. The steam factor was higher than I expected and some of the scenes were seriously hot. Like, really hot.
This was my first book by Ginger Scott and I'm happy I followed my friend's advice to read this one. This is definitely one of those stories that stay with you and keeps you thinking about the characters and their decisions.
I'm still wondering why I haven't read The Hard Count yet. It has been waiting on my Kindle forever. I'll remedy this oversight as soon as possible.
“Why did you leave Indiana?” My voice breaks the silence, but nothing follows.
I breathe. My chest in and out. My pulse quickens.
“You transferred to Michigan with one year left. You never came back here. You were… gone.”
Will’s body rises with a long slow breath, and his head rolls to the side, his cheek flat against the back of his hands, his blue eyes opening on mine. Crystal. Honest.
“I couldn’t be here… because you were here,” he says.
Graphics courtesy of Ginger Scott