Run Away With Me – Mila Gray – Simon Pulse – Published 28 November 2017
Emerson Lowe and popular ice-hockey player Jake McCallister have been best friends since third grade but just as their friendship starts to morph into something more, a terrible event occurs that heralds the end of innocence for both of them. Within a week, Jake’s living on the other side of the country and Emerson is left alone to pick up the pieces of her life in a small town determined to paint her as a liar.
Seven years on and Emerson is still living on the beautiful Pacific West island of Bainbridge, helping her family run their outdoor adventure company. The last thing she needs is Jake turning up, bringing with him old memories and opening up old wounds. But Jake—even better looking than Emerson remembered and on the cusp of a bright sporting future—seems determined to revive their friendship no matter how much Emerson tries to push him away and soon they’re in the midst of a passionate summer romance that neither of them wants to end.
But if they’re to have any kind of future, they’re first going to need to confront the past, a past that most people want to stay buried.
I’m a huge fan of Sarah Alderson’s Hunting Lila series, but this is the first time I have read any of her Mila Gray books. She brings to this story the same level of detail and complicated human relationships. There is no shortage of tension, both romantic and dramatic, as the characters fight for each other and themselves.
Emerson’s whole life shattered when she was a teenager. In one day she lost her sense of trust and safety, the support of her community, and her best friend, Jake. Now, seven years later, she is still living in her small island hometown, running her parent’s adventure store and trying to outpace her memories. Until Jake, now a hulking ice hockey star, walks back into her life. He wants to be friends, wants to erase the past, but Em knows having Jake in her life again just might shatter her world all over again.
I do love a good best-friends-to-more romance. And this one was particularly tortured. Through the chapters, which alternate between Em and Jake’s perspective, and the flashback sections, I started to piece together the details of their history and relationship, and what happened to Em seven years ago. It is a heartbreaking story, but sadly all too common a situation. Em is understandably antagonistic towards Jake when he suddenly reappears in her life. It takes perseverance for him to slowly break down her walls, as well as understand everything she went through. However, I like that this book also portrays the impact everything had on Jake. It doesn’t excuse some of his more volatile actions, but it does provide a realistic explanation. I liked that this book was equally about the survivor of an assault as well as the impact it has on their loved ones. That being said, I was hugely angry at some of Jake’s choices and saddened by how easily the consequences were swept away. It’s probably bad when you want one of the main characters to end up in jail, right? But one punch can kill, people, and the sooner we get behind that and stop supporting violence, for any reason, the better. Sorry, rant over now.
The romance is equal parts sweet and steamy. This is clearly a new adult romance and suitable for mature readers. Em and Jake have a strong relationship that, while it takes some time to mend, has an easy comradery, as well as a potent chemistry. There was also no shortage of drama. I did find some of the events in the second half of the novel slightly over the top and it did seem like a certain court scene was highly unrealistic, but overall I enjoyed reading this new adult contemporary novel.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: New adult fiction.
Themes: Friendship, relationships, romance, dating and sex, sexual assault, ice hockey, violence, professional sports, family
Reading age guide: Ages 16-18 and up.
Advisory: Detailed sex scenes and sexual references, references to sexual assault with some details. References to drug use. Violence, resulting in serious injury. Frequent coarse language, f*** (9), sh** (45), sl** (6), assh*** (7), bit** (1), pi** (5).
Published: 28 November 2017 by Simon Pulse.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 352 pages.
ISBN: 9781481490962, 1481490966