Series: Losing It #3
Published by William Morrow on October 15th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong...
Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She's having the time of her life . . . or that's what she keeps telling herself.
It's a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you're afraid you won't like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey's loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey's mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.
After I quickly binge read and loved Losing It and Faking It by Cora Carmack, I put off Finding It, the last book in the series, because I just hadn’t heard many good things. After some time, my desire for more hot romances loaded with chemistry (preferably by Cora Carmack) trumped my hesitance, and I’m happy to announced that I loved Finding It. It is my least favorite of the three, but that’s hardly worth mentioning, because with its heartbreakingly realistic characters and hot romance, it’s a truly great read.
Now, Finding It probably won’t work for everyone. Reading some of the many negative reviews of friends of mine, I kind of get it. Kelsey, the main character, is not the easiest to relate to. She’s a party girl, into more casual sex than meaningful sex, and she runs from her problems like they’re the plague. Some might call her over-dramatic or naive, and they may be annoyed by how not down-to-earth she really is. But I related to her nonetheless. I understand running from your problems. I understand being on the edge of a depression and searching for any way too keep from thinking about those problems. I understand the fear that acknowledging them would destroy you. Those picking up Finding It expecting a fun, upbeat, European road trip romance, may be shocked at how dark this book really is. But I loved it regardless. It reminded me that I’m not alone in my avoidance of confrontation and my fears of facing reality. It reminded me that even those who seem like they have it all together can be suffering from unthinkable pressures. And it painted the beautiful picture that there will be someone who can see through that facade, and in facing those problems together, they could save you.
So, while Kelsey is a party girl on the surface, she really has a lot more going on underneath. She’s feeling lost, having just finished college, and alone, because of superficial friendships and relationships. She doesn’t know how to deal with it all, so she keeps on a brave face, thinking that as long as people around her see her having fun, that will somehow make it true. There are things in her past that she’s been running from for all too long, and basically, she’s just a mess. I really was amazed by the depth to her character – but it never felt like too much. I’m usually one of the first people to complain about melodrama, and I typically stay faaaaar away from books that lean that way. Perhaps it was good that I didn’t know Finding It would be that kind of story, but again I think it’s largely due to Cora Carmack that it swept me up in it anyway. Kelsey was truly realistic to me, and the more I read through her narrations, the closer I felt to her. I needed to know what she was running from, and I needed to know that she could get out of this dangerous downward spiral.
Enter Jackson Hunt. Again, often I would hate the kind of romance where a guy is the “savior” of a girl with a dark past. It reeks of clichés and melodrama, but again I didn’t really mind. Jackson has a mysterious past of his own, which, when unveiled, truly makes him the best kind of person to help Kelsey with all of her problems. They fit together, and on top of all of that, their chemistry drips off the page. It is hot, man. Every single one of their kisses basically had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Cora Carmack knows how to write her romances, that’s for sure. I can’t get enough of them! (Though I could have done without all of Jackson’s pet names for Kelsey – but that’s a personal preference.)
While I loved these thorough, realistic, and heartbreaking characterizations, their romance, and the deep emotions that came with it all, the story did lack in a couple of minor aspects. First, it was a trip across Europe, but it didn’t have a great wanderlust effect. If you were hoping for that, you might want to reconsider this book. It’s more about the characters and their personal growth (and of course that romance) – and let’s not forget that Kelsey’s not out to really go sightseeing – she’s a party girl. Still, I missed that a little, because the setting could have been much more vivid and memorable.
My biggest hesitance, however, is largely the ending. While I liked Kelsey and Jackson together, at some points it seemed a bit too co-dependent, and Jackson seemed like a bit too much of a stalker-type. Now there are plot-related events and twists that kind of explain away a lot of that, and when you’re swept up in that story, in Kelsey’s pain, it is relatively easy to overlook that. The ending, however, upped the stalkery element and it just left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. And because I don’t want to really spoil that, to the spoiler tags I go! View Spoiler »I liked that Jackson got Kelsey to face her problems (or at least acknowledge them). But he did get a bit annoying sometimes in his obsession with her. Now, I understand, also from reading the novella, Seeking Her, that her dad hired him, and because he had a similar past, he couldn’t help but be drawn to her. But I felt the story would have been a bit stronger if Kelsey had really ended it with him. I liked seeing her pick up the pieces herself and build a new life in Spain. It should have ended there. Instead, Jackson becomes an even worse stalker, sending her notes, showing her he knows where she lives, and not letting up in spite of her asking repeatedly for him to stop. For her to give in to that, in the end, and forgive him for following her (which I would still be creeped out by, by the way), it really became a bit too sappy sweet for me. I would have liked a stronger message about independence. There’s a thin line between the big romantic gesture and the creepy romantic obsession, and I felt like Jackson kind of tip-toed over that line. « Hide Spoiler Though it was a happy ending, it left a bad taste in my mouth.