She tasted a little bit of heaven with him, and now they’ve gone through hell and back, but can their relationship take anymore?
Valerie Quinn is a naïve college freshman when she meets on-the-rise rock star Ethan Richards. He’s an idealistic, handsome, reckless young man, but he’s captured her heart. She doesn’t give up on him and eventually his walls crumble down. By the time Valerie has given herself to him completely, she discovers he’s damaged and may be beyond help. Can she save Ethan and their relationship before he implodes, or will he self-destruct and take her with him?
I know I've been gushing about this for the last week already, but I was finally able to finish my ARC copy, so I'm going to gush a little more. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just say that we meet Valerie in the present, and she's at what I consider to be a monumental turning point in her adult life. She's gone through a lot at this point, and eventually she shares every step of that journey in a series of chapters set in both past and present. Be sure to watch for the disclaimer below the chapter marker for the change.
Valerie starts the story as a young woman newly attending college. We can see that she has been sheltered and is more than a little naive about the real world. She is drawn to Ethan Richards, and they develop a friendship over their mutual love of metal. She also falls hard and fast for him, and I found myself more than a little concerned for her in this aspect. She explains that her only boyfriends in high school were also members of her church, and I knew that she was going to experience things with Ethan that she never would have in her 'previous' life. I could also see that she was going to place all her loyalty and trust in him, and that it was going to cause her more than a minute of pain.
Ethan, though, starts off with his charming side, and he seems like a nice enough young guy. He's a member of a heavy metal band, and attends the same college as Valerie while rooming with one of his band mates Zane. He doesn't come off as narcissistic in the beginning stages of their friendship, but eventually he seems like the cliched blossoming rock star. He's broken and damaged, and more than once I found myself believing that he didn't want to change those things. The other members of the band - Zane, Nick and Brad - don't seem to condone his behavior, but they also appear to put much effort into changing it either. Valerie seems to be the only one that actively tries to repress Ethan's addictive personality, even though his best friend Brad tells her that it is a losing battle. He's adopted the belief that Ethan will do what Ethan wants to do, and they can just be there to help him back up when he hits rock bottom. Which he does...time and time again.
Valerie gets a front row seat in viewing his addictive personality when the band invites her to join them as their lead vocalist after Brad surprisingly invites her on stage at one of the appearances she attends. There was some internal debate from her on the choice of whether to go with them or not, but she finally determines that she wants to pursue her fantasies of being on stage and in the spotlight.
When the band finally goes on tour, Ethan and Valerie are in the midst of the roller coaster romance, and she is battling with the desire to save him, but also fighting to save herself. Eventually she meets Clay "Jet" Smith, and she is momentarily distracted from her dangerous pull to him. Unfortunately, though, they end their short romance and Valerie gains another important friend.
I think the most important of those friends, though, is Brad. She feels a strong, "animalistic" attraction for him when meeting him, and is inexplicably open with him from the beginning. When she joins the band, though, Brad makes a promise that it's hands off between the two of them. Somewhere later in the book, though, that attraction resurfaces and Valerie realizes that it's never really disappeared, just been pushed to the back by the constant back and forth of her relationship with Ethan. What she doesn't seem to realize, though, is that Brad has retained the same attraction for her that he had in the beginning. I really think he was my favorite character of the story, as he was the most mature of them, and he really did hold a high level of respect for Valerie no matter what.
The story as a whole wowed me. I laughed, fumed, swooned and even felt awkward at times. It was such a roller coaster of events, and just when I thought I could finally predict what was going to happen next, I found out I was wrong. This really is An Epic Rock Star Novel.
Thank you, Jade, for sending me the ARC copy, and allowing me to read this amazing story before it's released!