on 15 April 2014
Black box is real and raw, it looks at a painful and heart-breaking journey of two people who have been brought together by fate, on more than one occasion.
Both Mikki and Crush have experienced harsh tragedies in their lives, along with these events there paths cross, which in turn changes the way in which there lives play out in extraordinary ways.
You can almost feel the connection between Crush and Mikki, they seem to have this invisible thread that holds them and pulls them together when ever the other needs support. Even with the dark events and trouble this pair have been through they were always meant to be. They are the others saviour, they are the others life line.
This book shows that even though fate may play a part in our lives, we have the power to choose to follow a different path and to choose our own destiny.
Black box is such a powerful read, your left feeling that even when life throws people some real bitch of situations and circumstances, you can with the right support overcome it, especially when you may not necessarily be equipped to deal with it alone
How love may just be strong enough to go up against fate.
Black box is ultimately a book about the power of love. This book grabbed me and held on until the very last page.
The ending was so very fitting, I usually like to know that the characters have reached there HEA at the end of a book, but the way Cassia has finished Black box it kind of left to you to give them that in your mind. The story is finished but your still thinking about Mikki and Crush, it just beautiful.
Highly recommend this book, 5 amazing bright stars.
on 14 August 2014
Black Box is about Mikki, a young troubled teenager who is hoping to fly to LA to end her life. That isn't a spoiler, we find out within the first chapter or so. Whilst at the airport discovering her flight has been delayed, she meets rich Harvard boy Crush. The book alternates between Crush and Mikki's point of view and whilst I thought this would be a problem for me, we were introduced to it very slightly and the different points of view became natural to the story line after a while. Without telling you too much about the story, I will tell you that this book is a romance, with some dark parts about the character's past that were very difficult to read.
If you are particularly sensitive to themes involving rape, abuse, drugs or suicide, you probably shouldn't read this book.
I feel as though I should start this review by saying how much I adored this book. I was gripped and read it in two sittings and even though I finished it over 4 hours ago, it's still on my mind. As with most of the books I've been reading lately, I try to go into them without knowing anything about the story line or the characters, as it's so much easier to appreciate the book that way, so that is what I did with this book and whilst I was surprised by the parts that I wasn't expecting, I was also glad that I didn't know it was coming.
Throughout the book we learn about Mikki's demons and it helps to show her character development throughout. I was pleased with the way Mikki changed throughout the course of the book and I liked that I slowly saw her walls being taken down. In some ways, I did feel I could relate to her character, as earlier in my life, I did spend quite a bit of time thinking about suicide and wanting to hide away from the world, although thankfully that's where the similarities stop. Whilst Mikki's past is one of the larger themes within this book, we also learn about some of Crush's demons as well, which was interesting because whilst they were a huge part of the story - his character never let it overshadow him helping Mikki overcome her fears and she was always the main focus for him.
I only had one slight problem with this book and that's the Twitter aspect of it, and how they previously met via Twitter. I felt it was unnecessary to the story and seemed unrealistic, despite 'fate' playing a large role in the story as well. With the huge chance encounter being a main point in the story, I felt that this aspect was over the top and felt too forced. Thankfully, this only took up a tiny part of the book and the rest of the story was wonderful to read.
As a final note - I'd like to mention the "playlist" at the back of this book. I discovered so many beautiful songs that fit so well with this book through the playlist and would highly recommend checking them out after you read this book.
I would definitely recommend reading this book (if you are not sensitive to the subjects mentioned before) as it is a great slow-paced character-driven read that I will be rereading in the future. If you've read this book, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it as I haven't read many reviews yet.
on 10 March 2014
It has been days since I have read Black Box. Our blog received an ARC for being a part of the Black Box blog tour. Even after pondering on this story for days to try to form the right words to give Black Box the review that it deserves, I am still speechless. I assure you that this does not happen often. Usually as soon as I finish reading a novel I immediately write up a review for it, but this story deserves more than a quick review. I say this because this story had so much meaning behind the words. It was as if Cassia was trying to put subliminal messages in the writing. Black Box is not like anything Cassia has ever written before. Yes, the cover says that it is a love story, but it so much more than that. Every time I read one of Cassia's novels I say to myself, that this is by far my favorite read from her, but then she goes and writes another masterpiece and I am left torn and feeling guilty for altering my favorite's list. Luckily, her writing is so unique in every story that I am able to justify my love for each by categorizing them.
Anyway, let me tell you a little bit about the story. Black Box has two main characters: Mikki and Crush. I loved both characters. Their personalities were unique and engaging. Mikki and Crush are both striving to overcome the hand that they have been dealt in life. I must say, their fate has not been kind. Fate has brought them together on three separate occasions, or was it luck? What is the difference? "Fate is for fairy tales. It's a romantic notion. Luck is what happens when you're in the right place at the right time...with the right person." I cannot go into detail about each occasion without giving the story away and I will not do that! So, I will tell you about how Mikki and Crush are together now. Mikki was diagnosed with type-two bipolar. Mikki cannot accept the fact that she cannot control..hmm..how do I describe this? Control her right to autonomy? As a result, everything that Mikki does is the opposite of what people consider "the norm". Crush on the other hand copes with his issues differently. At one point in time he did hit rock bottom, but what both characters have in common is that they relied on Black Box as an outlet or you can say as a guide? It can also be an influential coping mechanism. "There is a little blackness inside all of us." That is one thing that Black Box has taught Mikki and Crush. So, as a final straw Mikki has booked a flight to California with the intention to end it all. She wanted to commit suicide in a place where it wouldn't cause her family grief. She just wanted to go alone and peacefully without interruptions. Crush just so happened to be going to California as well, but for different reasons. However due to weather their flight was cancelled. As soon as Mikki entered the airport Crush knew she looked familiar but couldn't place her. With that, he approached her. He prayed to God that Mikki was not the person that he thought she was. With their flight being cancelled, Crush asked Mikki to join him for coffee. He knew something was up because he got the impression that she didn't want to go home and he wanted to know why. "Something is telling me she wants to die." Mikki reluctantly agrees to accompany Crush for coffee. Crush is not ready to let her out of his sight. He is grabbing for straws trying to find a way to stay in the presence of Mikki. Luckily for him, Mikki is not left with many options because she did not plan for the flight to be cancelled therefore she was not financially prepared. This is how the story progresses. It is then that both Mikki and Crush will learn how Black Box has once again brought their worlds together.
