ARC Review: The Debt by Tyler King

9 May 2016

Book Title: The Debt
Author: Tyler King
Series: Standalone
Release Date: May 10th, 2016
Genres: New Adult Romance
Hadley saved my life . . . and I ruined hers Hadley's my best friend.

We share a house, our friends, a life. She knows all my secrets . . . except one. My desperate need for her is inked on my body, it's the best I can do. But Hadley needs to hear the words . . . Growing up as foster kids, Hadley made me feel whole-sane. And what did I do? I destroyed our chance to be together. I ran out on Hadley when I should have stayed, and something broke between us.

Now I'll do anything to fix it. I'll never leave her again. I won't ever let her feel afraid again. But the more I try to protect her from my pain, the more I just make things worse. I'm terrified that if I tell her everything, she'll never forgive me. I'm even more terrified that it may be too late to make her mine. I have to try to give her what she needs . . . it's a debt I'm determined to repay.

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Wow. I'm simply stunned that this is Tyler King's first go at writing. Well, I guess her first novel. With a degree in Creative Writing, creative doesn't adequately describe her writing style.

This is one of the very few instances where I'm offered an early copy for review and I see that it's a debut author and accept it. It sounds rather egotistical but there's only so many hours in the day and there's so many books out there. Something about The Debt's blurb caught my interest, so I read it...and devoured it.

The Debt is not easy, light-hearted reading. It's rather deeply complex and has dark undertones due to the characters' struggles with events that happened in their childhood. Josh and Hadley have known each other since they met in a seedy foster home at the age of five. A bond formed within the sickest of circumstances and that bond hasn't been broken almost twenty years later. Currently they live as soulmates roommates in his upscale home while they both harbor secrets from the past attend college; he a music major and she an art major.

Both Josh and Hadley have deep-seated emotional issues, so again, this is not a light-hearted read. Tyler King trickle feeds the reader along their day to day life as college students yet with blips from the past, therapy recollections, we understand the depth of the trauma both of these characters harbor. To say both have their own demons is not strong enough. Yet, for all their push and pull, their dysfunction in attempting to conquer these demons, they are each other's safe harbor in rough waters. Nobody else quite gets their insane connection because nobody else has lived through what they've survived. It's a never-ending vacillating of picking the other guy up when one is down...

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I felt myself fall so deeply for this story and their pain. Tyler King doesn't tell this story, Josh does, via all his internal monologue and dialogue between Hadley (aka Punky), his close musician friends, and his therapist. Her writing style perfectly presented the characters so we knew them as people, not just characters in a book. Josh was one of those characters I truly felt like I've known somewhere in my life, almost like a brother. His psychological issues are so raw and palpable yet Ms King instills such a dry sense of humor in him, likely his mental therapy, my heart completely melted. And then he'd do something so completely stupid in emotional self-preservation and I wanted to junk punch him. But I digress... He's so complex but the way it's written, we just get him. And Hadley is his special brand of kryptonite but also the glue that keeps him emotionally together.

I can't recommend this book enough to readers who want a fair amount of emotional depth to their reads, who want to push their boundaries and truly feel something for the story. It's angsty, a bit dark, emotional, and inspirational. I'd highly recommend this book for people who enjoyed the musical aspect of Thoughtless by SC Stephens (sans the annoying heroine and love triangle), the emotional darkness of The Dark Light of Day by TM Frazier, and the beautiful, almost poetic writing style of someone like CD Reiss. This quote, albeit long, is a perfect example of the poetic writing style of this author and the raw inner monologue of our hero...and I loved it.

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A fantastic debut novel from Tyler King and I look forward to everything she has to offer in her budding writing career.

Advanced copy received by Grand Central Publishing in exchange for my honest review. Quotes taken from pre-published copy and may change in finished product.

Tyler King was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Creative Writing. As a journalist, her work has appeared in Orlando magazine and Orlando Business Journal, among other publications.

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