Sunday, January 26, 2014

[Review] - Better (Too Good #2) by S. Walden

Their relationship has been exposed, and now their lives are changed forever.  For Cadence Miller, the fast track to adulthood proves intimidating and frustrating. She’s a little girl lost—abandoned by her family and uncertain of her future. She doesn’t think she “fits” anywhere. She’s eighteen. She wants to be older. And the result is both comical and heartbreaking.  Mark Connelly will do anything to provide Cadence a stable, loving home—to be her protector. But he’s just as broken and lost, and his heart won’t let go of his past so easily. He knows he should share his secret with Cadence. He should trust that she’ll understand. But what if she doesn’t? What if their love doesn’t grow stronger?  What if it doesn’t get better?

What a beautiful, beautiful conclusion to Mark's and Cadence's story.  I loved every single minute of this book, including the angsty and drama-filled parts.  So many questions are answered, including what happened to Mark in the past, the outcome of Cadence's relationship with her parents, and the future of Mark and Cadence.

Mark has gotten a bad rep.  Falling in love with a teen aged student will obviously raise some eyebrows.  I never felt the outrage that some people felt because Cadence was close to being 18, and they didn't have sex until after her 18th birthday.  I always felt like there were times when Cadence acted more maturely than Mark, and vice versa.  When Cadence had outbursts that stemmed from her immaturity, it was because of her age.  Mark is a different story.  Although Mark is a bit older, he sometimes became mentally stuck at a younger age.  Why?  Because a traumatic event happened to him at a younger age, I think he kind of got stuck there on occasion.  Cadence was forced to grow up too quickly, so it's nice that these two kind of met in the middle.

Cadence goes through a lot in this book.  She doesn't really know who she is and she isn't given much of a chance to figure it out.  She certainly doesn't lead a normal life.  She engages in a lot of typical college behavior - drinking, slutty behavior, etc., but through it all, she is still "good."  She ever tried to help her ex-BFF Gracie in this story and proves that she is the better person.  I think that there's a point in this book where Cadence is sick to death of being "good."  She has been told her entire life to be good, and where did it get her?  She tried to not be "good," but that's not who she is.  Her parents pretend to be good, but Cadence walks the walk.  Her parents were all about appearances.

Mark also deals with a lot in Better.  He is forced to confront his past, and not on his terms.  He loves Cadence with all of his heart, but he still has to contend with his past.  Andy was mentioned in Good, and she played a huge role in Mark's life.  Andy's perceived opinion is very important to Mark, and Ms. Walden plays it very well.  

I loved Avery even more in this story than in the previous one.  Aside from her witty repartee and her ballsy comments, Avery tells it like it is.  She doesn't sugar coat anything.  Avery messed up early on with Cadence, but she does feel guilty about it.  She is 100% committed to her friendship with Cadence, even when Cadence does some pretty shitty things.

There is a lot of drama between Mark and Cadence.  Mark makes some very immature and hurtful comments to Cadence.  Had I been in Cadence's situation, I would have been pissed, too.  Cadence overreacted and let the angst go on for far too long.  But here's the thing - she didn't know how to deal with these situations.  She only had terrible role models growing up, and I think there were some insecurities she was hiding from Mark.  Mark made a mistake, but let me tell you - Cadence made him pay.  After this entire situation was cleared up, I think that Cadence and Mark both learned from their mistakes and this was the last time anything like this would have happened between them.

And I loved the reference to Bobby Brown's "On Our Own." It is such a cheesy, yet fitting song for Mark and Cadence. The situation where the song was used was perfect! Sorry - I can't control myself and had to include a quote form the song: If I was you, and you were me, you'd wanna be winnin'/If you want somethin' bad, yo, you gotta wanna give your all/'Cause I believe so much in we and know we're not kiddin'/If you feel the same as me, yo, you gotta want to take the ball

I loved the epilogue because it cleared up the relationship between Cadence and Mark long term.  I wish there would have been more information about Dylan, Avery and Ollie.  I would have like to have known what happened to them in the future.  Maybe there's a novella in our future?!?

Overall, Summer Walden wrote a beautiful book that told the story of two broken people that found comfort and love in one another.  I love how Summer writes - the words flow effortlessly.  Her style is one of my favorites.  I cannot wait to read what she writes next.  One word of advice - don't listen to the detractors of this series.  Give it a chance.  This is an amazing series, and I would highly recommend it to anyone that is a fan of new adult, dark romance, and doesn't have a problem with slight taboos.


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