★★★★ 4 Stars ★★★★
For Erica and Cole, the bond of friendship was forged in childhood.
Now, torn and broken by grief, that bond will become paramount as two friends look to one another for comfort, strength, and hope in the aftermath of loss. On a journey taken both together and alone, Erica and Cole search for healing and life born anew. Although when mistakes, secrets and betrayal are revealed, the two must each learn to accept that even saints and some angels are human and people aren’t always who they appear to be.
But in the age old struggle to forget and forgive, realization dawns. And with it, so does the understanding that sometimes, the sturdiest foundation for the future lies buried in the dust of the past. Because, for some people…
…love is friendship caught on fire.
I have been deliberating my rating for 2 days now, it’s been such a hard one for me because although I totally loved the story, I struggled to connect to the writing style which is conflicting because the writing was beautiful.
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Cole and Erica grew up together, Erica’s Grandma took care of Cole when he was a kid and he and Erica formed a bond that was unbreakable. The book starts off with 18 year old Erica in a serious relationship with Holden who is Cole’s best friend. Cole and Erica banter back and forth and have a casual friendship, but are not attracted to each other, they both love Holden to bits so when tragedy strikes, they look to each other for solace.
Clinging to each other for strength, what starts as a summer of fun to help them grieve for their best friend/boyfriend, ends with Erica feeling dependant on Cole and needing to escape her mixed emotions.
Cole is also struggling with his new found feelings and on top of that the discovery of a secret that he feels burdened with, propels him to leave, destroying Erica in the process.
The second part of the book is some time later when they are both fully grown adults and after many a misunderstanding they finally admit out loud what has been clear from the start.
“Love is friendship caught on fire.”
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I didn’t emotionally connect to this story as much as I wanted to , I can’t put my finger on what it was that was preventing that, but I absolutely had to keep reading and it was a definite page turner for me. Cole was a quirky character and he was so dependable and hardworking and sweet, but very guarded and refused to show his insecurities. Erica was much more likeable as an adult than a teenager, and I feel she really grew as a person throughout the book. The character development was great.
I think if there weren’t as many misunderstandings between the two and less of Erica and Cole’s inner conscious thoughts littered throughout the book, I would have loved it more.
Overall, I would recommend.
ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review