Author: Angie McKeon
Series: Against #1
Release Date: April 4, 2014
Genre: New Adult
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
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Purchase: Amazon UK
Purchase: Amazon CA
Purchase: Amazon AU
Our lives shattered... Our hearts broken... Our souls torn to pieces...
He was my world, my whole life. My reason for breathing. I had a perfect marriage, a baby on the way, and I felt fulfilled—almost invincible.
Until the day life hit, leaving me broken, vulnerable, and alone.
She was my life. My ray of hope on the cloudiest day. With her, I thought I had the ultimate safety. A love that would never hurt or betray me. I gave her my heart, my body, and my soul.
Until she broke me, destroying every dream and illusion I had about life, love, and marriage.
In our grief, we made a mistake. A mistake I'm not sure we can come back from.
“Look at me, Kylie,” he says.
If I look at him, I’ll die. My heart will crumble, and I won’t make it out of his office. I can’t do it. The pain is unbearable. When I leave here, he’s with her. The thought of him with her, while I’m pining away for him makes me sick.
It destroys me.
“Please, Ky. I need you to look at me. Don’t do this. Don’t play fucking games with me. I need you to look at me now.”
Just do it. Suck it up.
I turn around and look at him with tears in my eyes and distress smeared across my features like paint on a canvas. My body seeps anguish I can’t hide. I can never hide my heart. My feelings are always written on every seam of my face, every angle of my form. My distress penetrates the air around me, pulling him into my suffering, entangling and entrapping him within the storm that rages in me. I’m broken without him and I’ve been without him for so long that I’ve lost pieces of myself along the way. The jar that holds the last of my heart is about to shatter until nothing is left but shards of the woman I used to be.
“I can’t take this anymore,” I whisper, my voice broken. “We need to talk about us over dinner.”
I can’t give a voice to my thoughts. If nothing changes between now and then, our marriage can’t go on. He’s killing me, and I’m killing him. Together, we’re a car wreck heading straight for a cliff. A cliff that spans a mountain. We are on our way to certain emotional death and this ride’s something I don’t want to be a part of anymore. I want off.
His eyes pierce mine, and I know he knows what I’m thinking. He looks stunned, and for a split second, I see fear. Cold, fucking fear. He sees everything I need him to see and more. I hope he gets it. I hope he understands that this might be the end of our road. We need to have something to work for, or we have nothing. I love him, but this love hurts. It hurts in a way I would’ve never dreamed it could.
There’s nothing we can do. This is the end of a shattered dream. Our spirits are slowly dying, and I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to heal.
I’ve been putting this review off for days now; not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I had so MUCH to say! I can say with 100% honesty that never has a book not only emotionally made me feel every moment, but I physically felt every emotion. And when I say every, I mean from the first word, on the first page, until the very last word of the book. I was blown away by the depth this debut author pulled from her characters, and until the last sentence was read, I wasn’t sure how it would end. So much so, that I was inventing even worse things she could have put the characters through, because at that point, I had been put through the wringer so harshly, I just expected it. Now before you think I am complaining, let me set the record straight: I am a self-professed angst whore, loud and proud. Against All Odds left that side of me sated like no other before it.
I haven’t just missed him. I’ve been dying, reaching out for my missing half, the key to my existence.
There were no training wheels when it came to reading this book; McKeon hits the ground running. Since it’s the catalyst for which the rest of the book is recovering from, and you find out on the first page, I feel comfortable divulging this information. Our main couple, reeling from the loss of a stillbirth child, has lost each other. The basis of which this book is based upon is what happens in the aftermath and how their actions affect not only each other, but all those around them. Most of their journey is how they are dealing with the grief, and while neither chose a very healthy way, who are we to judge what is right or wrong? The truth of the matter is there IS no right or wrong way to deal with loss. Everyone deals with grief differently, and to pass judgment on others when they make different choices that you believe you would is completely arrogant. I truly believe that until you are in that same position yourself, you can’t say WHAT you would do, and even then, again, everyone deals differently. What works for one doesn’t always work for another.
I know in this moment that we’re fucked. Our lives are fucked. We’re too tortured to face these problems. Our hearts aren’t just broken-they’re shattered, the splintered pieces never to be whole again.
All of this is a lead up to what I believe will be the biggest topic that may turn some readers off of this book, before they even give it a chance. And if my review does nothing else, let it assure you that what you are hearing or what you are reading isn’t necessarily the truth. This book rides a fine gray line, and if you give it a shot, you will truly be amazed. As I’ve stated before, there simply doesn’t exist a topic I won’t read about. I can separate myself away enough from the story to get that it’s JUST fiction, all while understanding what the characters are going through. Not reading about the tough stuff won’t make it go away, and I would rather be informed that live with my head in the sand. I need books that are going to spark strong emotions and reactions and fluff just doesn’t cut it. I want authors who push the boundaries. Not glorifying the tough stuff per se, but bringing to light that it does in fact occur. McKeon does this flawlessly and with grace, bringing me to my knees at every turn.
“You’re going to hand me every piece of your body and soul, and I’m going to do the same. It won’t be today, because we have a lot of work to do. It won’t be tomorrow, but I swear to God, I’m going to earn every part of who you are. I will claim you.”
There is no right or wrong party in this book. Both Cooper and Kylie are at fault for the breakdown of communication, and both are at fault for what results from it. One thing this book taught me though is that sometimes you have to experience the horrible times in life in order to truly appreciate the good ones. For if you have no comparison, how can you truly ever know? And sometimes, after visiting the pits of Hell, if you learn from your mistakes, life throws you a second chance. You may think you know how you would handle something, but until you are faced with it, you can’t really know. I think Cooper and Kylie were faced with something no parent should ever have to experience, and they let it destroy them. Throughout it all though, there was still love, and that made all the difference.
We’re working hard on our marriage and on ourselves, and if two people work and want better, they can have it.
I won’t say whether or not they were able to work through their differences, but honestly, it wasn’t about the ending. What was truly important with this story was the journey. Each character had to come to some hard realizations about themselves and their relationship, and there was quite a bit of destruction in their wake. I still, now five days later, think of this story and become weepy. I would highly recommend this, and have, to everyone I know. This story should be experienced, and once you turn the first page, you can’t help BUT do that. I can’t wait to see what McKeon gives us next!
Words…Words are powerful things. They can be damning or beautiful to a human spirit. The can lift a person to heights they never believed possible or send them crashing to the ground in a heartbeat. Words can destroy or heal.