Book Review: Innocents by Mary Elizabeth & Sarah Elizabeth

Dusty #1
Author: Mary Elizabeth, Sarah Elizabeth
Reading Level: New Adult
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Released: July 12th 2014
Review Source: Purchased

The girl with an innocent heart knows all about bad choices, but has yet to make them for herself. Searching for freedom, she finds it in the delinquent down the hall.

The troublemaker with summer-sky blue eyes knows he should stay away, but can’t resist the blissful wonder who makes his house a home.

She’s a hopeless romantic. He’s just hopeless.

She’s his reason, but he might not catch her when she falls.

She loves him. He loves her crazy.

This is what happens when a love made of secrets is kept with rules instead of promises.

I was recently rec’d this book by an author who I respect. Before reading a book I usually read up on reviews from others who have already read it. I have to admit that going into it I was a bit nervous because everyone was saying that it was a heavy plot and it was the type of story that once it was done they couldn’t stop thinking about it. The book I’m referring to is Innocents by Mary Elizabeth, book one of the Dusty Series. Let me tell you, once I started this book I could not put it down. I read until the wee hours of the night, in the car (if I wasn’t driving of course), walking around the house, etc. It just gripped me right from the beginning.

The book is a coming of age story if you will. It follows Leighlee “Bliss” McCloy. She moves to Oregon when she is in elementary school and immediately befriends Rebecka Castor. They are attached at the hip from the very start and remain that way all the way through. Rebecka has a brother, Thomas “Dusty” Castor, who is a year older then the girls. Immediately they all intermingle since they, and all their friends, are so close in age. The story starts with them in elementary school and goes through to high school. As Leighlee and Thomas get older they are draw together and end up having a secret relationship that no one else knows about. They keep it hidden because Leighlee spends a lot of time at Rebecka’s house sleeping over and whatnot and if anyone knew her and Thomas were in a relationship she would no longer be allowed to have such free reign at Rebecka’s home. The problem and angst begins as Thomas gets older and begins to have series issues and problems. I won’t get into specifics, but even though we know he truly and madly loves Leighlee, he treats her terribly. Being that she is so young and impressionable she constantly lets him get away with his bad behavior and it is heartbreaking to sit back and witness as a reader. You just want to shake her or hug her and tell her that this isn’t what love is supposed to be like. She isn’t supposed to let herself be treated this way.

I think as girls a lot of us put up with stuff from boys in our adolescents that we would never put up with as adults, but imagine that typical juvenile behavior and multiply it by a thousand in this book between the two of them. Yeah…it’s that bad how he treats her (no…there is no physical violence of anything like that). I have never read a book before where I was so conflicted with really wanting the main two characters to work out and be together, and enjoying their alone time moments together, and to also want this young girl grow a back bone and say enough already and move on. But then there is also the issues with Dusty that you really feel bad for on some level because his parents let him do whatever he wants with no consequences so he has no one to call him out and get him the help he needs. They either don’t notice, or don’t care, that he is drowning.

There is a second book to this series (Delinquent) that I am just about to begin, so this first book was finished open ended and unresolved. I am really hoping there is some happy ending/resolution in the second book but I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m on pins and needles and think it could go either way. I give this book 5 stars! I would give it 10 stars if I could! Definitely read this book. It is a story that stays with you way past when you close the book.

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