5 GIMME MORE TISSUES STARS! ★★★★★
PURCHASE ON AMAZON: HERE
Bully and victim. Tormenter and tormented. Villain and hero. Ellie McCallum was a bully. No connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable.
Particularly Freaky Flynn. Flynn Hendrick lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger's. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down.
But then Flynn and Ellie grew up. And moved on. Until years later when their paths unexpectedly cross again and the bully and the freak are face to face once more. When labels come to define you, finding yourself feels impossible.
Particularly for two people disconnected from the world who inexplicably find a connection in each other. And out of the wreckage of their tragic beginnings, an unlikely love story unfolds. But a painful past doesn’t always want to let go.
And old wounds are never truly healed…and sometimes the further you try to run from yourself the closer you come to who you really are.
"I hated the joy his pain gave me. But it was a power I couldn't have anywhere else."
Having read Lead Me Not by this same author previously and was left feeling underwhelmed, I certainly had my reservations starting her other books. But all hope is not lost when Feifei told me to give this author another shot by rec'ing this one to me and let's face it: Usually when a book sits on Fei's top reads of the year, this book must be doing something helluva right.
And by the definition of helluva right, I certainly did not anticipate how much this book had the power to wreck and hurt me like a badass mothafarker.
Firstly I'd like to emphasize that this is a character-driven story, so plot is rather secondary in this one. And I'm a total sucker for these reads because when it's really done right, it will evoke the most powerful feelings and stripped you raw of all emotions. So believe me when I tell you that before going into this read, you will need:
2. Punching bag/pillows/buddy support (I had Sandy & Fei, thankiu ladies! ♥)
3. Comfort food/Xanax
4. Tissues. Seriously.
Reclaiming the Sand is the story of Ellie McCallum and Flynn Hendrick, two individuals who seemed to be at polar opposites. One is a bully, the other is the victim. Something happened in the past that set these two apart but to have them reunited again in the present. And this is their story.
"Our roles in each other's lives had been to every extreme. Bully and victim. Friend. Champion. Lover."
Ellie. She's definitely not your typical heroine; she was a bully, she'd done mean and vicious things to Flynn, she was the girl that ruled and roamed the hallway of your school and strike terror with the kids. She is the kind of heroine you'd want to hate and wished you never had the chance to cross paths with.
But here's the thing, I never hated Ellie from the get-go. I'm probably in the absolute minority for saying this, but there was never a moment that I had channel any kind of hatred towards her. If it's anyone I hated in this book, it would be her low-life friends, especially Dania that had me wanting to rip her hair out and throttle her. I'm not saying that I condone Ellie's actions at all because in all honesty, there should be no excuse for such behaviour and the things she did to Flynn were downright awful, so much so that it made me cry for him.
But as much as I cried for Flynn, I cried so much more for Ellie. Flynn having Asperger's would have made him a more prominent victim, but in so many ways, Ellie herself was a larger victim of a cruel upbringing. Growing up in the foster system and being shunned and deprived of love, she never had the sense of belonging and having to live a life where you believe that no one in the world cared for you, THAT for me was profoundly heartbreaking.
"And I never said anything to anyone about the way they treated me. I kept it buried deep inside me. I never cried. I never screamed. I never spoke."
Being able to watch Ellie turn her life around in the present, taking that first step towards redemption, it completely made my heart swelled with pure joy and love. In a moment where the author described what she felt when she got her first A on her college paper and the absolute faith that the professor had in her, I completely broke down and cry. Even the tiniest and probably uneventful scenes had me all teary and left me in an absolute blubbering mess. That is exactly how beautifully brilliant the writing was ♥♥
Flynn. Oh my poor baby Flynn. The author gifted us with his POV every now and then and my God...there were times that it was just too painful to read on. The author did a flawless job in delivering Flynn's POV which exuded pure innocence in his thoughts that just melts your heart. But being the first-hand witness of him being bullied and tormented, I can't even begin to explain how difficult it was to stomach reading them. It was like someone stabbing a knife into my gut and twisting it and I can't do anything to stop the torture.
“I hate being alone. I want people to talk to me. I want them to like me. It makes me angry when I try to say something and people ignore me. Or worse they laugh. They call me names. Lots of names. Mean names.”
And put these two together, you will get one of THE MOST powerful, beautiful, absolutely heart-wrenching, unconventional love story of the year. I wish I could say I'm exaggerating this but their love story is so remarkable and is a true testament of how love transcends all odds that I'm sitting here teary-eyed even while writing this *sniffs*.
"I loved him. He had given me a life I never dreamed I could have. He had given me connection and belonging and acceptance. He had become my world."
Without a doubt, Reclaiming the Sand will go down as one of my TOP READS FOR 2014. There are books that had me do the ugly cry, but I never had the pleasure of reading one that absolutely leaves me teary and weepy almost the entire way. Don't be mistaken that all were sad anguish tears, but a good portion were happy joyful tears.
The writing is phenomenal, the characters were beautifully flawed and their love story will leave you absolutely breathless. There cannot be enough words to justify how remarkable this read was but you simply just have to read it to experience it. Acceptance, forgiveness and love; A. Meredith Walters delivered a truly exceptional and unforgettable read.
Trust me, if you give Ellie and Flynn a chance, I dare you to not fall in love with their love story ♥♥
Reclaiming the Sand is the first part of a series and can be read as a standalone. The sequel, Chasing the Tide will be out on 16 December 2014 as a continuation of Ellie & Flynn's story.