Published by: Omnific Publishing on June 17, 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
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ate one night Nicki Johnson plays with emotional fire and Googles her high school love, only to find his name splashed across the British gossip columns. Back in his native England, Adam Kincaid is successful and dating a woman from an aristocratic family like his own. With a career in politics, Nicki’s no slouch, but she knows Adam is living a world away from her life.
Yet there was a time he was no farther than the next locker. Nicki will never forget their year together in high school—the year of her sister’s death, the year her mother checked out. Adam helped Nicki through suffocating grief, and she led him through a coming of age. Was it just high school, or was it something more?
This review is painfully difficult for me to write, because I had such strongly mixed feelings about Beside Your Heart. It wasn’t a perfect book and there were a lot of things that I didn’t like, but there were also a few things that I did like.
The worst thing about Beside Your Heart is that we get the end of the book at the beginning. From the synopsis, I thought this book was going to be about Nicki googling her high school love (Adam), and then running off to England to meet him again. But that wasn’t the book at all. We get the prologue, which is about Nicki googling her “old high school love”, but then the entire rest of the book is about her high school relationship with Adam (sort of like a book-long flashback). But the problem with that was we knew at the beginning that their relationship didn’t last, so I never felt motivated to actually read about a high school relationship doomed to fail. There were no surprises in the book and I knew what was going to happen at the end from the very beginning, because it was in the prologue.
My other problem with the book was Nicki. At the beginning, I had the hardest time relating to her. She has a crush on Adam, but Adam has a girlfriend. So she spends MONTHS moping around, avoiding Adam at all costs because she “can’t bear to see her with his girlfriend”, and just feeling really sorry for herself because she can’t be with Adam. But the way she was acting made it seem like she had a huge history with Adam (like as if he was her ex-boyfriend), and that’s why she couldn’t stand seeing him with another girl. But in reality, she had never dated him and was barely even friends with him. And yet, it was “so painful” for her to see him with another girl. The whole thing just felt a little dramatic and exaggerated.
The below paragraph isn’t really a spoiler because we know from the prologue that Nicki and Adam’s relationship doesn’t last, but I’ll put it in spoiler tags just in case.View Spoiler » [The end of the book kind of reminded me with my relationship with my boyfriend… at first. Adam is a Brit living in America but is getting ready to go back to England. So now Nicki and Adam have to decide what to do about their relationship. Do they break up? Should she go to college in the UK so she can be with him? Do they try long distance?
My boyfriend is a Brit and when I met him he was in the UK and I was in America. We did a long distance relationship for a while, then I moved to the UK to go to college there so I could be with him. I would call that a “Happily ever after”.
Well, Adam and Nicki decided to take the breakup route because “long distance relationships don’t work”. I think this was where I fell out of sync with it. I think it irked me that my own life turned out better than Adam and Nicki’s relationship. I fell in love with a Brit and I got to stay with him. But Adam and Nicki’s relationship failed. So I kind of felt like, why should I read this book if my real life is better? I mean, I know not all books are happily ever after, but part of the reason I read is to fantasize. I like imagining the “what if’s” and some of the fun, unrealistic things. But if my own life is going to be more fun, romantic, and interesting then a book… then why should I want to read the book? Maybe that’s stupid and petty of me, but it’s kind of how I felt in the moment.
I think the story was just really personal and relatable for me, but it was less fun to watch the scenario that didn’t work (as opposed to it working like it did for me). « Hide Spoiler]
The thing that really saved Beside Your Heart was the romance. I know I didn’t understand Nicki’s obsession with Adam at the beginning, but once they finally got together and started dating, I loved their relationship. They were so cute together, and they just clicked! There were lots of sweet kissing scenes, some sex scenes, and just sweet romantic moments! And I really liked how Adam had a “no lying” policy, which he followed through with even when it wasn’t easy…
So, overall, I’m extremely uncertain about Beside Your Heart. I didn’t like how the ending didn’t provide us with anything we didn’t already know from the prologue ( View Spoiler » [except the fact that they see each other again years later, but I even guessed that from the prologue « Hide Spoiler] ), and I didn’t quite click with Nicki at the beginning. But there were some parts of the book that I did really enjoy. When the romance was at its peak, it was incredibly sweet and really fun to read about. I think I wish that the book was structured differently, or at least that the prologue had been cut out completely to keep some element of surprise in tact. Then I think I would have enjoyed it significantly more.