Title: Kick Push
Author: Jay McLean
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Series or Standalone: Series (Kick Push #1)
Rating: ★★★★ ½ Stars
I’ve spent the last two days or so trying to put my thoughts into intelligible sentences so that I could adequately review this story, but as it appears, I don’t think it’s quite possible to put into words exactly what this book is and in the end what it meant to me.
I knew picking this up just based on what I’d heard about it (the blurb, random thoughts by other readers) that it was going to be a heavy book. One that would grip me and take me on an emotional rollercoaster of sorts. So from the moment I opened the book and began reading, I went in expecting to feel.
I just never could have predicted just how much I would feel by the time it was over.
Despite owning numerous books by this author because her blurbs seem to draw me in like no one’s business, I haven’t gotten around to reading any of them (I know, I know. I suck so hard right now), but there was something about the premise behind this one that I couldn’t let go of and had to just jump right into.
Joshua was my premise. Joshua was what brought me here. Not because he was introduced in another book, though. I was blind to all of this. He interested me, he was my premise because he was a single dad.
Call me crazy, but when you’re the single mom of four children, and you had your first at 19 and were in no way prepared for the way your life would be forever altered and changed, there’s something about a teenage boy going through much the same thing, being the one that took on that role the way you did that jumps right off the page and straight into your heart.
I had so much respect for this character. Even when he was falling apart, overwhelmed, at the end of his rope and the worst when he was downright mean and stupid with his words and actions, I had respect for him. Maybe because I’ve been there, I don’t know. I just know that his road, I was on it with him the entire time. Giving up on a lifelong dream because the little boy you helped create and bring into the world becomes your new dream. Becomes your everything. Losing family, people that you love because of the choices you make that while solid, they can’t seem to agree with. Joshua touched me on a level I don’t think another character in a book has ever done. It was unbelievable.
Enter Becca. She had a hill of her own to climb, but she also had to sort past the mammoth sized mess of bullshit that Joshua’s ex (Tommy’s mom) left behind when she decided to up and leave. Things were not easy for Becca, but just like Joshua, I could relate. I didn’t live through the things that she did, so I couldn’t say I bonded to her because we shared the same life experiences, but her fear, what drove her, how she came out of her shell, grew but then relapsed back into the only way of being she ever knew when things got hard, I understood all of it.
These two were perfect for each other. Each of them flawed and a little bit damaged, but when they were together, bringing out the best in each other. But with all things related to love, it can’t always be roses right, so for all of the good they were doing for each other and that little boy (god bless that boy might I add. He was a bright spot), they also brought out the worst in each other. They became each other’s addiction. They were growing but they were also becoming so dependent on one another that it eventually turned things on its axis.
I enjoyed the focus that was put on the growth of these two characters once they’ve been pulled apart. I know that’s not your typical answer when it comes to a romance (you do want the HEA after all), but for these two, I thought that their coming of age moments, their personal growth almost outweighed my need to see them end up together. Because at the stages they were in their lives, they would have kept on imploding without that growth.
I had mild issues with the way Becca’s past was handled. I mean, I waited through a good portion of that book to learn the truth, only to have it surmised in a chapter or so. It felt off all things considered. I think maybe if it had been spanned out a bit at a time over the course of the story it would have fit better, but having it all dumped off at once and then moved on from, well I felt a bit cheated.
Did that take away from my overall thoughts on this book? Not really no. I was already all in at that point, it just seemed a little disjointed. What got me most, mainly because I’m not sure I understand how much more you can put them through, was why this was broken off and turned into two books.
Yes. You heard me. It doesn’t end with a HEA. At least not in the romantic sense. I saw two characters that were on their own roads of healing that seemed happy and in good places, which for the record, I was overjoyed about, but there was no real romantic payoff here and there won’t be until the next installment comes out. So if you’re going into this thinking it’s a standalone story with a clear cut ending, it’s not.
It’s not a heavy cliff-hanger though. You’re not left on the edge of your seat. Its open ended with a to be continued. I just hope that in the next book, there’s resolution for both Becca and Joshua because my heart along with my head demands it. I’m invested emotionally in them, love story and personal journey, so it’s my hope they get that.
Needless to say, this book got me right in the feels and even now, days later, I’m having a hard time getting over it. So if an emotionally gripping story is your thing, you’re gonna love this. Just be prepared to have the wind knocked out of you a few times but just how real and honest, along with raw, that this gets.
To the author, job well done. Thank you for ripping my heart open, making me feel for these characters, heartbreak over their struggles, hope and joy for their triumphs and contented by their growth, both alone and together. It was one hell of an adventure and one that I’m glad I took the chance at being a part of.