Author: Anna Bloom
Genre: Mature YA (intended for readers ages 16 plus)
Publication: July 28th, 2014
To Buy Links: Amazon Kindle / BN
Rebecca Walters harbours a dark secret, and as the fifty-three bangles she wears on her wrists as a self-imposed sentence of guilt remind her, she can’t even begin to consider moving on. Not after what happened on that night six months ago… a night which she can’t remember and yet managed to change her life forever.
When Rebecca comes across Joshua Adams, man equally haunted by past tragedies, on a moonlit beach, both of their lives are destined to change forever, and when the girl made out of the sun meets the boy made out of the moon and sea, anything can happen… but will the knowledge of their murky pasts bring them together or drive them apart?
Will Rebecca finally be able to claim her freedom? Will she stay and fight to be the girl she found on the sandy beaches of Cornwall or is she destined to keep running and hiding from a past that won’t stay Gone? One thing’s for certain: either way, nothing will ever be the same again.
I might have mentioned before, but in case you don't know, Anna Bloom is my favorite NA author. I love the British humor. The flawed yet, likable characters. I am particularly fond of Bex's mouth and attitude. The chances of me and this author meeting are slim, but I would love, love, love to meet her. I have a feeling I would love her sense of humor. Her characters are full of life, bad things have happened to them. Good things are happening to them. And they screw up because of the bad things. They are normal, but I want to know every detail about them until they become special, like my own friends. And I am so vested in what happens to them, in their happiness, in their overcoming the obstacles keeping them apart. I want to know their secrets and their dreams. And I want to laugh and be happy with them.
Anna Bloom writes all of those things. Rebecca, Bex for short, is an amazing character. She's so resilient and resistant at the same time. I love her snarky wit. The way she owns her past and is actually really hard on herself about her actions, her past, how what she has done has affected those she loves and cares about. Bex is very protective of her little sister. And her family is important to her, despite the way she acts. I love that family is big in this book. Family is a big part of the story in GONE.
I became a fan of Joshua immediately as I read the story. He is artistic, sensitive, funny (I love British humor, sharp and dry) and persistent. He's also a guy. What I mean is that he surfs and jokes around with the guys, he's not always just being artistic. And, he's also dealing with his past that he can't seem to forgive himself for or let go of.
The story isn't drama filled and didn't earn an eye roll at all. I enjoyed the banter between Bex and Joshua. I loved watching them both grow and move beyond who they were separately and become someone better together. I thought Joshua's self confidence with Bex was amusing. Bex did not. But I think that's why Bex and Joshua worked, they threw each other off their game, the pretense of being tough enough to be able to handle their pain on their own.
But don't let me mislead you, it's not all about dealing with painful pasts and making amends. There is a great romance in the novel, it's actually the forefront of the novel, but it isn't about jumping into bed and steamy sex on the page. Move along if that's what you want. This is, once again, a story first, with fully realized characters and a well developed story, a romance. The sex is almost an afterthought, but important to the story.
I hope you love GONE as much as I did.
When the morning rays started to lighten the furthest corners of her attic room I snuck back out forcing myself not to look back at her. I came straight back to the studio where I have been staring at my new work of art ever since.
I am just working on spreading the lightest bronze tone I can blend into her hair when the door bangs downstairs. Cursing to myself I take my time to place my paint brush back onto my palette before heading down to open it. The deep knot in the pit of my stomach makes me know that I want it to be the girl made of the sun.
Faye is leaning against the door, her dark hair swinging in her eyes and a laugh turning her lips into a smile. “And here I was thinking you were going to ignore me the full two weeks.”
“I’m not ignoring you.”
“Yeah I know, can I come up?”
I want to say yes but at the same time I don’t want to show her the image of Bex. I feel like it will reveal far more of me than it does of the picture’s subject.
“Nah, I am all done. Shall we go for a surf?”
“Ah, there is my Joshy Woshy,”
“Fuck, Faye, how many times have I told you not to call me that?”
“At least a million.”
“So how many more times are you going to say it?”
“At least a million.”
I pull the door closed behind us and nudge my oldest friend hard out of the way so I can double lock the door.
“Have you eaten?” Faye is eyeing me up and down with her critical shit detector.
“How delightful, quite frankly, Josh you stink.” She crinkles her nose and leans in a little closer to give me a small sniff.
“Well don’t stand so damn close then.”
“I’m guessing Bex doesn’t mind if you stink.”
I start to grin. Goddam it I can’t stop. “Guess she doesn’t.”
“Joshy loves Bexy.”
“You keep telling yourself that, loser.”
I nudge her hard in the ribs which makes her give an “Ouch.” In response. “You know,” she continues, “I was just about to tell you how nice it is to have my best mate Josh around again, but now you can stick it.”
