This was such an addictive, intense, fast-paced and highly enjoyable read with so much more going on below the surface than I first expected! The story was like a mix of Gossip Girl, The Cruel Prince (without the fairy setting) and Paper Princess, and the characters were amazing, complex and relatable and with so many flaws, secrets and hidden sorrows and problems behind their glamourous appearances that you couldn’t help rooting for them all!
The story follows two of the students at the elite college Arthur Academy - new scholarship girl Hendrix and school king Paxton - and is told from their different POVs. Hendrix has survived a childhood full of abuse and daily beatings by her father and is now ready to finally start building a life for herself. Paxton on the other hand is part of the Arthur Elite and on the surface has everything you could ever want - wealth, friends, girls swooning over him - but is loathing his life as his father’s pawn and the threats his father makes against his mother if Paxton does not do exactly what his father wants.
At a quick glance, this might seem like an ordinary high school bully romance, but just as Paxton keeps saying to Hendrix about his life, “not everything is as it seems”, and this book very cleverly evolved into so much more. It was such a swooning slow-burn bad-rich-boy-good-poor-girl-can’t-help-falling-for-each-other story - almost a Romeo and Juliet kind of romance - and with characters that completely stole my heart. I really loved the alternating POVs and how it made it possible to get a glimpse into each of Hendrix’s and Paxton’s heads and really understand what they were thinking and how they were affected by each other. No matter how cliché it might be, I do have a soft spot for missunderstood bad boys with hidden good hearts, so after a rough start Paxton really won me over... There were also so many other wonderful and complex characters that I rooted for, like Hendrix’s new friend Luce, and Paxton’s best friend Austin, who were both so loyal and supportive. I loved getting to know more about their backgrounds and secrets and struggles.
All in all, this was an addictive, fast-paced and highly entertaining story with a swoon-worthy romance, unexpected twists and turns, wonderful friendships and complex characters to love and hate, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to find out what happens next!
Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for the ARC and blog tour invitation for this fabulous book! All opinions are my own and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Rhiannon Wilde River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez