Gracie has just finished her freshman year of college in Memphis when she takes a job at a local pizza joint in her home town of McKenzie, Tennessee. She is the epitome of innocence when she meets Noah. Noah is unabashedly handsome, intriguingly reckless and just cocky enough to be sexy. Gracie’s instincts tell her to stay far away from him and based on the stories she hears from her co-workers he leaves broken hearts in his wake. But still, she can’t explain her fascination with him.
Noah puts aside his bad boy ways when what he thought was a summer crush has him unexpectedly falling in love. But soon after Gracie transfers to UT Knoxville to be with Noah, their unexpected love becomes riddled with anger, deceit and humiliation.
Jake, Noah’s former roommate and Gracie’s best friend, can no longer be a bystander. Gracie’s world falls out from beneath her and when she breaks she turns to Jake for strength. As Jake talks her through a decision she’s not yet strong enough to make, together they uncover a truth so ugly neither of them is prepared for its fallout. Will Jake pull her to the surface or is Gracie Jordan finally In Too Deep?
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
For this to be a debut novel just absolutely amazed me. I was completely captivated and blown away. Michelle Kemper Brownlow has written one hell of a book and I am seriously in LOVE. Look out folks because I am telling you, this one will be moving up, up, up until it reaches the top. And if it doesn’t, I will be utterly speechless…and a little pissed off. As for my review, bear with me because I am not even sure I have the mindset or words to do In Too Deep justice. But I will give it a shot…here we go!!
Let’s start with Gracie.
I fell in love with Gracie from the very first page of this book-From those very first lines she speaks. She is broken…my GOD is this poor girl broken. And when I say broken, I mean like shattered. Millions and millions of pieces scattered all around her and most of those pieces lie at the feet of Noah.
Noah and Gracie have been dating for a while. Well, I would call it more like Noah has been controlling Gracie for a while and constantly treating her like the mud at the bottom of a river but you know, that’s just Noah. And honestly, that’s just Gracie. Gracie is the definition of what a lot of readers like to call “spineless doormats”. You know…those girls that let a guy walk over them, never stand up for themselves, never think they’re good enough, and always take it…no matter how hard it gets. But you can’t really look at it like ‘well if she’s dumb enough to stick around then she deserves it’…you have to realize that when you are young, and you think you are in love to the point that you see your future with someone, you become blind in a way. Blind to what is really going on, blind to the things he is saying and doing, blind to what you’re friends are telling you is really happening. But I think everyone has a breaking point. And throughout the entire book, I was on the edge of my seat wondering when the hell Gracie was finally going to break.
Lucky for Gracie she had some amazing friends that stuck by her side 100%. Her roommate Stacy, and her two best ‘guy-friends’ that live upstairs, Sam and Jake are what kept Gracie going. Honestly, if it weren’t for them, and I mean ALL of them, I don’t think Gracie would have been able to keep afloat. They were her harbor, her vessel and I loved each and every one of them for taking care of Gracie the way they did. She needed it. Even though at times it was a lot of tough love, she survived the train wreck otherwise known as Noah.
I cringed throughout In Too Deep thinking to myself, “come on Gracie…really? WAKE UP, ALREADY”. Noah did one hell of a number on Gracie and there were times that I really thought that Noah was really going to be her forever…and I say that with the most disgustingly bitter taste in my life. Noah is a narcissistic asshole…and that’s putting it nicely. I guess I should say what I liked about Noah because that’s an easy one….NOTHING! I wanted to grab ahold of those little things between his legs that we like to ‘balls’ and squeeze until he either threw up, or passed out. Let me guess, you’re probably thinking “Wow, Brooke. A little harsh aren’t we?”. Well my little book bitches, hop right on into In Too Deep and tell me how you feel about Noah. Then come see me so we can work out a master plan on how to torture him. I will even let you go first….promise 🙂
Okay so onto Jake…*sigh*…Jake, oh, Jake.
“I could honestly say he saved my life, and there were times I feared if I closed my eyes for too long, he would disappear. He really was too good to be true.” ~Gracie
Jake and Gracie have developed a very close friendship. They rely on each other a lot and Gracie leans on Jake in a way that some might consider unhealthy. Especially considering Gracie is dating Noah and Jake has a girlfriend (Jessica). Earlier when I said that Gracie’s friends kept her going…well Jake is at the top when it comes to that. Jake, in my opinion, is Gracie’s saving grace (well that was corny, huh? HA!). I don’t think there was anything that he wouldn’t do for his Gracie-girl. But seriously, if Jake weren’t such an important person is Gracie’s life well…I can’t even go there. I just can’t. Jake and Gracie’s big thing is taking naps together. And while yes, that might be crossing the line considering that they are both in relationships, it just fit them.
“You don’t have to love me back. I will take you however I can have you. Just having you in my life is a blessing to me.” ~Jake
In Too Deep is one of those books for me that I just want to tell everyone about. I want to just start babbling and babbling and ruin it for everyone. I just have SO much to say about it that I literally can’t contain it. So if any of you are spoiler whores like me and want to know
it before reading it, (and yes, that is the deal, if I am going to spoil it for you, you still MUST read it), then hit me up. I just want to talk to SOMEONE about it…anyone!!! PLEASE! But, you all know me, “no spoiler reviews” and all that. So I am thinking this might be a good place to stop. I am hoping that by everything above you can tell how much I loved this book. Most people don’t like the weak and spineless women, but honestly, I love them. Especially when you get to see them finally have their epiphany and ever so slowly, start picking all those pieces that trail behind them and putting them back together one, by one, by one. And when you aren’t having to put those pieces back together alone, it’s something pretty amazing. You’ll see.
“Through all of this, you have helped me start to remember who I once was. It’s like you’re helping me put the pieces back together even if some of those pieces are hideous.” ~Gracie
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Michelle Kemper Brownlow has been a storyteller her entire life. Her debut was on the high school cheerleading bus granting requests to re-tell her most embarrassing moments for a gaggle of hysterical squadmates.
Earning her Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in Art Education and then marrying her very own “Jake,” she moved to Binghamton, NY where she taught high school. After having two children she quit work and finished her Master’s degree in Elementary Education at Binghamton University.
The Brownlow family of four moved to Michelle’s hometown of Morgantown, PA while the children were still quite young. A few years after moving, her family grew by one when they welcomed a baby into their home through the gift of adoption. The family still resides in PA, just miles from where that high school cheer bus was parked.
Michelle has been an artist for as long as she can remember, always choosing pencils and crayons over toys and puzzles. As a freelance illustrator, her simple characters play the starring roles in numerous emergent reader books published by Reading Reading Books.
“Writing is my way of making sense of the world. When I give my characters life on the pages I write, it frees up space in my mind to welcome in new stories that are begging to be told,” says Brownlow