Sunday, April 27, 2014

Book Review of I Found You by Jane Lark

Tomorrow is for regrets. Tonight is for being together. 
On a cold winter night, Rachel and Jason’s lives collide on Manhattan Bridge. She’s running from life, he’s running toward it. But compassion urges him to help her. 
His offer of a place to stay leads to friendship and trouble. There’s his fiancée back home in Oregon and a family who just don’t trust this girl from the wrong side of the tracks. 
But when the connection between them is so electric, so right… everyone else must be wrong. And as the snow begins to settle on the Hudson, there’s nothing but the possibility of what could be – of this, right here, right now. Them.


As a fan of the New Adult genre I'm always looking for stories that are emotionally engaging and that stick with me long after the final page is turned.  With I Found You I got exactly that and more as this story pulled at my heartstrings and put me through the emotional wringer as I was rooting for a HEA for these two very deserving characters.  After their unconventional meeting these friends to lovers realize that their differences are what make them whole and that being together is worth the fight in this story that leaves you drained but satisfied in the end.

Rachel's at her lowest point as this story starts, tired of being used with no hope and no one to count on.  From an uncaring mother to the men who only want her for her body she feels lost and alone until a stranger shows her more care in a few moments than others have her whole life.  This stranger offers her a chance at a different life, a chance to have a future of her own making, and instead of jumping to her death she jumps to a new life.  Rachel is an admirable heroine, likable, and strong-willed.  Even after everything that's happened to her she still chose life.  With so many people using her in the past she could've used her savior too, but her kindheartedness has her repaying him by being his friend and showing him the wonders of the big city he's now living in.  Their burgeoning romance evolves slowly, with the time taken to get to know each other through the story's dual POVs.  She's a delightful character who earns her HEA after an emotionally draining journey full of twists and turns.

Jason has recently moved to New York to forge his own path, much to his family and fiancée's chagrin.  He feels unsettled though and a bit lost himself in his isolation from all he's known before but knows where he needs to be to have the career he wants.  Running has become a calming influence for him and on one fateful night completely changes his life forever as he saves a woman as lost as him.  Jason is the epitome of heroic!  He's caring, supportive, and so kindhearted as to make me want him to be real!  He gives Rachel a place to stay and hope without asking for anything in return.  Though his family and fiancée think he's stupid and gullible for helping Rachel, he can't help but be drawn to her.  She shows him how to really live and embrace the excitement and energy of the big city.  She gets him to do things he never thought he'd do before, like signing and dancing, and embracing life wholeheartedly.  In essence, she saved him just as he was saving her.  It's this give and take that makes their relationship so satisfying and makes for a truly HEA.

The journey to HEA doesn't go smoothly though as the nastiness and prejudice of his family and fiancée loom large over them, casting doubts through their melodramatic actions.  Lindy is especially unlikable in how bitter she is over Jason's decision to move to New York and his relationship with Rachel.  She was clearly not the woman for him as she never truly listened to him and always got her way despite what he wanted.  Her anger over the situation was more a reflection on being set aside for someone she saw as inferior which made her look petty.  There were other roadblocks along the way, some that surprised me and some I expected and some that were a bit soap opera-ish, that put Jason and Rachel's relationship in doubt but were quickly dealt with which lessened some of the emotional impact.  The best part of this story was the burgeoning romance between these two likable characters and I would've been content just having them deal with one another, getting to know them and their inner thoughts through the alternating POVs.  All the other stuff, particularly the nastiness of his family's small town prejudices, created drama but felt trite and invasive.  Their romance was ultimately sweet yet scorching but always compelling.  From start to finish I was fully invested in their outcomes, both separately and together, and commend Ms. Lark on crafting such a truly deserving couple and look forward to reading more from this talented author.

My rating for this is a B+

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

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