Blurb from Goodreads
Alex had everything when he was with Madison. But the darkness within him wouldn’t go away.
After two years apart, he returns to Pelican Bluffs and to the girl he never wanted to leave. Madison wants to give their love another chance, but Alex can’t fight fate.
He is what he is.
Ruined. Crazy like his mother. And Madison deserves so much more. When his secrets spill out into their small town, Alex has a choice to make. Hide away in the darkness forever, or let love in.
This sequel takes place 2 years after Castles on the Sand. Madison and Alex are baptized and go on their mission. But Alex feels that he started inherit her mom mental illness, schizophrenia. Therefore he thinks that it’s best to break his relationship with Madison because he doesn’t want to burden her with his illness.
Most of the characters are back and couples of them quite surprise me with their changes. I still think that Alex and Madison are meant to be together, despite of Alex pushing away Madison along the story. John is still a protective big brother to Madison, I like him for that and at the same time also annoyed with his protectiveness. Siraj is as sweet and understanding as always, I like him here even more. But, I’m kind of hard to except Alex and Kailie friendship. Knowing her illness, her behavior in Castles on the Sand is more understandable but seeing her interact and build a friendship with Alex makes me think whether this is the same person as I read before.
Yet, in some part I feel it is quite similar from its prequel. The way Alex cannot see how worth it him to be loved, how great he is, how hot he is and attracts many girls and even the way he thinks that he doesn’t deserve Madison, all of it are similar to Madison thought in Castles on the Sand. As much as I understand Alex’s thought, I cannot help feeling that it’s quite repetitive and have similar voice with different background. Madison being as an abusive victim while Alex with his mental illness. Despite the similar feeling that I got, I love the way Alex described it.
I love this story tells from Alex POV. It gives me more understanding to his illness. Hence, I can feel it clearly. His symptoms, while he is in an episode, his relapse are well described. It’s so vivid I feel sad for him a couple of times. I even quite hard to tell what is real and if it’s just Alex’s hearing voices when he has an episode. I feel this book is darker than its prequel. And this book reminds me so much of Lights in the Shadows by A. Meredith Walters, another book about mental illness. I liked how both books give me something to learn and kind of open my eyes and my thought.
Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars