By Michelle Davidson Argyle
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing
Publication Date: February 14, 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Staying in love can mean running away…
Two years after watching her kidnappers go to prison, Naomi Jensen is still in love with one of them. Jesse will be released in a few years, and Naomi knows college is the perfect distraction while she waits. But when her new friend Finn makes her question what is right and what is wrong, she begins to wonder if Jesse is the one for her…until she discovers he’s out on parole. Naomi must sort through her confusion to figure out where love and freedom truly lie-in Finn, who has no connections to her past, or Jesse, who has just asked her to run away with him.
I should have expected that since The Breakaway, which dealt with Naomi’s kidnapping, kept me off-balance that Pieces would continue to unsettle me. Just like the first book, it’s difficult to know how far to trust some people or where Naomi even is in her own head. At the end of the first book, I wondered how Davidson Argyle was going to make Naomi and Jesse’s relationship work if he was in prison. I have my answer in this book and things aren’t what I expected.
There are some necessary spoilers here if you haven’t read The Breakaway. I think the books can be read as standalones if you don’t mind missing the backstory (since some of it is generally filled in through conversation), but it’s much better if you’ve read it.
After I finished Pieces and went back to re-read my review of the first book before writing this, I was surprised to see that I had gone so easy on Naomi’s kidnappers. The worst I really had to say about them was that I wasn’t ever sure which of them to trust and I remember why I wrote it, but after Pieces, I was angry with them. Naomi is so damaged that she’s barely functional in interpersonal relationships. Two years later, she’s still grateful to them for things and all of that made me angry with Naomi too. She’s still blaming and resenting the wrong people.
Davidson Argyle did an amazing job of putting me in the head of this confused, lost, disturbed girl. I was actually grateful this wasn’t a huge, long book (it’s not short, just average length), because I don’t know how long I’d have been able to stand reading about her dealing with the continued fallout of her year in captivity. Jesse being released just made everything worse. I did love that the book was about Naomi’s process of working through it though. With Jesse’s release, with Finn’s friendship, with school and parental issues, it was past time for her to get on with her life and confront things and I was raging, cheering, wanting to kick her in the butt, wanting to hug her, wanting to forget her and shedding tears for her. I was so tired by the time I was done reading, no lie, I wanted a nap.
I didn’t really trust Jesse in the first book but I thought he was good for Naomi, or at least I believed that they loved each other and wondered how they were going to find a way to be together. I changed my mind. I don’t like him anymore. He was sweet and loving and Naomi was happy to be with him but he was everything wrong with her life. I felt like her scolding mother, but every time she thought about being with him, I was screaming in my head, “don’t do it!” It’s a good thing when I get so wrapped up in the characters of a book that I’m trying to give them relationship advice, right?
Finn was such a wonderful character, but I had my doubts that Naomi would ever get past things enough to see him in time. He had his own problems and yet he was a huge support to her, always being her best friend, listening to everything she said, offering advice and direction and backing off every time she got spooked by him which was half the time. I was sad when she made the decisions she did for Jesse, even if I knew why. Finn was just so sweet and good to her for real, without the whole committing crime thing.
Believe it or not, I haven’t even spoiled anything! Things get very unsettling and strange for the last bit of the book and while I hoped I knew where the story would end up, I wondered how (just like I did with The Breakaway). There still are so many things Naomi is going to go through, there’s room for a third book, and although I don’t know if one is coming. I’m going to have to rest up before I start it, if there is.
Both books in this series aren’t light contemporaries, but are thoughtful, deliberate stories that took me places I didn’t always want to go. It wasn’t always fun being in Naomi’s head when she didn’t do what I wanted or expected and was self-destructive and it’s downright creepy seeing the effects of Stockholm Syndrome. I couldn’t put the first book down and I couldn’t put Pieces down either. I was wrapped up in the story from the start and even more than wanting to know if she ever chose between Finn and Jesse, I had to know if this fragile girl ever chose to fix herself. If you read the first book, you need to read this one.
My Rating: A