I’m feeling pretty ambivalent about this book. I should have loved it, but I didn’t. I still really liked reading it, but I didn’t connect very much with it. If You Stay was the perfect setup for me–a bad boy with a tragic past who changes for the girl he loves, but it just didn’t click, and I’m not very sure why.
Pax is a bad boy. He’s a jerk and he knows it. He doesn’t care much for life, and he drinks and whores his way through it. And then one day he takes it too far, and overdoses on drugs. Mila finds him like this, dying, and calls the ambulance, saving his life. And even though the two of them should never come across each other again–the rich, spoiled bad boy, and the sweet, innocent artist–Pax and Mila do. They connect with one another in a way they’ve never felt before, and while their romance is sweet and a little heart-wrenching, I felt very apart from the story. I wasn’t as immersed in it as much as I wanted to be, and although it got better later on as I kept reading, it still wasn’t enough to make me love this book.
Pax is the quintessential redeeming bad boy who does a 180 once he falls in love. I wasn’t too much of a fan of his in the beginning of the book (like, wow, if you’ve read If You Stay–what a way to start a book), but he grew on me. He shows his sweet, warm, loving side once Mila gets under his skin and into his heart. He truly has a good heart, but life dealt him a shitty hand. If You Stay is mostly his story, though the book is told in both his and Mila’s POVs. We learn about Pax’s tragic, heart-wrenching past, and how he deals with it with Mila by his side.
Mila is the perfect girl for Pax. She’s got a touch of innocence in her, but she’s strong for Pax when he needs her to be. She tries to keep Pax at a distance because of his reputation as a bad boy, but slowly, she gets to know the real Pax and falls in love with him. And although their journey towards their happily ever after isn’t without its bumps, they try their hardest to make is work.
I love that besides the romance, there’s deeper meaning to the story. That no matter how broken you are, you can always find it in yourself to be happy. You can get help and fix yourself, but only if you allow yourself to be fixed. I really loved the way Courtney Cole integrated this into If You Stay, and her writing is phenomenal. I’d definitely recommend this book for the writing, and Courtney Cole’s perfect bad boy hero.
3 hearts! Although there were some parts that were 3.5-4, but I’m going to go with a 3 because I was expecting to love it more.
Reading Order: Beautifully Broken series
#1 ~ If You Stay: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ If You Leave: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ Until We Burn: Ebook • Goodreads
#3 ~ Before We Fall: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#4 ~ Until We Fly: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads