RATING: BUY IT
It’s no secret I love the opportunity to blog about books. Not just any books, GREAT books. Prior to blogging for KUBR, most of my books were purchased, even though I had a Kindle Unlimited membership. It was during that time I feel head-over-heels for a series. Okay, obsessed is more like it. And now my obsession can be placed easily in the hands of readers everywhere (hooray!!!) – the ENTIRE series is available in KU!
Author M. Robinson has created a world so real, so complete it sucked me in from “go” and has kept me hooked me ever since. Her Good Ol’ Boys series is comprised of four books: Complicate Me, Forbid Me, Undo Me and Crave Me. While they can be read as standalones, the intricate relationships of the main characters, Alex, Lucas, Jacob, Dylan and Austin, are best read in order to understand just how masterful a story teller Ms. Robinson truly is.
Complicate Me is the story of Lucas + Alex, but really all of the boys play an integral part in the story and this book begins their stories. Alex, or Alexandra, is the only girl of her tight-knit group of friends. With almost a three-year age difference between her and Lucas, Jacob and Dylan, and one year between her and Austin, she was the tomboy of the group and treated as such, until she grew up and was seen for the young woman she had become. In Complicate Me, we have the pleasure, and heartbreak, of watching these five characters grow from children into teenagers into young adults. Along the way we learn of the deep love Lucas + Alex share for each other, and we’re treated to friendships that withstand loss, heartbreak, time and space.
It’s with Forbid Me that we begin to get a sense of M. Robinson’s gift as a writer. Where Complicate Me is told chronologically and from the viewpoints of Lucas + Alex, Undo Me is told in both past and present, as seen through the eyes of Jacob and Lucas’ sister, Lily. The events that unfold in Book 1 (Complicate Me) are retold from a different perspective in Book 2 (Forbid Me), allowing the reader the opportunity to see and feel everything from an entirely new vantage point. Similarly to Lucas + Alex, Forbid Me is the love story of Jacob and his best friend’s much younger sister, Lily. Can a friendship deeper than most family bonds withstand the ultimate betrayal?
Dylan + Aubrey’s story is told in Undo Me, the darkest story of the series. Readers should note that there are triggers in this story that may affect them. Undo Me also has thriller elements that will keep your heart pounding. Again, we’re transported to the days when life was simple and uncomplicated, back to two 16-year-olds meeting, falling in love and planning their future. We’re brought to their present to learn nothing lasts forever and plans change. But can a love so deep, so pure, ever go away?
The series concludes with the newest release, Crave Me, delving deep into the destruction of addiction on loved ones. As with Forbid Me and Undo Me, Crave Me tells the story of the friends and what happens to them as they grow up, but is told through the eyes of Austin and his love, Briggs. Two souls so damaged, both through events beyond their control. One suffers from a disease, the other circumstance. But fate can be both cruel and kind in bringing together two people who need each other most. Destiny may have other plans, however.
As non-emotional as I am with 95% of my reads, this series gripped my heart and took me on an emotional rollercoaster I just wasn’t prepared for. The twists, turns, peaks and drops at times literally stole my breath and, at one point, I thought would stop my heart. The detail given to each character is carefully maintained in all four books. At no time did I feel something was overlooked. And the detail is important. Small conversations or little looks, sighs of frustration and joy, all mean something to each character and each of those tiny moments, the smallest detail, is the thread that ties the books together.
I mostly appreciated Ms. Robinson’s ability to remind us all that, at the core, we’re all the same. It’s our families, friends and experiences that simply make us see the same thing differently. She also reminded us that that nothing is more important than family, be it the one you were born into or the one you create.