Title: If You Stay
Author: Courtney Cole
Published: February 5th, 2013 by Lakehouse Press
Book rating: 4 stars
Cover rating: 3 stars
Format: eBook, 220 pages
Source: Bought it
24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole.
He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match.
But he’s got his reasons.
His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count.
As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect façade.
So he slipped far, far from it.
Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right?
And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila.
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.
When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness.
But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it.
He knows that. And he’s working on it.
But is that enough to make her stay?
So I read If You Stay about two months ago, maybe a little more, because I saw how much Andrea from The Bookish Babes loved it. This seems to be a reason for me reading books a lot lately. Anyways, I'm not exactly sure why I waited so long to review this book. Obviously procrastination on my part and a hint of stupidity. I really, really enjoyed this book. From the very beginning I could tell Pax was a flat out asshole, but usually behind every asshole there are some serious reasons to cause this kind of behavior. If You Stay takes us on a journey of discovering exactly why Pax Tate has so many damn issues and how he finds a way to get through them and come out stronger in the end.
I really enjoyed the dual point of view, I feel like it definitely was needed when it came to my sympathy towards Pax. Mila was damn near perfect. She was strong and caring but she didn't ever let Pax walk on her. One of the most annoying things is when an author writes a female character that let's some asshole treat her like shit because she feels bad. Just no. Mila had some issues from her past but I definitely think If You Stay was more focused on what Pax was going through and how Mila helped him. If I would have just seen Pax from Mila's point of view I don't think I would have liked him so early on in the story. I think I understood Pax on a better level than I would have if I didn't know half of what I do about drugs and booze and exactly how they can affect a person. I feel like maybe at times Pax was two different people, which is understandable, but also made it hard for me to love him all the time. I felt bad for him but I also wanted to just smack him and force him to go get help. When he finally did get helped I loved how descriptive Courtney was with the scene, I find lately that so many books just skip over these key scenes or don't explain them to us readers and the way Courtney handled this moment really made it impact me emotionally. The tragedy Courtney threw at me was unpredictable and so, so shocking. I was definitely not expecting what I was told and it broke my heart. I didn't know if Pax would make it through, God knows if I would in that situation.
If You Stay was heart breaking, sexy, and definitely enjoyable. It obviously isn't a novel for the light hearted but it did have it's fun moments to lighten it up every now and again. I think this is definitely one for lovers of contemporary romance novels that deal with truly difficult and tragic pasts.
"You're right. Sometimes, at the least opportune times, the past is an insomniac, alive and well."
"And I never worry about who might be walking on the beach below and might see me walking naked through my house. It's my private beach. If anyone is trespassing, they deserve to see my ball-sack."
"You're wrong," she tells me softly. "About everything. You don't see yourself the way I see you. But if you did you would know that there's nothing missing in you at all."
"She shakes her head. "Of course. I don't want you to go through that alone. If something hurt you enough to make you want to forget it, I want to help you through it. Let's chase these dreams away, Pax."
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