Monday, June 23, 2014

Almost by Anne Elliot Review & Giveaways

At a freshman party she doesn't remember...Jess Jordan was almost raped.
...Almost. Very nearly. Not quite. Three years later, Jess has managed to make everyone believe she's better. Over it. Because she is....Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.

Unfortunately, until Jess proves she's back to normal activities, her parents won't discuss college. So, she lands a summer internship and strikes a deal with hockey jock, Gray Porter: He gets $8,000. She gets a fake boyfriend and a social life. 

Jess has no idea Gray signed on for reasons other than money. She also never expects to fall in love. But Gray’s amazingly hot, holds her hand all the time, and makes her forget that he’s simply doing his job. It’s like having a real boyfriend
...Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.

Gray Porter is hiding secrets of his own. About Jess Jordan. About why he’s driven to protect her, why he won't cash her checks, or deny her anything she asks.

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It’s not often I find myself reading a book that clutches at my heart. Not saying the books I’ve read lately have been sucky, it’s the opposite actually, but Almost by Anne Eliot is the book to be toped for me this year. I wish I could say I discovered this gem on my own, but that would be a lie. I owe this awesome find to the new CBC co-blogger, Heather. She’s had the pleasure of meeting up with Anne and getting me a signed copy of Almost. Heather has been telling me since last year I needed to read this book and I have it on my kindle but never got around to reading it. When me and Heather met up at UTopYA Con last summer she handed me copies of Anne’s books and they have been staring at me, calling my name, but life got in the way.

First thing I want to point out about this book is its written in dual POVs. You all know how I love and I mean LOVE dual POVs, I was really excited to dive in. I’ve heard nothing but good things from two people I trust explicitly when it comes to books, so I was giddy. I also would like to stake claims on Gray, Heather was right when she said I would fall in love with this guy. Completely in total love with this guy and is at the top of my book boyfriend list.

We start off with Jess and from the beginning you can see that something happened to her. She’s not sleeping and feels like she has to constantly wear a mask, but why? Well from the synopsis you can tell that her trauma stems for an almost rape at a party 3 years ago. Let me pause here for a minute because some of you might be shying away with this news, but I implore you to stop and wait. One of the beautiful things about writing is that you can write about what calls to you, even if most people would deem it a taboo subject. Something that should be off limits, something like rape is controversial. We all have our own opinions, but despite what they are, I ask you to take a chance and read this book. Open your mind and get lost in this beautiful story despite the topic, because it is truly beautiful and flawless. So Jess is trying to be ‘normal’ whatever that is, so she can move on, and go off to college when the time comes. Normal is overrated, besides what is normal anyways? With an internship at a company she loves is the start of appearing normal, but that is shaken when a boy with golden-green eyes wakes her from the nap she was taking in the car.

Gray has his own secretes. He’s far from innocent but one thing is for certain, the crush he thought would disappear never did. When he sees Jess asleep in the car he wakes her so she won’t be late for the interview they both are there for.  When he finds the list her sister made about being normal, things change for the both of them. I love Gray. I love Anne for the way she presented Gray to me. I felt his struggles throughout this entire book and though I hated that he hid his secrete for so long, I was constantly rooting for him. So one of the things on Jess’ list was to get a boyfriend. When she offers him a deal of a life time to get the money he needs for college, he’s hesitant at first, but caves. It can’t be that bad to play the pretend boyfriend just for the summer right?

It was amazing to watch their story unfold. Jess trying to fight her attraction to Gray but failing miserably. Gray at war with himself for feeling the way he does knowing he holds a secret that can tear them apart. Let the fake boyfriend experiment begin. It was hard for Jess to trust Gray but she manages, doing so, starts falling in love with Gray. Nightmares plague her and they are only getting worse. Each night she remembers more, but the blending of reality and fake is getting blurry. She starts hearing Gray’s voice in her nightmares… but that can’t be right. She’s just confusing what’s not real with what is right?

I was glued to this book and the few hours I had to pause to get things together for my kids, KILLED me. I needed to get back to reading asap. I needed to know what happened. When the big reveal happened, because you know its coming, I cried right alongside with Jess. I knew the secret obviously but the emotion it tore for Jess broke me. So what’s the secret Jess discovered by reliving the most tragic night of her life? Can she put things into perspective and forgive Gray? But most importantly can Jess move past that night and start living her life?

Anne Eliot wrote an utterly beautiful book about an even in a girl’s life that happens around us and did it a way that shines awareness with a beautiful love story. Sometimes we have to forgive ourselves if we truly want to move on from traumatic experiences. I absolutely adore Gray and Jess and would love to see something more from them, maybe a novella? You have to pick this book up and read it, you won’t be disappointed. 
Dani, Heather and Rachel told me I needed to read Almost.  I said ok I am game.  if three friends loved it I will too.  Well JUST having finished it I did!  Now, I was frustrated with Jess, one of the main characters in this book.  But once you hear what she went through it helps to understand.  See Jess was ALMOST Raped at a party.  Between what was slipped in her drink and the stress she doesn't  remember much.  But it has left her shattered.  She hides in her room, is antisocial and when at school she puts on a brusk attitude.  Gray is the other main character.  He is the one that help save Jess, but she doesn't remember.  Her parents even ask him to stay away from her so he doesn't jog her memory.  Allllll this and they apply for the same internship.  Jess because she wants to prove she can get on with life and Gray because he needs the money for college.  You see Gray quit the hockey team at school because the kids that tried to rape Jess was allowed to stay on the team.  He gave up a lot.  When Jess proposes that Gray helps her with her “be normal” plan, Gray agrees.  See he’s had a crush on her, but worries what will happen.  Well, Jess’ dreams get worse, and their fake relationship goes well.  So well they both start to fall hard.  But what happens when Jess remembers?  Gray tries to tell her, but she remembers.  This story is SOOOOO Powerful and moving.  You learn a lot about Gray and  Jess in this book.  Anne Elliot did an amazing job bringing a sensitive subject to a sweet sweet story.  I say read it, take a chance I am glad I did! 

Because we love music so much, we decided to make a playlist for this book. Hope y'all love it as much as we do!

About Anne Eliot

Anne Eliot is the bestselling author of the young adult books, Almost and Unmaking Hunter Kennedy as well as the new series How I fall and How I Fly (coming soon).Her work, Almost has been sold into Turkish and German tranlsations and this whole job plus interacting with fans and other writers has been a wonderful dream come true.

She loves writing about teens who live outside the ordinary and she's devoted to stories with sweet first kisses and first loves. When she's not writing she's reading about medieval times, Vikings, scouring dusty bookshops and goofing off in general.

Anne resides in Colorado with a very patient husband, kids she adores (near and far) who are growing up too fast, and two shoe-eating dogs who refuse to run away.

She loves to volunteer, work with teen writers, visit schools. speak at libraries, teach at writers conferences--just ask--and is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), Romance Writers of America (RWA), Pikes Peak Writers and DBW.

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