A powerful story of two people who spend years denying their scientifically-proven chemistry.
Penny spends her afternoons sitting outside a sandwich shop, surrounded by ghosts. Fourteen years ago, this shop was her childhood dance studio… Now she’s a suburban housewife, dreading the moment her son departs for MIT, leaving her with an impeccably decorated McMansion and a failing marriage. She had her chance at wild, stars-in-her-eyes happiness, but that was a lifetime ago. After The Kiss. Before The Decision.
The Kiss was soulful. Magical. Earth-shattering, And it was all for a free gift card. Asked to participate in a psych study that posed the question, “Can you have sexual chemistry without knowing what the other person looks like?” Penny agreed to be blindfolded, make polite conversation with a total stranger, and kiss him. She never expected The Kiss to change her life forever and introduce her to Gavin: tattooed, gorgeous, and spontaneous enough to ask her out seconds after the blindfolds came off.
For a year, they danced between friendship and romance—until Penny made The Decision that forced them to settle for friendship. Now, fourteen years later, both of their lives are about to radically change—and it’s his turn to decide what will become of their once-in-a-lifetime connection.
by Renee Carlino
I’ll admit, this is my first book by Renee and I’m going to have to put the intensity right up there with my dear, beloved Colleen Hoover. I mean, come on!!! This book gave me heart palpitations with all of the angsty chemistry between the two main characters. So much so, that at times it was hard to read.
The characters themselves got me bad; they were their own worst enemy and for the most part of this book, it frustrated me. Penny is a woman who I feel that most can connect and relate with. She’s a mom who has somehow lost a part of herself in the midst of domestic life. Gavin is lost in his own way, just trying to survive in a life that he’s not sure he wants anymore. He’s lonely and agonizing over what could have and/or should have been.
The plot itself was amazingly well written; as readers we feel everything Penny and Gavin go through. Renee tells both of their POVs through a past and present narrative and with that we get the good, the bad, and the ugly of their relationship. When I say we feel everything what I mean is we feel the chemistry, the passion, the friendship….but we also feel the frustration and pain that goes along with a friendship that deserves to be more. The whole timing of their relationship always felt off; I felt as if there was just so much sitting under this ruse they called friendship. I hated it, I loved it, and I genuinely wanted to scream my heart out. My heart hurt in ways that made my whole body feel as if it were slowly dying; not just for Penny and Gavin but the people left in their wake as well.
Overall, I loved and hated this book. I think that’s the only way I can explain a book such as this. If you want angst, back-in-forth, past and present with everything in between then this is the book for you. Just beware….you will most definitely get your heart ripped out of your body, have it stomped on, and then put back in, healed but with scars.