We came from a family of writers. Alas, we can't write. So we blog about our love for books instead.
Warning: As this is a combined review, expect some possible spoilers for the first book.
If you've read my reviews in the past, I've mentioned time and again that I do not find long lost childhood romances believable. Well, I take it back. It can work really, really well if done right. These two books are proof of that. I was conflicted if I should do individual reviews for each book but in the end, I decided that the best way for me to review them both is as one.
Leo's and Evie's childhoods were far from happy. They were victims of neglectful and abusive parents. They met in foster care and from there formed a special bond... first as very close friends, and when they got a bit older, as something more. When Leo got adopted at age 15, he made a promise that he would come back for Evie on her 18th birthday and from there they will start their life together. Evie waited for Leo but she never heard from him. And he never came back.
Because of a few flashbacks in the first book, I saw how strong Evie and Leo's bond was. They were each other's light in a very dark and unstable world of being foster children. Through these flashbacks I saw why they loved each other even at a very young age and that's why it was believable for me that those feelings were still strong even after years of separation.
I really liked Evie. She grew up in a harsh and often abusive environment but that didn't stop her from being optimistic and hopeful. She could've let her harsh upbringing ruin her, but eight years later, though her life is simple, she remains positive and happy with what she has accomplished. I understand why people around her are protective of her because she's a genuinely nice person. From the amount of shit she went through, the fact that she stayed optimistic and sweet shows what a strong individual she is.
When Jake stalked into Evie's life with news of Leo's death, she mourned for the boy she lost, but at the same time she couldn't help her attraction for Jake. Subconsciously, Jake reminded her of the boy she lost. I like how Jake never looked down on Evie because of her profession. He was protective but not overly possessive or obsessive. I love their moments together when they are playful yet still very sweet. It was clear from the beginning that Jake was hiding something in connection with Leo and I had my suspicions about what it was, but the author was very good at throwing you in for a loop and making you second guess yourself.
What I really liked about both books is that they managed to connect the dots together flawlessly. There were so many side stories involved here that if not done right, would've been all over the place. The author managed to make sense of everything, even the most unbelievable incidents. When the big revelation in Leo got uncovered I had a 'WTF, that's stupid' moment, but the circumstances involved made the explanation plausible and understandable.
With Leo's Chance, I love how more dots got connected together, even the ones you failed to notice in the first book. From a different perspective, you'll see events that happened in Leo in a whole different light. Both books happen in the same timeline yet they have a different story to tell. Both books are very emotional and dealt with serious social issues but not in a way that sensationalized them.
Leo can be a standalone novel but with Leo's Chance everything just got more air-tight. I recommend reading Leo and Leo's Chance back to back. They are both beautiful stories of first love, second chances, and self-redemption.