I am excited today to host Cassia Leo's latest book blog tour for her outstanding book, Back Box. This one's a doozy folks! Keep reading for a review, character casting and a giveaway!
Three fateful encounters.... Two heart-breaking tragedies.... One last chance to get it right. From New York Times best selling author Cassia Leo, comes an epic love story about rewriting destiny. Over the course of five years, Mikki and Crush cross paths on three separate occasions. Their first encounter changes Mikki's life forever, but their second meeting leaves them both buried beneath the emotional wreckage of a violent attack. Mikki is left with more questions and grief than she can handle, while Crush is forced to forget the girl who saved his life. Now nineteen years old, Mikki Gladstone has decided she's tired of the mind-numbing meds. She books a flight to Los Angeles to end her life far away from her loving, though often distant, family. Twenty-one-year-old Crush has always channeled his blackest thoughts into his music, but he's never had great aspirations. He decides to fly to Los Angeles to record a demo of the only song he's never performed in public; a song he wrote for a girl he doesn't even know: Black Box. He has no expectations of fame and he's never felt like his life had any purpose... until he meets Mikki in Terminal B. When Mikki and Crush cross paths for the third time in Terminal B, neither has any idea who the other person is; until they slowly piece together their history and realize that fate has more in store for them than just another love story.
Black Box is an emotional, moving read that will have you clenching your heart. It follows the story of Mikki and Crush, two lost souls that have run into each other over the years. The "Black Box" is present throughout the entire book, serving as the catalyst for Mikki's and Crush's relationship. I am in awe with how these two characters slowly figured out how they knew each other. Every chapter peeled away another layer of their relationship. This was a beautifully written book that had me turning pages quicker than I should.
The one theme in Black Box that I feel stands out the strongest is the juxtaposition of fate versus happiness and love. Make no mistake - fate and happiness do not go hand in hand, especially in this book. The idea of fate runs strongly throughout this story. Fate is what saved each of their lives. Fate is what brought these two together when they needed each other the most. But fate is a cruel bitch. This book explores that idea - just because you are fated to be in someone's life, or to find your true love, doesn't mean that the love story will last forever. The idea of fate plays against love and happiness. Mikki, at first, believes that fate brought Crush into her life several different times, but she doesn't believe that she can be happy with him or anyone. Mikki believes in fate by the end of this book, but she still has a pessimistic outlook on her life. Don't get worried - this book does not end on a down note. There is resolution and almost all of the questions Leo raises in this book are answered.
I enjoyed the characters in this book, but I especially enjoyed Crush. Crush is a trust fund baby, attending Harvard and trying to begin a music career. When we first meet Crush, we have no idea about his past. Crush is charming, kind and sexy in a way that drives Mikki crazy. He is also down to earth and has a darkness in his past that he has mostly surmounted. Mikki is a different story. Although I liked her, there were times that I wanted to strangle her. I think that Cassia Leo does an excellent job of portraying not only a girl who is mentally ill, but a girl who has survived a horrific experience. There were so many soft nuances to Mikki's character - from her desire to commit suicide, to her relationship with her parents and sister, to her interactions with Crush. She is a very dynamic character that undergoes a huge transformation throughout the course of this book. Comparing Mikki's thoughts, feelings and actions at the beginning of this story to the end is like talking about two different characters. And that's a good thing.
Together, Crush and Mikki are amazing. Crush gently persists and eventually gets Mikki to open up to him. When Mikki decides that Crush is a good thing for her, she takes things slowly and eases herself into the idea of being with this man. Crush and Mikki's story is part rising-from-the-ashes, part true love story, and part adventure. Crush and Mikki develop a bond over the "Black Box." The Black Box not only pulls these two together, but it also helps Mikki come to terms with her past and to realize that maybe everything will be okay.
The only thing I didn't love about this book was the ending. I know, I know. Like it says in the book, not every story ends with a happily ever after. There was another meeting with fate right at the end of this book that worried me greatly, but I will assure you that it doesn't end with a box of Kleenex. It just kind of ends. I suppose one could argue that this book ends like a real life situation. Life goes on, love endures. But I just kind of felt like the ending was abrupt. That's the only reason why I took a star off the rating.
If you are a fan of intricately and well written romances, I urge you to read this book. I can't say enough about Cassia Leo's talent. She is a beautiful writer and she has proven again with this amazing book. All the technical aspects are there - the book is well-paced, emotional, and smart. I can't wait to hear what y'all think of it!
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo grew up in California and has lived in three different countries. She loves to travel and her dream is to one day score a record deal based on her awesome shower singing skills. She is the author of the Shattered Hearts series (Relentless, Pieces of You, Bring Me Home, Abandon) and the Luke and Chase series.