“From the moment we’d met, he’d dragged me into the deep, swearing to me he was in there with me. It was a lie. He’d waded back out to the shallows and left me to drown”
First off, I want to thank Samantha Young, not for providing me this ARC (because that’s just the icing on the cake) but rather for being such an incredibly awesome writer! Honestly, if I thought this woman could write, her foray into the New Adult world blew my expectations out of the water! So now, without further ado, I’ll try and assemble my thoughts into some semblance of a review, because honestly, all I feel like doing is gushing.
This book starts off with Charley Redford, a seemingly normal college girl whose recently moved to Edinburgh, Scotland with her best friend, Claudia, to spend the year studying abroad. As part of them trying to integrate themselves into their new environment, they attend a party a new friend, Beck, invites them to. Not even a few minutes into the party Charley sees him – Jacob Caplin – her ex-boyfriend and the one person Charley never prepared herself to see again, lest a whole continent away from where they first met. From the get-go, just from reading through all the emotions Charley experiences from catching Jake's gaze randomly at a party, I was left breathless. It’s clear to the reader (and to everyone else around her) that not only is Charley not over her ex, but whatever happened between them clearly shattered this girl. And so the story begins.
For the most part, though the story is all told from Charley’s perspective in present time, about three quarters of the book also includes alternating chapters that detail Charley and Jake’s relationship four years prior in Indiana. To be honest, I’m not a fan of retrospective in books…ever. I feel they have the potential to drag down a story, making them slower to get through (and even tedious). With that said, I can’t imagine Samantha Young telling this story any other way. Some of my favorites scenes in this book were from the retrospects! Not only did those chapters add a nice reprieve from all the heavy feelings and confusion that muddled Jake and Charley’s current situation, they also gave the reader a valuable insight into what a great couple these two were …which honestly left me even more confused as to what had happened to them. Wanting to find out the why then, not only had me ripping through the pages, it also made it clear that nothing was completely black and white where these two were concerned. Without spoiling anything, I knew a love like Jake and Charley shared couldn't have shattered so easily, but that doesn't mean they didn't have serious issues to work through. At the end of it, I was glad to see these two could finally find peace. “I don’t know.” Jake’s expression grew serious. “Is it possible to move on from a girl like you?”
I laughed softly. “Nice line”
Jake smiled, running a hand through his messy dark hair. “I’m not sure that was a line.”
I really enjoyed Charley’s character. When the book starts out, she’s funny and smart, and always armed with wickedly funny comebacks that earn her the name of “smartass.” It’s not until I read the flashbacks that I got a sense of how much her heartbreak changed her. Present day Charley is a lot more cynical and insecure than her younger-self, and with good reason. The love of her life rejected her and appears to be moving on seamlessly. Still, I felt she acted pretty mature given her circumstance. I liked how she wasn't afraid to call Jake on his bull while at the same time trying to stay empathetic to his side of the situation. His chest rumbled underneath my cheek as he chuckled. “I’m here because you crack me up. You never bore me. You surprise me. That’s why. Not because you made me work for it."
Jake Caplin. What can I say. From the moment he came on scene, with a girlfriend no less (who I’m sad to say shared my namesake), I wanted to hate him. The gall he had, coming to a place he knew Charley would be at, and all the while appearing to be fine, was more than enough reason for me not like him. But seeing him through Charley’s eyes both in present and past, I couldn't help but also fall for Jake’s charm. Like I said earlier, nothing’s quite black and white with these two. Though Charley doesn't want to see it, it’s obvious to the reader that Jake’s not completely over everything and still has feelings for her. Watching them wade through their feelings was a combination of funny, and frustrating and swoon-worthy and just plain heartbreaking at times. Still, at no point did I have any doubts that Jake Caplin was a pretty awesome guy who in youth made some pretty big mistakes. All I can say, is that when you read this (which you need to) give Jake a chance. Samantha Young knows how to write these swoony-alpha males in a way that makes you helpless but to fall for them.
Speaking of characters, I loved about all the side-characters in this book, with the exception of Melissa (which again, was weird). Charley and Jake’s group of friends were hilarious and written in such a way that I felt like I was a part of their dynamic every time they came on scene. Beck, Jake’s best friend, and Claudia, Charley’s best friend, were the best! Not only were they loyal and a good sounding board for their friends, but their sexual chemistry was pretty explosive. I can only hope they get together before either of them strangles the other. Now, though I would love to see Beck and Claudia get resolution (and maybe a story), the only one I’m going to plead for is Lowe. I ADORED LOWE! A friend of Jake, Lowe’s the lead vocalist of the Stolen (a band he and Beck form a part of). Though he flirts with Charley initially, nothing happens, except for him becoming such a good friend to her. I found myself swooning for real whenever he spoke and when I went to check my highlights, half of them were things Lowe had said :D So Samantha Young, please write Lowe a story, because honestly, this guy needs his own HEA!
Though it was a pretty long book, Samantha Young’s writing was seamless and I loved how lyrical it turned at times, especially when describing the breath-taking settings. Except towards the end, the story never dragged and even then, it was more my frustration with the whole Melissa situation. Jake was with Charley first, and while I understand the guilt Charley and Jake feel, they gave Melissa too much power over their happiness. I really hope this doesn't become a recurring issue in the next book
. At the end of the book, we’re told that Jake and Charley’s story will continue in a second installment ([b:Out of the Shallows|18307352|Out of the Shallows (Into the Deep, #2)|Samantha Young|/assets/nocover/60x80.png|25801946]) that comes out next year. Now, though there will be a second book, that doesn't mean this ended with a cliffhanger or badly. Much to the contrary, Jake and Charley got a really nice and happy ending, making it obvious they're at a much better place. That said, after everything they've been through, issues do remain, not only for Jake and Charley, but for side characters, like Beck and Claudia. It'll be fun to see what Samantha Young will do with these characters next. Until then, this is a definite must buy! If you're a fan of New Adult, romance, alpha-males, great friends, and stories about redemption, then this is the read for you!
My Jake & Charley: