Title: Something in the Way
Author: Jessica Hawkins
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: RBA Designs : Romantic Book AffairsRelease Date: February 27, 2017Photography: Perrywinkle Photography
I loved Manning before I knew the meaning of the word. I was too young, he said. I would wait. Through all the carefully-chosen words hiding what we knew to be true, through his struggle to keep me innocent, and through infinitely-starry nights—I would wait. But I’d learn that life isn’t always fair. That no matter how much you achieve, none of it matters if you suffer the heartbreak that comes with falling for someone you can never have. Because even though I saw Manning first, that didn’t matter. My older sister saw him next.
It was a hot summer day when I met him on the construction site next to my parents’ house. Under the sweat and dirt, Manning Sutter was as handsome as the sun was bright. He was older, darker, experienced. I wore a smiley-face t-shirt and had never even been kissed. Yet we saw something in each other that would link us in ways that couldn’t be broken...no matter how hard we tried.
Lake is 16, smart, and unaware of the world around her outside of her father's reading list and her college goals of USC. While she is quiet and unassuming, her older sister is brash, beautiful, and too willing to test her boundaries. Lake doesn't understand it, she just wants her fun sister, until she sees the man working construction across the way from their house. He takes an interest in her, he defends her. The feelings she has for him are new, but even though she saw Manning first, Tiffany saw him second. Lake's summer is marked with sunshine and those first moments of desire to be an adult. With summer camp as the backdrop, Lake and Tiffany push the boundaries and Manning's feelings for one are just a little too tied to the other.
"I wanted it. The smoke, the girl. My vices."
My feelings are raw, my thoughts are jumbled, and my heart aches for Lake, for Manning, and even for Tiffany. Jessica Hawkins is my go-to for angst, she brings truth and reality to a sub-genre that's been so overplayed. Not only did I connect with Lake from the very start, but I was transported into her, seeing life through her 16 year old eyes as she had her first crush, her first moment of desire to grow up, her first moment of questioning everything she'd been told about right and wrong. She's smart and ambitious, but also far more innocent than others her age. She's unaware of her youthful beauty, only just realizing that she mustn't do everything her father has laid out for her in his grand plans of success. Manning is the older man, an adult but still so much a child himself. His life hasn't been easy, but he tries so hard to do the right thing. Tiffany broke my heart a little, despite being that A-grade student in high school I felt like she was me the entirety of my college career. Every character felt like someone I knew, someone I either saw pieces of myself in or pieces of others. The setting was even more so realistic for me, as I grew up in the 90's and 00's on the coast of Orange County.
"Some invisible tether existed between us. Nobody could see it, not even us, but I felt it. I was sure Manning did, too. As long as we both knew it, that was enough for me. For now, at least."
Something in the Way is a bit of what I expected, but a lot more of what I didn't expect. It's a slow burn romance that truly feels like I remember it being when I was 16. That first crush, the blurred lines of right and wrong, and the truth of how image really can change everything, especially in the eyes of the law. Told from the dual POV's of Lake and Manning, we see the story from all sides. It's a coming-of-age story with well developed characters and the full gamut of emotions. Jessica Hawkins perfectly captured that moment in every teens life where they teeter between youthful, childhood fun and the realities of adulthood and the maturity that is slowly developing with each significant interaction in life. There's so many questions at that time, confusing feelings, and excitement that overwhelms it all. From start to finish, Something in the Way is that perfect glimpse at youth, summer, and first love. That cliffhanger? It just made me desperate for more, for answers, to see how life will turn out for all three.
"My world had been so dark before her. It worried me how far I'd go to keep that light in my life."
I've been listening to Jessica's Something in the Way playlist for about a month now, turns out she and I share very similar music tastes. Then I listened to it again while I read this book and it changed everything, transporting me back into the 90's and into the mindset I had at sixteen years old. There's nothing like that tightrope between being a child and being an adult, and all the feelings that come with it. Jessica Hawkin's brings it all to life with her beautiful prose and her delicate handling of emotions as she weaves this story together. Something in the Way is the first in a trilogy and it promises to be the kind of story that changes you, leaving a mark in your mind and in your heart.
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