Between Everything and Us by Rebecca Paula
Series: Sutton College #1
Published: January 20th, 2015
271 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Acquired this book: From the author in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
Matisse Evans is determined to make her sophomore year of college successful after failing out of a prestigious art school and spending a horribly boring gap year at home. Despite her focus, time isn't on her side as she struggles to hold down three jobs so she can afford her first apartment while juggling course work. In the chaos of it all, Beau Grady moves in and shakes up her world. A college dropout and tattooed bad boy, the rumors about Beau mean one thing for Matisse—trouble. Paralyzed by the fear that she's missing out on life, Matisse discovers plans may unravel, but what rises in their wake can be worth the uncertainty.
After spending the summer couch surfing, Beau Grady moves into an empty room at his ex-girlfriend’s Portland bungalow, skipping his senior year of college to spend his days working at a Vietnamese food cart instead. Once a star hockey player and gifted student, he’s put his life on hold after receiving a life-altering diagnosis, complacent to live in the moment. Hiding behind false rumors and bad habits, Beau falls for Matisse, letting her believe the worst until their relationship blooms into something they both can’t ignore. Falling for her means having to face a future he’d rather forget, but loving her just might be worth it.
After reading Rebecca Paula’s debut novel, Everly After, and seeing some of her tweets while writing Between Everything and Us, there’s one thing I’ve come to expect from her books: things don’t come easy. There will be times when you want to smack the characters, knock their heads together, or yell at them to pull their heads out of their asses. But there will also be a lot of emotion, swooning, character growth, and moments so beautiful they take your breath away. It’s the rough moments that make Rebecca Paula’s stories and her characters realistic (often painfully so). The characters are flawed, they make mistakes, they do and say stupid things, but it’s all so authentic, you can’t help but get invested and root for them. The characters could be you or your best friend or a family member - that’s how real they are.
I enjoyed watching Mati and Beau learn and grow together and separately. They both had set ideas about how their lives were going to be because of their circumstances, and neither of them was happy about their prospects for the future. They did what people expected of them, and were sometimes content to let people think the worst of them if it meant they didn’t have to deal with tough decisions. There were parts of the book that were really painful to read, either because they broke my heart, or because they got me so riled up I wanted to scream. Despite that, I appreciated the characters’ growth and that they both found ways to be happy and do what was right for them.
Between Everything and Us is an emotional coming of age story. While it had its fair share of angst, there was also a nice mix of humour, sexiness, and sweetness. I’m eager to see what Rebecca Paula writes next!
"Good days are a special kind of magic, but even they can’t fight against the bad ones that come swooping in to ruin everything."
~ Between Everything and Us ARC @ 85%
Have you read Between Everything and Us? Or Everly After? What did you think? If you haven't read them, do you plan to? Let's talk here or on Twitter!