How To Say Goodbye by Amber Lin
Dane lives for the salty breeze and a sweet wave, because that’s all he has. He’s been on the streets since he was fourteen. A drifter. Homeless. Then he meets Amy. Smart and accomplished, she’s everything he’s not. He wants to be the sort of man who deserves her.
Except that means facing down his past—and that past might very well swallow them both.
Amy has lived a life of solitude, fortified by a protective wall of loneliness thanks to her mother leaving her behind to live with her uncle at a young age. She never knew what it meant to feel real love and tenderness, and she fell into a comfortable yet unsatisfying existence using what she knew—her mind. She was smart and beautiful but clueless when it came to the real world, but when she came across the stranger on the beach one day, she was intrigued by his intricate creation in the sand. Dane was a mystery that drew her in and made her actually FEEL, and she was desperate to not let him slip out of her grasp.
I loved Dane from the start, he was clearly beautifully damaged in some way and he had this sweetness to him despite how hard his life had treated him. Amy saw that too, well before she knew his history, and it was like a light finally came on in her world. I really struggled to connect to Amy at all in this story, though, which was frustrating because I wanted to so badly here. She was painfully shy and honestly her life and her thoughts about it were so slow and drab that I found myself wishing she’d change her personality. When Dane was around she became much more interesting though, and he brought out a side in her that was long hidden. As what he’d been through in his life was slowly revealed, it was hard to fathom how these two could possibly ever fit together, but I wanted so badly for him to get the well-deserved happiness he could find with Amy. Thankfully, they’d gotten under each other’s skin by that point and Amy wasn’t about to let his ghosts push her away from the man that finally lit that spark in her.
I liked how Amy’s view on life and her own decisions evolved as the story went along, she grew into a stronger person and it helped with my lack of a connection to her as a character. But I still felt like their relationship and the story itself lacked the chemistry and depth that it needed, which made the emotions they were supposed to be feeling seem less genuine. The storyline was something unique, though, and as one who always roots for the underdog, both Amy and Dane had me in their corner right up to the end.
~The girl had noticed him. Amy.
Her whole body had hummed with tension whenever he so much as glanced at her. Of course, she wouldn’t look at him again if she knew the truth. So he didn’t plan on telling her. ~Loc 351
~Her whole body felt lax. She viewed the world, and him, beneath heavy lids. A pulse began in the lower core of her body, and she understood as if she’d solved a puzzle. This was sex—not the act but the wanting. The longing. The wishing on a star. ~Loc 940
~He couldn’t share much with her, but what he could he knew by heart. That he wanted her, needed her. That he was ashamed of his past but not his present, and that would have to be enough. ~Loc 1512
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