Pan Macmillan has graciously provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Come Back to Me tells the story of a once in a lifetime love. Jessa has secretly been in love with her brother’s best friend, Kit, since she was old enough to be interested in boys. Sadly she was never as striking as the kind of girls Kit seemed to gravitate to, and she made her peace with loving him from afar; until the summer she turns 18 when a stolen kiss changes everything.
Kit has never been interested enough in any girl to consider having a serious relationship, but all that changes when he finally gives in to his feelings for Riley’s little sister. Kit and Jessa’s secret relationship comes with a whole lot of complications, including the fact that Riley would never approve of their relationship, and Jessa’s domineering father hates Kit with an intensity that terrifies her as much as it baffles her.
A summer of secret hook-ups brings Jessa to life as Kit brings out the absolute best in her. In Kit’s arms Jessa blossoms into a confident young woman, finally finding the strength to stand up to her father and stand up for what she believes in. The only damper on their otherwise perfect romance is that lurking in the back of their minds is the fact that they only have four weeks together until Kit and Riley are redeployed. A year-long separation awaits the new lovers – a separation they suspect will be hard but bearable. Little could they have guessed how drastically that separation would tear them apart.
Come Back to Me is the first new adult book by Sarah Alderson, written under the pseudonym Mila Gray. It differs from Alderson’s young adult books in the frequency and explicitness of intimate scenes (obviously more on both counts).
What I loved most about this book is the characters. Jessa and Kit are both easy to love, and it’s impossible not to root for their happily-ever-after. They are wonderful individually and even better together, truly bringing out the best in each other. I absolutely love the character development in this book as both Jessa and Kit have a lot to face and a lot to overcome. The progression of their relationship is realistic and solid. It’s clear from the first moment that this is a once in a lifetime, forever-kind-of-love, and Jessa and Kit are deeply committed to each other from the very start.
Kit is an absolute gem of a boyfriend. He brings Jessa to life in a way I’m not sure I’ve experienced in another book. He helps Jessa find herself, accept herself and express herself. The things he does to help her get out from under her father’s thumb are so practical yet so darn sweet. In turn Jessa is perfect for Kit. She is the softness he needs in a hard world, the only person he can completely let down his guard with, knowing she loves him just as he is. The freedom he finds with Jessa is unlike any he’s ever known.
Throughout the book we not only deal with the complications of Kit and Jessa’s relationship, but the prologue of the book (which is set in the not too distant future) stays in the back of your mind like a ticking time bomb. The mystery of why Jessa’s father hates Kit so very much also begs to be solved, making Come Back To Me a complex read about first love, loss, forgiveness and growth. Emotionally this is by far deepest book Gray/Alderson has delivered; emotions range from deliriously happy to completely devastated, ensuring the reader goes on a roller-coaster of emotions. As much as you as reader want to convince yourself that Kit and Jessa’s happily ever after is guaranteed, Gray/Alderson makes it impossible. It is that doubt that drives the reader to continue turning the pages late into the night.
While Come Back To Me is not my favourite book by Gray/Alderson (Will anything ever surpass Lila?), I am by no means disappointed. I expect Gray/Alderson will be just as successful in the new adult genre as she is in young adult.
Title: Come Back To Me
Author: Mila Gray (Sarah Alderson)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Number of pages: 352