The truth will set them free…
Brayelle Bates has always been a force of nature. Even as a child, Bray’s wild and carefree spirit intimidated everyone around her. The only person who’s ever truly understood her is her best friend, Elias Kline. Though every fiber of her being wants to stay with Elias forever, Bray can’t bear the thought of him discovering her agonizing history. She’s done everything she can to keep him at arm’s length, including moving away. But their undying bond was too strong a pull to deny, and Bray couldn’t survive without him. Now she’s back home with Elias, and things have never felt more right-until one fateful night changes everything.
Elias vowed never to be separated from Bray again. So when she decides to flee in a desperate attempt to escape her destiny, Elias knows he must go with her. As the two try to make the most of their circumstance, taking up with a reckless group of new friends, Elias soon realizes there’s a darkness driving Bray he can’t ignore. Now in order to save her, he’ll have to convince Bray to accept the consequences of their reality–even if it means losing her.
“… love isn’t always roses and rainbows and butterflies in your stomach. It’s equally cruel and painful and the world’s worst villain.”
I genuinely believe that our lives, our past and present experiences determine our enjoyment of most of the stories we read, each book gently touching our memories like the keys of a piano, and merging them into the grand symphony of its storyline. But each reader’s life will compose a different melody, each book thus finding a ‘different home’ in every one of its readers. While this particular story, as outstanding as it is, might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I don’t think there has ever been another book that has hit so close to home for me and made me understand the characters as well as this one. This is not just a truly stunning love story, albeit somewhat untraditional, but it is also an extremely vivid account of a woman’s silent battle with mental illness and its dire effects on the only emotional bond she has managed to form and sustain in her life. I found myself stopping several times throughout this book, taking long moments to reflect on the memories from my own lifetime that were being recalled, making this story a heart-wrenchingly evocative experience for me cover to cover.
“What I want is to be with you. That’s what I want. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.”
Bray and Elias have been best friends since they were young, their every happy childhood memory being a shared one. Over time, their deep love for each other has blurred every friendship line that has ever existed between them, their gradual transition from friends to lovers later on in life being natural and inevitable. But while their connection has always remained strong, Bray’s reluctance to embrace the new nature of their relationship eventually tears them apart and takes their lives in different directions, breaking both their hearts in the process.
“… if you were ever going to scare me away or make me think badly of you, would I have made you the center of my world for seventeen years?”
Four years later, Bray returns to the only home she has ever known, to the only man she has ever loved, but the girl that returns is not the same girl that left four years before, an inner turmoil constantly haunting her like a fog that never lifts. It has taken them seventeen years to become the couple they were destined to become from the moment they met as kids, but it takes one fated mistake, one huge lapse in judgement to change their lives forever and for them to find themselves on the run. With no destination in mind or set plan to follow, they drift aimlessly from place to place, trying to escape the consequences of their actions by embracing care-free happiness, only to find more trouble along the way.
“I’m not going to lose you. It’s you and me, it always has been. It always will be.”
While the majority of this story is comprised of their life on the road and the many experiences that test every aspect of their relationship and their resolve to keep running, the focal point of this story from beginning to end is the deep connection between these two characters. By hearing both their voices, we become intimately acquainted with their every thought, every fear, every hope. We see how unhealthily co-dependent they slowly become as we are given the very unique opportunity of witnessing the effects of Bray’s psychological disorder on both of them individually, as well as a couple.
“I can love a lot of people… But I could never love anyone the way I love you.”
Bray is a heroine whose every imperfection and vulnerability made me love her even more. Having lived all her young life with this secret and very taboo inner struggle, internalizing rather than asking for help, she has retreated psychologically from the world and the people around her, except from Elias. Bray has always felt free to be herself with him, even though she has kept the darkness that lives inside her hidden even from him, afraid it would drive him away from her, just as it had done with every other person who was meant to love her unconditionally. This book explores the fine line between being someone’s lifeline and being their enabler, the difference between helping someone heal and being their crutch in life.
“I love you, Bray… I love you more than you will ever know.”
“How is that?”
“Because I would do anything for you… You just don’t realize yet what ‘anything’ truly means.”
“I love you, too, Elias. More than you could possibly ever know.”
“How is that?”
“Because I’d never ask you to prove your ‘anything’.”
If you have ever been touched by the dark tentacles of a person’s mental illness, regardless of its severity, if you have ever watched a loved one struggle with the debilitating effects of a condition they are ashamed of and have no control over, their desperation to be or feel ‘normal’, then you will see the beauty of this story in all its glory. This is a story of hope. Devotion. Sacrifice. And love in one of its purest and most unwavering forms. Flawlessly and compellingly written, this is a story that made me live every page, every emotion, every unconventional facet of this truly epic romance.
“There’s nothing you could do or say to make me leave you.”
✤ ✤ ✤
The Edge of Never – Reading Order and Purchase Links
The Edge of Never: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
The Edge of Always: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
Song of the Fireflies (spin-off): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
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J.A. Redmerski, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Edge of Never lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children and a Maltese.
She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.