Everyone believes Lila Summers has the perfect life. She is a very pretty girl with rich parents who always has a smile on her face. That is exactly what she wants you to think. Beneath that facade, though, Lila is a very troubled girl. Her life has recently started spirally out of control, more than normal. When she hits the bottom, only one guy is there for her. One guy who drags her ass out of the places she shouldn’t be. That guy is Ethan Gregory. Ethan has sworn to never love again. His first love went way wrong and that put him on the path to no strings attached hook-ups and friendship for his lifetime. That’s what Lila is, a friend. She can’t be more. He won’t let her. But the more he fights his attraction, the hotter it burns, and soon it’s too much to fight. Can they make things work or will things end in disaster.
Damn. I thought I knew Lila & Ethan pretty well from their parts in the two previous Ella & Micha books. I was wrong. I knew they had damaged past. That’s pretty much a given because Sorensen likes her main character’s twisted, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so bad for Lila. I wasn’t expecting Lila to have a drug habit or a set of parents that are the biggest assholes on the planet. This novel proves that sometimes mental abuse is worse than physical abuse. Lila had it so rough and drugs/drinking are the only way she knows how to cope. Those habits cost money, though, and that’s something she doesn’t have anymore. Daddy cut her off since she refuses to come home and play the role he puts her in. She doesn’t have any skills to really get a job on and she’s having to sneak out her windows to avoid the landlord because she’s so behind on rent. She genuinely believes there is no way out for her. And she refuses to try to get help. She won’t even tell Ella about it, even though Ella is her best friend. She doesn’t want to drag Ella into her shit when Ella just got her stuff together. The only one who is there for her is Ethan. Non-judging, sweet, helpful Ethan. The nice guy who acts tough.
Ethan, in typical Sorensen fashion, has a bad past that he blames himself for. It’s funny because when you think about Sorensen’s hero’s as a unit, they have so much in common and you’d think we’d be sick of hearing basically the same story over and over again, but we’re not. She writes it in a way that they all feel unique and different. Anyway, Ethan is that sweet guy underneath the bad boy exterior that reminds me a lot of Micha. It’s no wonder the two are best friends, they are so similar, even though Ethan does his best to hide it. I feel bad about his first experience with love. It went so wrong, but there was nothing he could have really done to prevent it, which he realizes eventually. Still, I had the urge to slap him in the head a few times to knock some sense into him.
He’s just so damn stubborn! We’ve all got issues, dude, but you’ve got to get over them because avoiding shit isn’t living. On my list of Sorensen heroes, her rates third….forth….Quinton…Kayden…Luke….Okay, I don’t know exactly where he rates, but it’s below Micha! Micha is still my favorite.
Lila and Ethan’s journey is a bit difficult for me to read. I really thought they’d be a lighter read on the drama end than the rest of the characters because they seemed to be less damaged than any of the others.
I am just floored by that. This novel was great, right up to Sorensen’s normal level of awesome, but I’m still sad that Lila & Ethan couldn’t have better pasts. Or at least handle it better. Lila with the drugs was just shocking as hell. The way her mom handled the school situation was also appalling. Woman, you should have been outraged, not hassling your daughter. The really sad thing is that there are real people out there in this world like Lila’s parents. Real people who abuse their children and don’t think twice about it. What is the point of having a kid if that is how you are going to treat them? I’m the first to admit that I’m iffy on the subject of having kids, but I know one thing for sure, I’ll do a damn sight better than that.
As for writing and plot, well, it’s Jessica Sorensen, so really, what is there to say? She’s fantastic. She knows how to hook my so I don’t want to stop reading. She knows exactly where to place the twists and turns to keep me begging for me. She knows exactly where to stab the needle to cause the most pain, both for me and the characters. She’s sadistic and it’s amazing. Speaking of sadistic, even though Lila & Ethan’s story ends rather well, she manages to throw in a Ella & Micha cliffhanger, so be prepared for that.
Lila & Ethan’s story is all you’d expect it to be and so much more. As I said, Sorensen, really knows how to bring you pain, something I should have learned by now. This novel is as heartbreaking as the rest of her NA works, but she makes it (mostly) all better by the end. We get that happily ever after that we rarely see in a set of character’s first novel. Typically, that moment doesn’t really happen until the second (sometimes the third) novel for that particular set of characters. It’s all you could want in a new adult romance, so get to reading!