Dreams tug, tease, and sometimes retreat into a subtle promise of a different tomorrow. A tomorrow Elio Delacruz never expected. Not after a lifetime of chasing a single goal.
Alongside his closest friends, Elio lives and loves his passion—his art. His existence depends on the whimsical, on the intangible, on the constant motion of a traveling busker.
When a tumultuous shadow from his past forces him to return to the suffocating island of Key West, his every instinct tells him to run. To flee from the scars of his youth.
And then he meets Vianella Manco. She’s only supposed to be a temporary distraction until he can break free of the island. His heart is never supposed to beat for her. And she’s never supposed to wish for anything beyond the easy moments they steal from one another.
But, sometimes, purposes change and the truths you believed turn out to be nothing more than pretty lies.
I received an e-copy from Netgalley for reviewing the book.
Where do I begin with this book?
This is the first book that I’ve read by Yessi Smith, and I am craving for more! I’ve loved a lot of things about this book, and they outweigh the things that I didn’t like. I will start with the things that I didn’t like.
The plot was very…bland. Sure, there was one huge bit of Elio’s parents’ story, which was heartbreaking, and a very impressive element that brought a lot of feels into the story, but that was it. The rest of it was just Elio and Vianella having sex and talking sometimes, and fighting. If there were only a stronger plot, this book would’ve been 5-star read for me.
There were some amazing things in this book. Firstly, the writing.
The writing is melodious, just like the waves as it washes up on the beach. The writing was exciting, like Elio’s art. The writing was brilliant and poetic, like all the characters involved. The writing held us captive like Mallory did. The writing crawled inside our hearts and sat there, refusing to move.
It was marvellous.
Then, the characters. Elio and Vianella (first time I’ve ever heard such names; as unique as the characters) were quite different. I didn’t get their chemistry. I didn’t, still don’t understand how they were in perfect sync with each other in every aspect, despite knowing each other for less than two weeks. Maybe it’s got something to do with experience, but it wasn’t very convincing to me. Individually, they both had demons they were tackling alone, by themselves, and then they tackled their demons together. And even though I’m not quite sure that I understand where either of them is coming from, I can sympathize with Vianella, and I can try to understand the need for Elio to be away from Key West.
I loved Owen, especially, because I sort of have a soft spot for the differently abled people, and Owen (just like Ridge from Maybe Someday) is absolutely brilliant. I thought Devin was a cute little thing, and the friendship between Elio, Dylan, and Owen makes me jealous. I love how Elio’s mother has “adopted” the other two, and instead of having one son, she has 3 sons and a grand son. The relationship between Elio and his father was, well, perfect. It made me tear up a bit.
Thirdly, busking. The whole idea behind it is so brilliant! Kudos to Yessi Smith on that one!
There were little watercolour mandalas sprinkled lightly between the texts, and they were magnificent. The quotes, the drawing, the watercolours, it pretty much summed up our feeling when we read the quote.
This book was not just for reading, it is for experiencing.
Recommendation: If you love “love stories”, written beautifully and exquisitely to cause you pain and make you feel the love, this book is for you.