Series: Rusk University #2
Published by William Morrow on October 28th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.
Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he s arrogant and infuriating, she can t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.
Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He s met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn t think he s broken, and he definitely doesn t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.
Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.
In my latest hopeless romantic binge, I decided I should finally finish my reading of all of Cora Carmack’s books to date. All Broke Down cements her as one of my all-time favorite, auto-buy authors. This woman writes absolute magic. Her characters are so different yet always manage to be relatable. She tackles real new adult issues while simultaneously bringing us the steamiest of romances. All Broke Down is no exception.
Now, you’ll notice that I didn’t think this book was really perfect – and that mostly comes down to the characters. Though different and to an extent relatable, I didn’t have the strongest connection to Dylan and Silas. Dylan confused me for a little – because as a political activist, I was expecting her to be a super strong, fiercely opinionated character. But her political activism mostly stems from a desire to be good – to give back to the community in return for the generosity that she’d been shown in the past, as a foster kid. I was expecting fierce, and I got a character that was at times too innocent and meek. She grows from that – certainly. Her personal struggle in this book is that she’s denying herself the freedom to be who she truly is and is instead conforming to the pressures around her (her parents, her ex-boyfriend) to fit their ideals. That I could relate to, but it wasn’t the most amazing character growth arc.
In that sense, I was much more interested in Silas’s story. He’s a “bad boy” trying to break out of that mold. He feels kind of boxed in and wonders if being bad, lashing out, and acting recklessly is just part of his nature – if it’s impossible to change. His home life, his mother and convicted brother, and his history with Levi together give him a lot of insecurities that he bottles up as anger that he just doesn’t know what to with. But that’s why Dylan is so great for him. They really are a perfect match, because Silas makes her live a little and learn to go for what she really wants, and Dylan helps him finally face the demons of his past. Together, they learn that they can define the type of people they want to be – that they don’t need to live up to anyone else’s expectations. That’s a meaningful new adult lesson, if you ask me.
Then, of course, there’s that romance. WOAH. Seriously, it’s Cora’s hottest one yet. It’s more risque – not just in actions, but also in words. Of course, that’s partially because half of the book is from Silas’s point of view, and he’s rather blunt. I’m not gonna lie, I was fanning myself quite a bit. Dylan and Silas have an irresistible chemistry, and anytime they touch each other it’s electric. But at the same time, it’s also meaningful. They don’t rush into things physically or emotionally, and they consciously choose not to define their relationship for quite a while. I mean, they did have some physical moments right at their first meeting (*cough*), but they do really get to know each other and become friends before moving further. Silas shows that even though he’s rough around the edges, he really cares for her. His fierce loyalty is a major turn on.
I also loved the secondary characters and the humor in this book. Not only did I just about die laughing at Dylan’s involuntary nickname (“pickle”), but her bi best friend, Matt, made me giggle quite often as well. And then there’s Torres, who is just hilarious. He apparently mysteriously loses his clothing whenever he’s drinking, and I just about lost it when he tried to insist that was not the case – at a party – and was then alerted to the fact that he was missing a shoe. And he didn’t know where it was. How excited am I that he’s the guy in All Played Out? VERY. And I loved seeing Dylan become friends with Dallas and Stella as well. Stella impressed me as such a great, fierce character, and I wish we’d seen a bit more of her.
The ending sent me reeling in the absolute best way. I wouldn’t normally expect a major plot twist in a contemporary romance, but, well, All Broke Down has one. It comes kind of out of left field, and some may dislike it for its apparent randomness, but I liked it because it really captured the randomness of events like this on college campuses. It was realistic. This does happen. And, just, woah. My jaw dropped. My heart stopped. My emotions elevated. And the results made my liking for Silas grow exponentially. Seriously. It was the best catalyst for the end of his character growth arc, and it really brought the message home. The conversation with Coach Cole in his office at the end even put tears in my eyes. It was such a feel good moment, and it made my respect for football and all sports/team-related stories grow. Can I just have All Played Out now? Please? Now? Thanks.