Date published: March 31st, 2015
Publisher: Atria Books
Synopsis: A new adult novel that perfectly captures the existential angst of your early twenties with raw wit, fresh insight, and true feeling from a critically adored USA TODAY bestselling author.
Joshua Miles has spent his early twenties spinning his wheels. Working dead-end jobs and living at home has left him exhausted and uninspired, with little energy to pursue his passion for graphic art. Until he meets Gemma Henare, a vivacious out-of-towner from New Zealand. What begins as a one-night stand soon becomes a turning point for Josh. He can't get Gemma out of his head, even after she has left for home, and finds himself throwing caution to the wind for the first time in his life.
It's not long before Josh is headed to New Zealand with only a backpack, some cash, and Gemma's name to go on. But when he finally tracks her down, he finds his adventure is only just beginning. Equally infatuated, Gemma leads him on a whirlwind tour across the beautiful country, opening Josh up to life, lust, love, and all the messy heartache in between. Because, when love drags you somewhere, it might never let go even when you know you have to say goodbye.
What I Thought:
I pride myself on not judging books by their covers, and yes I know being prideful is a sin, but this cover is one of the most beautiful ones I've ever seen. It's easy to look at it and see how appealing it is, but I was only fully able to appreciate it after I finished reading the book. I will say this, it's almost like it was stolen from the pages of the story. And what a story.
Gemma and Josh's initial meeting was hot and filled with potential and I hated seeing them part. That positive vibe quickly shifted when Josh showed up in New Zealand. I did think he was slightly crazy for chasing a one night stand, but as it turned out doing so was the best thing he could've possibly done. I liked Josh. He may have seemed lost in Vancouver, with a job he didn't like, a mother he loved but didn't like, but he wasn't without virtue; he was kind, patient, understanding, and kept trying to get Gemma to open up to him. Gemma was wonderful too, even though I thought she made some bad choices, I could understand and relate to the fears that led her to making them. I loved how strong Gemma was, not only physically, but mentally. The chemistry the two of them had me turning pages quickly and mentally yelling at them, "Get it together!"
Besides the gorgeous cover, I loved the setting of this story. In fact, I can say it's probably the third most important character in this book after Gemma and Josh. I've always pictured New Zealand as being wondrous and an adventure, but I had no idea how breath taking it could by just reading about it. Karina Halle uses such evocative descriptions it was very easy to see the beaches and glow worms in the caverns. I've always had New Zealand on my list of countries to visit, but this book makes me want to get up and go right now!
I really wasn't paying much attention to the page count as I read, but it was all about the journey Josh, Gemma, and their other fellow trekkers were on. I absolutely adore how Karina didn't use the usual template some romance authors use. The template I'm referring to is intercourse at around the half point of the book. The story might start with a one night stand, but everything after that was an almost torturous slow burn, and I loved it! I honestly feel like every book I read by Karina Halle is better and different than her last. Whether she's writing a darker style book, or something contemporary and lighter, she manages to infuse this gravitas that resonates with me and I think with readers everywhere. I can't wait to see how she surprises me with her next book.
About the Author
*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley and I've also purchased a paperback copy. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for them in any manner.*