Bully and victim.
Tormenter and tormented.
Villain and hero.
Ellie Mccallum was the bully. The Tormenter. The Villain. Taking what she wanted, stomping over anyone that got in her way. Feelings, futures, and relationships be damned. She felt no emotional 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.
Growing up, Flynn Hendrick was known only as “Freaky Flynn.” He 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 farther you try to run from yourself the closer you come to who you really are.
**ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**
~~ 5 Extremely Emotional Stars ~~
I truly don’t even know where to begin…..this book was phenomenal!!!! I was so excited to read this book because I loved the author’s other Series….Finding You in the Dark. She has such a gift at creating these tortured and broken heroes that just melt your heart. She also has a special gift of creating a story that portrays the not so pretty side of tough subjects. This one was one of those stories. This story actually hit pretty close to home for me, as a parent of a special needs child. This story has always been my biggest nightmare when it came to sending my child to school. I thought the author gave an accurate portrayal of this type of scenario. I have to say that the author was completely accurate in the prologue of this book, when she said that you will hate the heroine and you will love the hero. Those were my feelings exactly…at the beginning. I have to say though as things changed and the story evolved so did my feelings for the heroine. I can’t say that I loved her by the end but I understood her better and was happy to see things turn in the right direction for her. This book was a roller coaster of emotions. I felt severe anger (to the point of damaging my kindle), sadness, hurt, and even unconditional love. This book is told mostly from Ellie’s POV but we do get some of Flynn’s POV as flashbacks to the past (Those were the hardest to read 😦 ) This book is stocked full with so much emotion, you will actually need time to process it in the end.
” Some people came into your life and they changed it completely and then they slipped out of it again before you could grab ahold of them. And their presence motivates you and strengthens you and devastates you all at the same time.”…. Ellie
I don’t even know how to describe my feelings for Ellie. I had and even still have a lot of anger towards her, but I was glad to see that she was putting forth an effort to change who she was. Ellie was brought up in the foster care system and in turn had turned into a horrible person. Some of that is because of the people she associated with. I did feel bad for the upbringing Ellie had to endure but I believe everyone makes the choices that they make and need to own up to the mistakes that they make along the way. Both Ellie and Flynn were both town outcasts….each for different reasons, but still shunned by people none the less. This in a weird way formed a bond between them that no one could come between. Now I know what you’re thinking….how can that be true, but once you read this story you will understand what I mean. I don’t want to say much about the storyline of this book because I believe this is one of those stories that you need to go into blind to actually feel all the raw emotion of this book. As for Flynn…..the author was correct….I LOVED him!!!! and not for the normal swoony reasons that you love the hero of a book. Flynn was so much more than that. You will need to read this book to understand what I am saying.
Ellie and Flynn are the primary focus of this book, but we do meet some unsavory characters along the way. All of them friends of Ellie. I really didn’t like any of them enough to mention them by name. I will say that Ellie supposed BFF might actually have seen the light by the end of the book, but I hated her so much by then that I really didn’t care what happened to her. What happens to her in the end was a very sad situation but not one she didn’t bring on herself and for that I really can’t feel bad for her.
I LOVED the epilogue in this book….it leaves me hope thinking that there might be more to Flynn and Ellie’s story. I would love to read more about them. (No don’t worry there isn’t a cliffhanger)
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for that different kind of love story that is full of raw emotion!!!! If you are a fan of A. Meredith Walters then you DON’T want to miss this book!!!!!!
I had a running play list while I was writing Reclaiming the Sand:
You’re Not Alone- Saosin: Such a perfect song for Ellie and Flynn
Nicest Thing-Kate Nash- Ellie’s thoughts about Flynn as they start to fall in love
Don’t Deserve You-Plumb: Ellie’s song for Flynn
Watch Me Bleed-Scary Kids Scaring Kids- This is a really morbid song but it reminded me so much of Flynn and what he could have been feeling and thinking when he and Ellie were friends in high school
My Heart-The Perishers: This is such a beautiful song and reminded me so much of Ellie and Flynn
Wait-Whitfield: Another great Flynn and Ellie song
All of You- Angus & Julia Stone: The lyrics of this song are so poignant and I felt this described Ellie and her struggle with loving Flynn so perfectly
Our Story- Graham Colton: This song just sort of encapsulates Ellie and Flynn’s journey. A perfect song for them
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary and Paranormal romance including The Find You in the Dark and Bad Rep series as well as the upcoming stand alone romance, Reclaiming the Sand, and a dark new adult series for Gallery Books.
A. Meredith spent ten years as a counselor for at risk teens and children. First working at a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program and then later a program for children with severe emotional and mental health issues. Her former clients and their stories continue to influence every aspect of her writing.
When not writing (or being tortured with all manner of beauty products at the hand of her very imaginative and extremely girly daughter), she is eating chocolate, watching reality television that could rot your brain and reading a smutty novel or two.
A. Meredith is represented by Michelle Johnson with the Inklings Literary Agency.