GUEST REVIEW: Where I End and You Begin by Andra Brynn
Where I End and You Begin
Published on August 12th 2013 Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
In Japan, they say there’s a red thread of fate that binds people who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. It may tangle, it may knot, it may stretch or fray, but it will never break. It is a future as indelible as the past.
I hope that isn't true. I pity anyone destined to meet me.
For Bianca Ray, the past is always catching up, one way or another. Now in her third semester at college, it's doing it again. Too much drinking has led to plummeting grades and rising absences, putting her scholarships in peril. When she makes it clear that she needs help—all over the floor of her history class—she’s given one last chance to shape up: seek therapy and bring her grades up by the end of the semester, or she’s out.
Enter Catholic seminarian Daniel McGuire. The last thing Bianca wants is an aspiring priest to counsel her on how to live her life, but the handsome graduate student is different from the holy rollers she fled from at home. Gentle and unobtrusive, he helps her pick up the pieces and find a new way to live: not running from the past, but facing it head on.
But opening up her heart to release the pain means that something else can come in. As Bianca and Daniel grow closer, their relationship moves onto dangerous ground and the fragile courage Bianca has built up threatens to fail her. Can she exorcise the ghosts of her past, or will they catch hold and drag her down where not even Daniel can reach her?
First Lines: So. This is a ghost story.
I think my biggest concern is that people will read those first few lines, and actually a good bit of the first chapter, and assume that this is a paranormal story and it’s not. The main character does have a bit of an obsession with ghost stories, and imparts some interesting info on ghosts in general from different cultures, but the actual “ghost” here is really nothing more than a parallel metaphor. So don’t pass this one up because you take that part of the story literally.
I already had this book in my TBR read list, but then a friend mentioned that it was available for free and so I snagged it. I’m really glad that I did. I read it in one day, and I’m still kind of reeling from it.
To say that the main character, Bianca, is a f’d up mess would be an understatement. She’s nineteen years old and when we meet her, it’s clear she’s in a self-destructive spiral that it doesn’t feel like she’s all that interested in getting out of. She’s SO broken that I wanted to reach through my iPad screen and just shake her. She’s self-medicating her pain away with booze and using one night stands in an effort to connect, if even for a few drunken minutes, with someone to feel loved. She’s fallen so low and is so self-deprecating that you just ache for her.
She’s on a full scholarship, and the only thing that scares her into some semblance of control is the idea of failing her classes and having to go home. With mid-terms approaching, she can’t skip class anymore or she’s definitely risking her grades. Still drunk from another overnight binge, Bianca goes to class and throws up all over the floor – in front of Daniel, the handsome graduate student filling in for her usual teacher.
Daniel is kind to her, and offers to help her work through her issues so that she can focus on pulling her grades back up. Then we find out that Daniel is on sabbatical from seminary school. Bianca is willing to be friends with him and begins to open up to Daniel because, as a priest-in-training, he’s “safe”. Daniel has his own secret though, and the more time they spend together, the more it seems like these two have a shared path into the future.
Bianca is a wise-cracking smartass, and often crude. There were several times I wanted to smack her because she says something completely rude and inappropriate to Daniel- who is just the nicest, sweetest guy ever. But then you have to remember where she started at the beginning of the book, and how her behavior is a mask for letting people get close to her. But Daniel doesn’t let Bianca shoo him away. He sticks with her, and I think that they are both rewarded in the end.
This story will rip at you. Some of the description was a little bit overwrought, but I was able to forgive it. The only thing that would have made this story perfection for me would have been some of Daniel’s POV. I mean, the guy has is going through a major crisis of his own, it would have been really great to “see” that from his side.