True Believers #3
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an eARC from the publisher (Penguin Group) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #CleanSweep, #ShelfLove
Robin used to be a party girl... until she got black out drunk and woke up in bed with her best friend's boyfriend. Now she's faced with being THAT girl, and couldn't be more disgusted with herself. She can't even tell her friends the reason for her sudden sobriety and she avoids everyone until she meets Phoenix--quiet, tattooed, and different in every way that's good and oh, so bad...
Phoenix is two days out of jail when he meets Robin at his cousin's house, and he knows that he has no business talking to her, but he's drawn to her quiet demeanor, sweet smile, and artistic talent. She doesn't care that he's done time, or that he only have five bucks to his name, and she supports his goal to be a tattoo artist.
But Phoenix knows Robin has a secret, and that it's a naive dream to believe that his record won't catch up with them at some point. Though neither is prepared for the explosive result when the past collides with the present...
Believe was a nice addition to this series. McCarthy took on some heavy but relevant NA topics and even though things were tied up a little too neatly, I still enjoyed Robin and Phoenix's story.
Robin has been an integral part of Kylie's, Rory's, and Jessica's college lives. She's always been one to happily join in the party, particularly once the vodka started flowing. But one incident at the beginning of summer, one she doesn't even remember, has her withdrawn from everyone and everything she cared about and taking a long, hard look at herself.
Phoenix arrived on the scene after doing a brief stint in jail. He's cousins with Riley and Tyler and the boys and he's well versed in the life as a child of an addict. He has an issue of his own - anger - but he mostly keeps it under control.
When Robin and Phoenix meet, they're both feeling a bit embarrassed and ashamed. They both quickly realize though that there's something they're drawn to about the other. The more time they spend together, the stronger that pull becomes.
What I most enjoyed about Robin's and Phoenix's relationship was how as it developed, they each saw flaws in themselves and strove the repair them, on their own, rather than wanting the other to provide the fix. They wanted to be strong for each other but more than that, they wanted to be supportive of the other making themselves stronger. This became very important once the incident that Robin had been living with came to light.
My issue with Believe was that everything seemed to resolve itself so simply. The resolutions felt realistic but I think it would have taken more time for Robin and Phoenix to get there. For example, I didn't feel like a few minutes in the shower served as enough introspection to come to a momentous conclusion. Despite that, Believe was a moving read. McCarthy has a style that is inherently readable. I love a story with a journey and Robin and Phoenix are definitely on a journey - of self-discovery and forgiveness as well as a journey of falling in love.
I did enjoy getting to spend time with Riley and Jessica, and Tyler and Rory, as well as Jayden and Easton. Since they're all so intertwined into each others' lives, I'd have missed them if they were absent. It's going to be interesting see what the final book, Shatter, is like with the fallout over events in Believe. But I'm diving in right now.