“Always You” by Missy Johnson

 photo f36c1480-e5a9-4be9-81d0-b50716d778e3_zpsf1adcac8.jpgDalton:

I was thrilled when I was offered a graduate teaching position at the prestigious Tennerson Girls Academy. At twenty-three, this would be my first ‘real’ teaching assignment. Working at the elite boarding school, home to the daughters of some of the wealthiest people in the world, was a great opportunity that I would’ve been stupid to pass up.

One week into my new job, and I suddenly had no idea why I chose high school…I was a seventeen year old boy once, I knew how teenage girls behaved.

You can’t even imagine the hell of trying to teach thirty, hormonal driven seventeen year olds who have been cooped up, away from any male contact.

I could handle the whispers every time I entered the room. I could even handle the obvious attempts at gaining my attention. What I couldn’t handle was her…
Wrenn:

Rich bitches and way too many rules. Was it any wonder that I hated school?

Add to that the lack of male contact, and I was going insane. Like literally. I wasn’t used to this. A year ago I was normal. I had a boyfriend, friends and a loving family. There is nothing normal about me anymore, and nobody here lets me forget that.

My name is Wrenn, and I’m only here because my aunt took me in after what happened, but my aunt also happens to be the headmistress of this academy…Can you see my problem?

I’m hated for my lack of money, and I’m hated for who my Aunt is.

Then he arrived. Dalton Reed. My new history teacher.

Slowly, he helped me see that even in the worst situations, there is always hope.

I received this book from the Author, Missy Johnson, as part of an IndieSage Promotions Tour, in exchange for an honest review.

The Review:

Dalton, aka Mr. Reid, is the new History Teacher.  He’s fresh out of college, only 23 yrs old and extremely sexy.  He’s also teaching for the first time in an all girls school. With a student body that consists of all teenage girls, it’s no surprise when the most popular girl in school, Paige, places a bet on who will be the one to kiss him first.  He’s been living the “What If” game for most of his life. He could end the what if’s with a simple test, but what if his greatest fear is realized? Then he meets Wrenn, a gorgeous girl, who makes him feel things he never thought he’d feel, who also happens to be one of his students.  What if….

Wrenn is a quiet, curriculum driven 18 yr old. She’s went through one of the most horrific things a person can go through and she’s still going through it each night in her dreams.  Since it happened, she’s been playing the “If Only” game. If only it hadn’t happened, she’d be in college right now. If only it hadn’t happened she’d be with her old friends and away from the bitch Paige who makes it her daily mission to make Wrenn’s life miserable. Then she meets Dalton. he makes her feel alive again and makes her nightmares go away, but he also happens to be her new History teacher, Mr. Reid.  If only….

I thought this would be your typical, teacher/student romance, but it turned into something so much more.  The trauma and horror that Wrenn has went through, breaks my heart and I can’t even imagine what she goes through. Yet her inner strength and her outlook on life, it’s so admirable.

Then there is Dalton. His situation hit a cord with me. I tend to play the “What If” game a lot in my own life because my father died when I was 14 yrs old from Cancer.  He was just one of so very many in my family to have had or died from some form of it.  I feel it constantly lurking, like a dark cloud waiting to open up and pour on me. Waiting to take my life. Waiting to take me away from my kids, like it took my dad away from me. So the prologue really hit home.

“What are they talking about?” she asked, screwing up her nose.

I shrugged. “The same thing they always talk about,” I said. “That I’m gonna get sick someday.”

She scratched her head and her brow furrowed. “Well . . . ” She paused. “We’re all gonna get sick someday, right? So why do we need to worry about it now?”

I looked at the little girl. She couldn’t have been more than seven years old with her long dark hair and sparkling green eyes. She was a child, but she had just spoken to me like no other person had.

“You wanna see my cubby house?” she asked suddenly. I nodded. She raced outside, me right behind her. We ran down the far end of the property, behind the garage, past rows and rows of homegrown vegetables. Eventually, a tiny shack came into view. We slowed to a walk as we approached the door.

Inside, everything was pink: the walls, the thick shaggy carpet—even the two small armchairs that sat in the middle of the room were a sickly bright pink. She stood smiling proudly, waiting for my reaction.

“It’s very . . . pink,” I commented awkwardly.

“I like pink,” she said defensively, grabbing a doll and sitting in one of the armchairs.

I sniggered and sat down in the other. I was too tall for it, but I squished myself into it anyway.

“So, what’s wrong with you?” she asked.

“I might have the disease my father has,” I replied quietly.

She looked surprised. “So you don’t even know if you’re sick?”

I shook my head.

“Then why are you worrying about something that might not happen?”

I shrugged. I didn’t have an answer for her. I worried because my parents did. I worried because I saw how much my father struggled. I worried because every day he was one day closer to death, and living the life I might be destined to live.

“It’s hard to explain.”

What I meant was it was hard to explain to a seven-year-old, who couldn’t grasp the concept of life and death. At twelve, I’d lost my childhood. My life had revolved around this disease that may or may not one day consume me. The disease that was slowly killing my dad.

“I just don’t get why you would worry about maybe getting sick, especially when it wouldn’t happen for ages. You can’t change it, so what good is worrying going to do?” She shrugged and picked at her doll’s hair.

She said it so simply, like it was the most natural thing in the world. She’d pointed out something so obvious that I hadn’t ever considered it before. Not really.

With all the years of paranoia, and grieving the loss of my life that may or may not happen in twenty or even forty years’ time, my parents had never thought to allow me to actually live. I’d never had the freedom—or the desire—to explore my life.

The fact that it might be cut short should have been more reason for me to be living my dreams, not an excuse to hide away from everything I wanted. In the space of a few short minutes, this little girl and her simple outlook on life had changed my whole perspective on living and dying.

So for that alone, I immediately felt a special love for this book.  But I’m a reviewer and despite the fact my personal feelings will always be attached in some form to my reviews, the fact also remains I do my best to never let it influence my RATING.  So in this case, I’m going to go depend greatly on my Review Rubric and go into more in depth details with it to explain my final rating.

~Robin

 

 

Grade Scale:

(Based upon the Book Reads and Reviews Rubric)

  • Plot – 10: The details for every moment in this book were vivid, yet not overly descriptive. A picture was painted without overshadowing the ability to use my imagination.
  • Characterization – 10: I fell in love with Wrenn and Dalton. I even fell in love with the minor characters, such as Wrenn’s Aunt and Uncle. I had feelings for each character, whether it be hate, love, or just serious dislike(Shannon the douchebag) no matter if they were throughout the entire book or just a couple sentences.
  • Style – 8: This book was extremely well written, although I was able to spot a few minor typos, but nothing that interrupted the story.
  • Threshold Quality – 6: Although I loved this book and it holds sentimental value, it isn’t quite enough to get me to read more from the author unless I do another tour, which I wouldn’t be opposed to. It was slightly slower paced then one I tend to like, but that is just a personal preference. For example: I LOVE the “Notebook” while I’m watching it, but I don’t seek it out.  
  • Addictiveness – 8: I read this while I was in the passenger’s seat on my way to an appt. I didn’t put it down while I was in the car, I even ignored hubby while he talked, however when I had to get out and go in for my appt, I didn’t have that “empty” feeling I get when a book has me so hooked I have withdrawls.

Total – 42

Rating – 5 Stars