Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Whatever It Takes, by Lindsay Paige
I'm delighted to be able to post a pre-release review of "Whatever It Takes," the awesome third volume of Lindsay Paige's fresh new contemporary series "Bold As Love," as part of a month long Pre-Release Party! "Sweetness," the first of the two previous volumes, introduces us to Emily and Jake as they head into their final year of high school. Each of them bears the scars of previous losses and hurts, but when they find each other, their missing puzzle pieces start to fit, and they become each other's world. Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn't take too kindly to being left behind, and it has some scary and intense obstacles to throw in their way. "Whatever It Takes" picks up where "I'm Yours," the second book, left off. Note: While this review does not contain spoilers for “Whatever It Takes,” it does assume familiarity with the events of “Sweetness” and “I’m Yours.” Read them first!
My Review (5 Stars!)
Have you heard that awesome new(ish) song, “Springsteen,” by Eric Church? It’s a bittersweet nostalgic reminiscence of a teenage romance that started at a Springsteen concert. It recalls the relationship’s arc in lyrics, song titles and echoes of melodies and choruses. Like Lindsay, Eric is from North Carolina, and is awesomely talented. But what really made me think of it (and you should definitely check it out!), is not only that it reminds me of Lindsay, and her gift of being able to capture the sweet intensity of falling in love for the first time, but also of how well some of my favorite Springsteen lyrics relate to “Whatever It Takes”:
"It ought to be easy ought to be simple enough
Man meets woman and they fall in love
But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough
And you've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above,
If you want to ride on down in this tunnel of love"
"Whatever It Takes" opens in media res, with Jake and Emily settling into their first year of college, and their first time living together in an off campus apartment. Life is pretty doggone challenging for them: in addition to classes, they both have jobs (Em’s is at a hipster college town coffee shop called Coffee Beans), and Jake’s hockey commitments are demanding, too. That doesn’t really leave a lot of room for relationship building, but it does leave plenty of room (especially on those late and lonely night-times) for the ghost that still haunts Emily: “Today marks four months since I lost the baby. I thought it would get easier, but every time I think about it, it’s just as bad as when it happened.”
Even though this reader had hoped that Emily’s grief at the loss of the baby was lessening at the end of I’m Yours, it appears to be moving, if at all, on its own timetable. While Jake seems to be able and ready to move on, Emily is goin’ down slow, and, characteristically, is unwilling to share her nightmares and pain with Jake, in a misguided attempt to spare him (Pro tip – this is NOT a good relationship strategy, hopefully Emily will learn that someday!). And while the emotions and conflicts this issue creates means that their hoped-for “Eden” is not exactly paradise, it surely does contain a couple of wily serpents: Kyle, a rich and attractive guy friend of Emily’s new girlfriends, who claims to have insights that will help Emily with her grief; and Eve, the attractive goalie of the women’s hockey team, who seems a little too interested in helping Jake skate over his relationship troubles with Emily. And although Jake and Emily’s love is an amazingly intense edifice, it sometimes looks like the foundations are still a bit on the shaky side once the emotional ground starts moving. Then, just when they finally seem to be finding their footing, circumstances conspire to challenge them yet again (you just know the last third of a Lindsay book is gonna shake things up).
“The course of true love never did run smooth,” Shakespeare reminds us, and that is surely the theme of this volume of the Bold as Love series. Told in alternating points of view, like its predecessors, this book shares their beautiful direct and simple yet deeply affecting poetic style, as well. Lindsay is able to convey so intensely the confusion, conflicting feelings and overwhelming emotional storms of life that even a profound and deeply committed relationship can experience. Sometimes I did want to reach in and give Emily a shake or two, but of course that is all part of the experience of being pulled in so deeply. This is definitely a book of sunlight and shadows, and will leave you wanting more of Jake and Emily’s elusive quest for that HEA they so desperately deserve. It’s a worthy and richly readable successor to “Sweetness” and “I’m Yours” that will leave fans of this charming and emotionally imaginative young author satisfied … but only until the promised next installment.
"Whatever It Takes," by Lindsay Paige, will release on June 13, 2012. I'll be hosting some more events here later this month, including a giveaway, so please check back, and follow to stay part of things! All images in this post are courtesy of, and copyright 2011, Lindsay Paige
Check out Springsteen, by Eric Church - it's totally got a Lindsay vibe to it!: