Ella used to be a rule-breaker with fiery attitude who wore her heart on her sleeve. But she left everything behind when she went to college and transformed into someone that follows the rules, keeps everything together, and hides all her problems. But now it’s summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home.
Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. If Micha tries to tempt the old her back, she knows that it will be hard to resist.
Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to bring his best friend, and the girl he loves back, no matter what it takes.
“There’s a darkness inside my chest, like the devil hidden inside me is about to make a grand appearance.”
This is the story of two young people, Micha and Ella, inseparable since childhood, daredevils at heart, ‘soul mates’ from the get go. One tragic event in Ella’s life changes everything – she loses herself in her pain, drowning in guilt and regret, and she does the only thing she can think of before her mind shatters completely – she runs away. She runs away from everything and everyone she knows. She leaves the sad and guilt-ridden little girl behind to become a ‘new’ Ella that doesn’t allow her emotions to rule her life. She can’t fix the pain inside her chest but she can silence the screaming voice inside her head by re-inventing herself and regaining the control that she so desperately clings to. But Ella also ends up leaving behind the one person she loves the most in her life, the only person that knows even the deepest corners of her broken soul and loves her all the same – Micha.
“Micha saw too much of me and it scared me too much to let him in all the way.”
Micha is the proverbial bad boy – a road-racer, a musician, tattoos and piercing and all. But his tough guy appearance is just a façade. He is an incredibly sensitive and caring young man, a loyal friend, a responsible and loving son, a patient and selfless boyfriend. Micha and Ella’s friendship gradually blossoms into deep romantic feelings for each other, but while Micha embraces them wholeheartedly, Ella fights them with all she’s got, struggling to admit to herself that she is in love with her best friend.
“I want Micha so bad it physically hurts sometimes. But if it hurts to want him this much, then how bad would it be to lose him?”
Theirs is a story of friends becoming lovers, of allowing love into your heart even when feelings are the last thing you want to allow under your defensive cape. There is no way of fighting those feelings, especially ones that are so solidly founded on friendship and loyalty to each other. There is nothing Ella and Micha wouldn’t do for one another – they are each other’s anchor in a life that has been everything but kind to them.
Once their friendship naturally evolves into romance, they tackle their relationship gently, never hastily or forcefully. They give each other time, space, support, they allow one another to find their footing and draw strength from their bond rather than let themselves be consumed by compulsion and chemistry. I particularly admired them for not just giving in to their desire to be together all the time, but instead continuing to pursue their own dreams as well, using their love as a source of courage and support, driving them forward and letting them take chances in their lives.
By giving us alternating points of view, the author has made sure that we get to know both characters equally. We get to bond with each of them, loving them for such different reasons. We love Ella because she is a broken soul who is so scared of losing control and becoming like her mother that she was willing to give up on the greatest happiness that she had ever known in her life. We feel protective towards her, we want her safe, to shield her, … to give her Micha.
“The kiss … was an earthshattering kiss, one that stole breaths, stopped hearts, and scared the sh*t out of me because it surfaced feelings I’d never felt before, ones that rendered me helpless.”
Micha is an absolute dream. Ella is drawn to him because he is familiar, he is comforting, he gets her. He loves any and all versions of her, whether she decides to be a foul-mouthed eyeliner-wearing Goth, or a pastel-adoring cheerleader-type. His love for her left me gushing, sighing, drooling …
“You can’t just change who you are in the outside and expect it to change who you are on the inside.”
This is the story of a truly selfless love. Micha and Ella don’t suffocate each other with selfish demands, ultimatums or by manipulating each other’s feelings. Their friendship has made sure that they trust each other implicitly, always cheering each other on in everything they do. This book carries for me such a positive message amongst a myriad of similar stories where we are conditioned to equate over-possessiveness and jealousy with true affection, where mind-games are seen as endearing and where controlling one’s partner is considered sexy. I was drawn to the story from the very first page. These characters captured my heart, gave me a constant but gentle fluttering in my chest, making me feel what they were feeling and leaving me hungry for more of their story.
The next book in The Secret series, The Forever of Ella and Micha, will be released on 22 October 2013, and the third book, The Temptation of Lila and Ethan, hopefully shortly after that. I. Cannot. Wait.