Amanda Weaver’s book, ALWAYS, is a delight. A quick but intense read that spans six years, this angsty romance is a coming of age story, for both our protagonists. We watch Justine grow into her career in the music industry and we see her mature emotionally, as well. We also see Dillon come to terms with his codependency with his best friend, and how he learns to be honest with himself.
The story shifts PoVs effortlessly between the two, and though there is no doubt in our minds that these two will eventually find their always, watching them getting there has you cheering them on (and occasionally wanting to wring their necks.) Some parts felt obvious–the train wrecks hitting these two are obvious from a mile away–but Weaver writes each situation almost from the perspective of a close friend, with hints and warnings and the grace not to say I told you so…
The glimpses into the music scene are interesting and well written. I would have loved to see even more of those moments, when you feel our two working together; their “musical chemistry” is as interesting as the sexual tension.
I enjoyed Dillon, he’s a good guy, and patient; we learn more of who he is by his interactions with others than by seeing him act on his own, but Justine is just plain terrific. What I love about her, and what makes this book so wonderful, is how she makes her principles and stands by them. Even in the beginning, when she’s just a young girl trying to make it in a world where excess is the norm, she doesn’t compromise, and by the end, we are so sure of her strength, we trust all the decisions she makes.
I’d rate this book 3 signed indie albums, 5 angsty late-night phone calls, and one awesome and sweaty bike ride.