This was an enchanting story of love, betrayal, and redemption! The author truly did a remarkable job showing the progression of the characters over time and hooking the reader with the real-life situations that I'm sure every reader can relate to. In this story are mini tales of unrequited love, embarrassing relatives, school bullies, and friendships won and lost. The relatability and genuine honesty of Noel Branham's book moved me and made me wish the story was never-ending. It's a rare book that does that.
Susan Combs loves Calder Hurtz. Her best friend since a young girl, she has spent years loving him, all the while hoping her love would one day be returned. Calder is a flirt, constantly having a different girl over each night to do homework, and Susan has started to realize that her place in his life is not what it once was. Determined to move on and get past her love once and for all, she begins to branch out and make new friends. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Susan learns about how powerful love really is, and while she makes mistakes along the way, the treasure awaiting her at the end of it all is worth the great cost.
Susan was a very sweet character, easily endearing me to her from the very beginning. Her father was an invalid, and she was desperately trying to take care of him so that he could live at home rather than in an nursing facility. She was quiet, unassuming, and although she thought of a few people as her friends, her one true friend was the seemingly undeserving Calder Hurtz. I liked Calder for most of the book, although his apparent obliviousness towards Susan's feelings became very frustrating. However, I knew boys like this in high school, and I found a lot of similarities between him and the popular boys I sat in class with. Flirts, all of them, and while not bad people, they caused so much unnecessary drama in their quest to be adored. As I read through the story, I had a feeling where it was going, but the book was very much like life - there were twists and turns and unexpected obstacles, and I very nearly thought it may not end well. Thankfully, the author wrapped it up quite nicely at the end, and I believed in the story she told.
Noel Branham is an amazing storyteller, not just for her general writing ability but also for her creative mind in thinking up so many stories within a story. She created a book that I feel a lot of people, men and women, should read if only to better understand that life does go on, and sometimes what is meant to be will eventually be.
**I received a free copy from the author and this is my honest review.**