October 9, 2014

REVIEW: Reclaiming the Sand By, A. Meredith Walters

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Bully and victim. 
Tormenter and tormented. 
Villain and hero. 

Ellie McCallum was a bully. No connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable. 

Particularly Freaky Flynn. 

Flynn Hendrick lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger's. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down.

But then Flynn and Ellie grew up. 

And moved on.

Until years later when their paths unexpectedly cross again and the bully and the freak are face to face once more.

When labels come to define you, finding yourself feels impossible. Particularly for two people disconnected from the world who inexplicably find a connection in each other. 

And out of the wreckage of their tragic beginnings, an unlikely love story unfolds.

But a painful past doesn’t always want to let go. And old wounds are never truly healed…and sometimes the further you try to run from yourself the closer you come to who you really are.

"You will hate me. 
You will love him. 
I love him. 
He has changed my world."  "

A Meredith Walters is a freaking genius. I am so mad at myself for letting this book sit on my kindle for as long as it did. I don’t even remember when I bought this book. I saw it one day and read the reviews. Every single review I read was raving about this book so I bought it. Then I got distracted reading other things, you know how it is. I’m kind of a spaz. Anyway. I got a request to be a part of the blog tour and I was like I already have the book why not. I started the book and I fell absolutely in love. This book was so many things. Beautiful and heartbreaking. Brutal and completely eye-opening.

Not until in the span of a moment I remembered the people we had once been. In that flash of seconds I missed those people. 
I missed him. 
missed me. 
What was I going to do?"    

Ellie McCallum has been bounced around from foster home to foster home after her mom left and never came back. Ellie has been stuck in the same town for ten years until she takes her first class at the local community college. She has a lot of emotions that she has no idea how to deal with. She has many regrets as well. And the biggest one just walked back into her life. She has blamed Flynn for so many things, for all of the emotions she can’t deal with. Now they are all coming back because he is everywhere.

Ellie’s character was written almost perfectly. She was the bully. The bitch that you never wanted to root for. She mean and cruel to everyone around her but mostly to Flynn. But I found myself being one of the few that I actually liked Ellie in parts of the book. Don’t get me wrong. I hated the things she stood by, watched, and sometimes participated in when it came to Flynn. Bullying is horrible and some people are not going to get past it but what people need to understand is that Ellie has a mental illness as well. Reactive Attachment Disorder. I think that the author should have spent some more time with Ellie and her disorder. I think the readers would have seen her redemption more if more light was shed on the disorder.

When we meet Ellie she is stepping up to a crossroad. She can either stay in the life she has always been. Making terrible choices and being ok with it. Or she can take the steps to make a better future with better choices. I really liked reading the transformation Ellie went through. She stumbled but ultimately she did a good job.

"Because just once I'd like someone to ask me to stay. I needed to feel wanted. And the one person who had ever made me feel like that was incapable of verbalizing it when I needed so desperately to hear it." 

Flynn Hendrick has Asperger’s. He moved to a new town to get a fresh start. He never got the fresh start his mother wanted for him. Freaky Flynn is the butt of every joke and prank Ellie and her friends can come up with. They made his high school life miserable. With the mixed signal Ellie was sending he was truly confused. He wanted a friend and she couldn’t give that to him. When he moved back home he walks right into Ellie. And all of the emotions come running back.

Be fully prepared for Flynn Hendrick to steal your heart. This character was beautiful inside and out. Flynn was forgiving. He was kind. He was also very talented and everything that Ellie ever needed. Flynn does not have a social filter. He says whatever is on his mind. To most people this would seem rude but I found it endearing and quite hilarious at times. I completely loved his character. I wanted to swoop in and protect him. I really liked how Flynn’s character grew as well. He deals with things better, he lets Ellie touch him, and he learns how to express love.

"You should do what makes you happy. You are smart. You are beautiful. You don't belong here. You belong out there." 

This book took a huge toll on my heart. There were moments that became so hard for me to read I had to put the book down. A. Meredith Walters is amazing. She managed to pull on every single one of your emotions. Page after page. Bullying is NEVER ok. But A. Meredith Walters managed to create a character that was so real you found her tolerable. Ellie had an “lash out to stay safe” persona that you can imagine someone creating after being through what Ellie had.

The cruelest scenes were the flashbacks. The few chapters we got from Flynn were scenes that he was bullied by Ellie and her friends. These were especially hard for me because my brother is autistic. Walters created an Asperger’s character that was so real that it made everything that much harder to read.

"And he grinned. His heart in his eyes. 
He was more than amazing. 
He was everything."  

I found the ending really abrupt. The story took an almost slow approach to the whole story. Not in a boring way but it built the drama and emotions in a good way. The ending didn’t really fit. We didn’t really get much out of it. The good thing is that I found out there will be a second book. I can’t wait to get more of Flynn and Ellie. This book was beautiful and heartbreaking and I loved it. I would recommend this book to everyone and anyone.

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Here is a teaser for Chasing The Tide....

Release Day: December 16, 2014

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