Faye links her arm through mine and we turn around the back of the building to the small outdoor space where I park Daisy. It doesn’t take us long to unload the boards and walk our way down to the lane to the beach. The sun is so hot and intense I can feel it burning on the back of my neck as we negotiate the sands and head towards the rock by the sea. At first I think there is a holiday maker sat there on the rock, as still as a statue, but the gleam of red gives away the stranger’s identity and I feel my steps falter a little bit, my board wobbling unbalanced beneath my arm. I keep thinking of the words I wanted to say to her last night and how she wouldn’t let me say them and I don’t really know what to do with that.
“You alright, Joshy?” Faye crinkles her eyebrows a little as she watches me hesitate on the sand.
“Yeah, sure, whatever.”
My feet walk along the warm sand towards the rock, and I watch as Bex’s shoulders stiffen as she spies our shadows stretch out on the sand beneath her.
“Hey,” I greet. My hand automatically stretches out to graze my fingertips along the sun warmed skin of her shoulder.
“Hey.” She doesn’t take her eyes off the surf so Faye leans forward and shoves her face right into Bex’s.
“Hey, Rebecca, fancy a swim with Josh and I?” Faye asks.
Almost in slow motion Bex turns her gaze on us and I feel my mouth drop open. It’s Bex alright but not the girl I wrapped my arms tight around all night. This is the Bex I first saw stomping on the beach and along the high street. The make-up is back, as are the boots and the attitude.
I know Faye is standing right next to us but it feels in an instant like she has faded away and it is just Bex and I. The entire rest of the universe has dissolved around us.
“That make-up is going to run.” I state.
“Pardon?” Bex looks me up and down, and the ambers instead of looking like warm honey I want to swim in, are rock hard and unflinching.
It makes me want to fight her. It makes me want to get right into her space and lay my hands flat on her skin. It makes me want to move my body until her skin is meshed with mine and I can own her lips and make her knees give way with the intensity of just how much I want to do everything to her. All of it, everything, now.
“I said your make up is going to run in the water,” I cast my eyes down at her boots. “I hope that they are waterproof.” I incline my head towards her inappropriate footwear and wait for her reaction.
Bex grinds her boot into the sand, her fingers gripping the rock. Her shoulders are high and I can see the rise and fall of her chest through the transparent gauze of her shirt.
“It would be unchivalrous for you to dump me in the sea again,” she states, her eyes not making contact with mine.
“Yes, and we know I am all about being gentlemanly.” I take a step toward her so my bare leg is pushed up against her thigh, then I lower myself down and kneel on the sand in front of her. “Look at me.” I place one hand on her knee sliding it ever so slightly up the smooth curve of her leg.
She does not react she just stares over my shoulder, her eyes still intent on the waves.
“Look at me,” I say again.
Bex slowly shifts her gaze to mine and for a moment we are both rock still. The liquid amber is back and I can feel it seep into my being.
“What’s wrong?” My voice is lowering of its own accord.
To this Bex just shrugs offhandedly.
“Is this because of last night?”
“No.” But her eyes dart over my face quickly and now I know she is lying.
“Is it because I was gone this morning?”
“Is it because I am here with Faye.”
“No.” More forceful this time.
“What is it then?” I settle back onto my heels and clasp my hands over my knees waiting for her to say something, anything.
Finally after an age she reaches a hand forward and slides one of my dreads back over my shoulder, her fingers lingering just momentarily. “It’s because you make me want to be someone I’m not.”
I allow the breath I have been holding to exhale out of my mouth. “I don’t want you to be anyone other than who you are.” And this is the truth. Secrets out, worst bits whispered into my ear, I still only want her to be herself.
Bex leans forward and slides a finger along my jaw. “You make me want to be the sort of girl who can stay in a town like this, but I know I’m not, and you know I’m not.”
I laugh a little, I don’t mean to, it just escapes before I can hold it in. “Why you being so serious, for God’s sake, Bex just stay and have a surf with us then we can go and grab some breakfast or something?”
At the word “Us” Bex’s eyes flick over to Faye who is hovering nearby pretending not to listen.
“Forgive me, Josh, but I don’t really want to spend the morning hanging with you and your ex-girlfriend.” Her words make Faye’s head spin around. “And, Josh, I don’t think we should see each other again for the next few days. It’s just, it’s just, making everything too, complicated.” With her words she is up off the rock and striding her way back to the car park. I watch her long legs the whole way willing myself to chase after her.
I want to chase after her, but her words are echoing in my head, “Complicated.” The irony is apparent to me at once. Bex, who has complicated my life and woken me up with her meddling, stomping attitude and fiery resistance thinks I have complicated her life too much. Instead of chasing my toes dip further into the sand.
Anna Bloom is a contemporary romance writer who writes about life as it happens. Combining a busy schedule of looking after two small children whilst working in a local school and completing The Uni Files series she also spends a lot of time imagining kissing hot guys – all in the name of her art.
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