Gus (Bright Side #2) by Kim Holden
4.5 sticky note stars
“How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”
***Warning, there will be spoilers in this review for those of you who haven’t read Bright Side yet, so only read on if you have read Bright Side or are fine with spoilers. I warned you!!!***
Gus was a book I was hesitant to read as Bright Side shattered my heart. I HATE unrequited love and I cried so hard for Gus at the end of that book for being in love with a girl who he didn’t get a chance at forever with. So this book begins with Gus as an absolute wreck at the beginning. He’s on tour just after Kate’s death and he’s not handling it well at all. Losing himself in drinking, drugs and women he can barely function as a normal person throughout the day. It’s on this tour where Gus meets Scout, the personal assistant hired by his asshole boss. Scout is not impressed with Gus and his behavior, and she also doesn’t know why he’s acting this way so she sees him as a stereotypical rock star. Gus sees Scout as uptight, and even calls her Impatient because she’s barely patient with him.
“Some people wear their scars on the outside. Others wear them on the inside. Same difference. Your character, your heart, your essence, that’s what’s important, because that’s the real you. All the rest, our looks, the material stuff? It’s just meaningless bullshit.”
As the tour continues, the two strike up a tentative friendship but nothing more. Gus’s mom needs a new PA and Gus manages to get Scout the job. When he returns from the tour he discovers his mother let Scout stay with them in her house until she’s saved up enough for her own place. Scout begins to see that Gus is actually a really great guy, that he was just going through something horrible at the time. Slowly Gus begins to live life without Bright Side haunting him.
While this book brought tears to my eyes, it was a hell of a lot easier to read than Bright Side was. I still have a hard time with that book, mostly because I cannot stand unhappy endings. This book was Gus’s redemption, his second life without his childhood sweetheart. Over time Gus was able to look back on Kate with happiness and not sadness. I loved the bromance between Gus and Keller; instead of resenting each other they chose to bond over their love of the same woman.
“You only get one chance at this circus called life. Don’t sit in the crowd watchin’ it happen. You jump right in and be the ringleader. That’s where you find your fire.”
I really liked Scout. She wasn’t the polar opposite of Kate, but I appreciated that she wasn’t the most positive person. Not that she was negative, she just saw life differently because of everything that happened to her. She hid so people wouldn’t see her scars, physical and emotional ones. The weight of the world was on her shoulders but she didn’t break, she just kept going and working hard.
I loved Scout and Gus together, the sticky notes scenes were among my favorites. The romance was a very slow burn and it worked for this book. No instalove, the two got to know each other before diving in. And it made it that much more special of a relationship when they did because it was something great that evolved into something even more wonderful.
I also want to mention what an amazing writer Kim Holden is. The entire book flowed so well, there wasn’t any moments where I skimmed or thought was awkward plot wise. Gus was an easy going guy, and the writing style fit with him. Low angst for those of you angst allergic out there. I expected a little bit of drama of Scout being in Kate’s shadow but that never happened and I’m glad, it would have never worked for the main characters if Scout didn’t feel secure in her relationship with Gus. She knew Kate was a part of what made him who he was and she embraced that instead of fearing it.
So it was easier to rate this book than the first. I’m so happy Kim Holden decided to write this book and give us Gus. If you loved the first book or wanted closure, this is the book for you!
“I think people find each other when they’re ready for them. When they need each other the most. And it’s in that time of need that the strongest relationships are formed.”