This is the story of Eliza Smith, daughter of Ben, the manager of the band FireNine. Eliza, 21, goes on tour with her father and the band before starting her final year of college. The lead singer is Gage Grendel, a guy that Eliza had a crush on in high school, and is still attracted to.
There is an attraction and curiosity between the two main characters from the start, but there are also complications, including her being a virgin that has never really dated, and Gage already being involved in a relationship with a woman named Penelope who often appears randomly at different sites along the tour. The relationship between Eliza and Gage does eventually evolve from flirting, to petting and finally to sex; and this is the story of how that relationship progresses. Along the way secrets from both of their backgrounds are revealed. This is the first book in the series, and there is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end.
This book begins with a horrific scene of physical abuse committed by Eliza’s stepfather, including a beating with a belt while her mother witnesses and condones the attack. The story behind this opening scene is hinted at throughout the book, but isn’t fully revealed until the end. I expected a messed up character who would have issues with intimacy and who would be deeply damaged by her past, but what I got was a character that was at times indifferent about parts of that “disturbing past. In one scene Eliza remembers how her mother treated her, and actually uses the term it sucked, but oh well. This had me questioning how much emotion Eliza could even have in a relationship.
For the first half of the book Eliza and Gage are pseudo adults playing a cat and mouse game with each other, reminiscent of immature high school students. They use other people to make each other jealous, flaunting partners and then insulting or being annoyed by each other before instantaneously becoming kind and concerned for one another, and then making out. Even the first sexual encounter comes after one of these odd fight and makeup episodes. Throughout the courtship of Eliza and Gage I found myself wondering why these two people were even attracted to each other, because I never felt a true connection.
The story was bland with a lot of waiting for something to happen in the first half. The conflicts and resolutions were unnecessarily contrived in the second half. The band members, Montana, Deeds and Ray were not distinctly drawn, and their subplots were one dimensional. There is a subplot that mirrors Eliza’s story, but it lacks depth. The dialogue is stunted, full of clichés, and the prose were at times repetitive, relying on irregular use of words and some terminologies.
This story was told in first person, but I did not enjoy being in this narrator’s head because sadly she was frustrating with her constantly changing moods. There was an overuse of the word “nice,” and character after character was described as smirking.
This was an average narration, at times a bit melodramatic, and at other times dispassionate, due to Eliza’s uneven reactions to the story she was telling. The voices and speech patterns assigned to the men were a bit off, so unfortunately I don’t think this reading could save the story.
Narrated by: Veronica Meunch
Length: 10 Hours 19 Minutes
Series: FireNine #1
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Eight months. That's how long it's been since Eliza last saw Gage, and they both feel as if they don't deserve one another's forgiveness. He screwed up. She walked away without looking back. They'll try and make up all the time they've lost with one another, that is, until they're facing the choices of either going their separate ways, or hanging on and fighting for dear life.
The fights will be endless. The heartache will be real. The demons will return, and they won't back down without a fight. There are some who will do anything to keep true love apart, and those same people will dig deep into their demonic ways until Eliza and Gage are literally no more. Can Eliza and Gage overcome it all? Will they be able to face the true demons that are seeking to destroy them? Or will they just forget about everything they've worked so hard for and go their separate ways? Sometimes you have to go through struggles in order to reach an ultimate point of peace...but will their struggle be worth it?