Emerge by S.E. Hall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Laney and Evan have been best friends since they were children. As they are about to graduate from high school their friendship turns into something more, but due to to unfortunate circumstances they are about to leave for separate colleges just as their romantic relationship is getting going. The separation of college his challenging for both Laney and Evan. Romance aside, they have been best friends for so long that spending time apart and feeling their lives go in different directions is very painful. Laney and Evan are faced with new information and new people enter their lives. For the first time their relationship is truly tested.
Laney is a spunky, smart athletic girl, but is also fairly naive. She has grown up with Evan's devoted love,friendship, and protection so when she finds herself in a college environment along needing to start meeting new people and developing her friendships and relationships with her softball team members it is all a little overwhelming. Watching her finally start to live her own life rather than rely on the blanket of Evan's friendship was exciting. Dane enters the picture, and Laney finds out that it is possible to have a strong connection with someone besides Evan. Seeing her struggle through a lot of new emotions and tough decisions is difficult at times. Even though Laney could get pretty caught up in herself and the decisions that were so important to her, it was sometimes frustrating to watch her struggle with what a lot of people would consider non-problems. Oh, there is more than one person who cares deeply about you? Tough. Well, it is hard for her and I liked how she tried to be honest throughout her journey and truly take the feelings of others into her considerations. I also liked that she tried to be practical about her expectations and the reality of both her and Evan's situations.Evan is a pretty stand-up guy, and it was hard to see him struggle with his own college experience and what to do about his love for someone far away and inaccessible.
People grow up, choices are made, and there are definitely casualties. I like that we really get to see each character's perspective, and how there are no "bad guys". Life, love, and relationships change and grow and that change is often difficult. There are also a couple of bombs dropped right before this story ends, and I will definitely be continuing with this series to see where the characters' lives go from here.
*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.