Where We Left Off by Roan Parrish
“In Zeno’s paradox, halving the distance between you and what you sought meant that you would go on forever, always moving closer but never actually reaching it. But maybe if you set your sights on a thing beyond what you sought then you would eventually find yourself smack in the middle of it, having tricked the universe into rendering up exactly what you wanted.”
Roan Parrish is easily one of my new favorite authors that I discovered this year. Her writing is spectacular and she always manages to deliver complex and empathetic characters while highlighting issues most readers don’t really consider in their day to day lives. When we met Leo and Will back in the first book of this series, their story was one I was highly anticipating and was longing for.
That’s why it kills me that I didn’t love this book. I think my expectations were way too high and the reality of Will and the insurmountable ass he ended up being were too much for me.
Where We Left Off felt more like a coming of age novel to me than a romance, Leo is dropped in a new environment and he doesn’t know anyone and he must navigate this new world on his own. I really enjoyed his personal story, seeing the young boyish person he was at the beginning and then going through all of his experiences and epiphanies that made him into a young man by the end of the book. Essentially he needed to learn that he cannot mold himself to please everyone and at some point he has to let things go and let them be. The side characters were brilliant, I loved all of Leo’s college friends and coworkers, but then again Roan is amazing at setting a scene and creating characters that are so vivid and real to the reader.
What I cannot really get past is Will and the giant bag of dicks he ended up being. By the end of the book I understood where he was coming from, but I feel he used his past to make excuses for who he was instead of overcoming it and being a better person for it. I know Parrish doesn’t usually do dual POVs but this is a story I feel could have very much benefitted from it because I think I would have been more empathetic of Will knowing his background, instead of being left in the dark like Leo was.
I did like this book, despite my issues with Will I couldn’t put the book down. Plus on top of that there are some angsty bits and my angst whore ways ate it up. I loved the pop culture references interspersed throughout the book, luckily I’ve watched Felicity so I understood a lot of them. As I said before the characters feel like people I would meet in person, no one part of them felt fictionalized. By this I mean Parrish could easily have picked a real person and stuck them in the book. But I wish there had been more than what the ending gave, a very quickly wrapped up happy for now scenario. I was left feeling dissatisfied.
I still love Roan Parrish and no matter what I will continue to buy and read her books because she’s an amazing author and she writes great stories. Period. I do recommend if you haven’t read books 1 and 2 in this series to go and do so now because they are excellent and among some of my favorite books.
“My feelings for Will were a tender and naked heart beating tentatively in an iron cage, each expansion a risk, each deflation both relief and disappointment.”