Saturday, March 29, 2014

Review: Reclaiming the Sand by A. Meredith Walters

Reclaiming the Sand by A. Meredith Walters
Excerpt

Bully and victim. 
Tormenter and tormented. 
Villain and hero. 

Ellie Mccallum was a bully. No connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable. 

Particularly Freaky Flynn. 

Flynn Hendrick lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger's. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down. 

But then Flynn and Ellie grew up. 

And moved on. 

Until years later when their paths unexpectedly cross again and the bully and the freak are face to face once more. 

When labels come to define you, finding yourself feels impossible. Particularly for two people disconnected from the world who inexplicably find a connection in each other. 

And out of the wreckage of their tragic beginnings, an unlikely love story unfolds. 

But a painful past doesn’t always want to let go. And old wounds are never truly healed…and sometimes the further you try to run from yourself the closer you come to who you really are.

Genre

Contemporary

Review

One of the best books I’ve read this year, which was saying a lot since I already finished 60. The writing, the story, the characters, everything was perfect. Even though the author was pretty cruel for making me cry a bucket of tears, I didn’t blame her one bit and I love every moment in this book, the good, the bad, the ugly. 

Ellie, our heroine along with her bunch of friends were high school bullies. Flynn, the Asperger kid was the target for their torment. Told in alternate POV, present by Ellie and past by Flynn, we heard both their voices in this remarkable stories of these two broken people who hurt each other deeply in ways their couldn’t have fathom.

In present day, Ellie was out from the juvie and working in a dead end job. She was still being friends with Diana, Shane and Stu. They were basically a bunch of white trash who engaged in party, booze, drugs and sex all year long. Even a pregnancy didn’t deter Diana was holding back. Their lifestyle was really sickening and Ellie was trying to distance herself away. She wanted to get legal aid, go to college and remove herself from the deep hole. 

If it’s true that eyes are the windows to your soul, I knew that mine held no possibility for goodness.

It had been six years since she last seen Flynn, the boy who used to be her closest friend. Flynn reappearance in town threw Ellie off guard. She hated him for what he had put her through all these years. But she can’t deny she felt drawn to him and wish to know how his life had become since that faithful day.

You would have thought after all this time the intensity would have faded into non-existence.
But every tangled, ugly, wild emotion was still there. And they slashed me open all over again.


From the flashback to the past, this is where every single of these chapters makes your heart break into little pieces. Flynn was an Aspie kid who was having a hard time in school with all the bullying. We felt his frustration, humiliation and anger to the people around him who treated him with so much cruelty that it makes me cry. Although Ellie was not the leader, she was definitely one of the gang. Flynn genuinely like Ellie and she befriended him in secret. She makes him so happy to finally have a friend. But when she was with her friends, she ignored him and contributed to the torment. It broke his heart to see his own friend betraying him and treating him the same way as others.

“I’m not retarded! I’m not Freaky Flynn!”

In present day, Flynn had move back to town, a place he called home. He is having a successful career as a sculpture artist. But he was very much alone and minding his own business. He never did plan to be meeting Ellie, the girl who broke his heart, again.

Some reviewer said they hated Ellie in the beginning, but I never did. Because in the present, you knew Ellie had changed. Things that happened in the past, is the past. I just wanted to see her treating Flynn right in the present and she did. She befriended him again, stood up for him and regretted all her past mistake. I forgive her, just like Flynn did. 

He sees the beauty where others don’t. He hears love when others only hear pain. He gives me the strength to become the person I’ve been terrified to be.

I think what makes Ellie’s totally redeemable in my eyes was how difficult it is to actually be together with Flynn. I read Rosie Project and Don Tillman was also an Asperger, he was socially awkward in an adorable way, which was so much more tolerable to Flynn’s situation. Flynn can be seen as a rather inconsiderate person who didn’t care about others. He had some anger issue when things didn’t go his way or when he was provoke. Looking at how Ellie tried so hard to be together with him makes me totally forgiven her for every bad things she did previously.

How many times would our destruction history derail the future we were attempting to build? Was it possible for two people who had hurt each other so badly be happy together?

The past and present was interwoven throughout the book and I find it totally balance out the emotion we were feeling. I alternate between crying and smiling all the time. Anyway, I’m a messed by the time I finished it and it feel so good. I only hope that the HEA will be longer and more detailed. I think I might reread it again whenever I felt like I want to cry some happy tears again.

“You make me feel good, Ellie. I make you laugh. We’re happy together. That’s all that matters.”

Rating 5/5

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