Hometown Heartless by Carrie Aarons
One year ago, the boy next door was captured as a prisoner of war.
The boy whose window faces mine.
The backyard buddy who bandaged up my skinned knees.
The childhood crush that kept me up at night, wondering if he’d ever be my boyfriend.
The town hero I wrote endless letters to after he shipped out.
The green-eyed charmer who promised me a kiss the day I turned eighteen.
And now, he’s home.
But he didn’t come back as the boy I once knew.
He’s a man now, one with demons I can’t comprehend.
The damaged soldier keeps telling me I’m not his anymore.
That the war took him, turned him into someone unrecognizable.
What he hasn’t considered is that it took me, too.
He swears there is nothing left between us, that his heart died overseas. But with each look through our windows, we both know his lies are just that. With each fated meeting, the truth only becomes more evident.
Everett Brock occupies the shadows now.
And as much as I try to pull him into the light, it seems the switch is permanent.
What he doesn’t realize is that I’m willing to follow him into the darkness.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is definitely one that you will want to take your time with. When I picked it up to start reading, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, despite having read the blurb. I know, from reading previous books by this author, that she tends to write very emotional books, but this book absolutely gutted me! She ripped me apart, and then put me back together again, leaving me with a smile on my face that I wasn’t sure I’d get.
Kennedy and Everette grew up as neighbors, friends, school mates. There was always the possibility, the potential, the promise of something more growing from that friendship, but Everette left for the Marines, and didn’t come home. Until he did. But even then, he wasn’t the same person that left her behind. What he saw, experienced, did on deployment changed him, made him feel he wasn’t whole. That he wasn’t good enough.
The level of emotions in this book blew me away. The author was able to take the thoughts and feelings of this soldier, and put it to paper in a way that devastated my heart, and made me think about all of the guys returning from war zones every day, and what they have to go through. Kennedy and Everette’s story gave not only the POV of this vet who had seen and experienced the very worst, but also the girl he left behind, who is having to deal with his horrors as much as he is. Their story left me with a sense of hope, that even the horrors of war can be overcome by love!