To find out the rest of the story you MUST read the novel. I assure you, you won't be disappointed.
on 17 March 2014
This is a beautifully written story about two broken people that heal and save each other lives. Like I said before this is not your hearts and flowers romance this is a drama filled love story. Dark thoughts and dark acts are shown through out. Mikki and Crush have three separate encounters that shape their lives forever. The book flashes back to each of the encounters and shows how one encounter does save one or both lives. I don't know how to put into words how much this book touched me. Cassia Leo has a way of showing people at their lowest point and makes you understand their struggles. This is a must read!!
on 10 March 2014
I really can't put into words what this book did to me. It has totally and completly consumed my thoughts. Through out the book Cassia broke me then shattered me then slowly put me back together.
This was not an easy journey but so worth it. I've been Mikki I think we all have been at one point and Cassia just wrote her character with flaws and all to perfection. Crush is running and has lost sense of who he is there is a need to prove to himself that he has not failed those he feels he let down. These are two imperfect people that learn that flaws and faults that are not your own do not make you unloveable.
There is no doubt in my mind that everyone needs to read this story and become consumed by it. Readers need to feel the emotions that Mikki and Crush felt. This book will forever be in my heart.
"I'm not invisible. I'm here and I'm suffering. And I don't know how to stop it."
"Do not be afraid; our fate can not be taken from us; it is a gift."
on 23 April 2014
Before you read this review go follow @AuthorCassiaLeo on Twitter and gush over the masterpiece she has created here.
It's @WorldBookNight tonight and so an apt moment to finish one of my all-time favourite books.
Black Box was a frantically incredible glimpse at, simply, the unyielding power of love.
Mikki and Crush are two young adults who have seen the very worst that life can throw at them but find redemption and validation in the arms of each other.
Set against the backdrop of the beautiful city of Boston, where the two find one another after needing to do so for years, Black Box is tense, impactful and a sorry loss once you've devoured it whole.
Because once you've started it, Black Box won't leave your eyes until you reach the end. And it won't leave your mind for weeks.
on 12 June 2015
My rating: 3.5
This eBook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Before beginning this book readers need to be aware, particularly those of a more fragile nature, that it contains themes of mental illness, sexual abuse and suicidal tendencies; but that does not mean this is not a great book. The strap line on the cover of Black Box by Cassia Leo says “Not just another love story” implying that whilst it does fall under the romantic genre there is something more to the novel.
The book begins, in a way, with a cliffhanger. The date is January 8th and the narrator appears to be about to experience, and possibly die, in a plane crash. Before the author reveals the outcome she back tracks to January 3rd where the story, Black Box, genuinely begins.
There are two main characters and the narrative constantly changes from one point of view to the other. This helps the reader to understand both characters’ experiences: past and present. Nineteen-year old Mikki wants to kill herself. She has tried more than once in the past but this time she has a more detailed plan, one that her family would be unable to interfere with. By lying about her real intentions she books a flight to Los Angeles to get as far away from Boston as she can, however she does not anticipate the severe snowy weather which cancels all flights for the next few days.
Stranded at the airport she meets Crush, a guitar playing Harvard student who was meant to be on the same flight as her. With the niggling feeling that he has met her before, Crush convinces Mikki to go to a coffee shop with him and later, sensing her reluctance to return home, offers to share a double bedroom suite with her at a local hotel until the flights can be rescheduled. During this time together Crush works out why he recognizes Mikki. He once saved her life after she was physically abused and can prove this as he left the only copy of a book his grandpa wrote, titled Black Box, with her that night; a book she still possesses.
The few days they spend in each other’s company helps Mikki more than the years of therapy she has endured since being diagnosed with bipolar. It also helps Crush deal with his own demons and both of them begin to realize they want to live. They also have fallen in love for the first time in their lives and begin to believe they were meant to be together.
It always seems unrealistic that characters in novels fall in love so quickly but their devastating pasts make the reader yearn for them to stay together; they both deserve some happiness and a life worth living. The first person narratives are written so well it is like reading a true story rather than fiction, which makes their experiences even more distressing. Sadly there are people in the world that would be able to relate to either Mikki or Crush, and depending on their current situation may prefer not to read this book. However, Leo has mentioned in her acknowledgments that readers have contacted her to share their own personal experiences.
The downside of this novel was the use of foul language. That may not bother some people, and it is evident that the world today is less shocked by swear words, but it is not necessary to include so much of it. The language was probably intended to make it more realistic and emphasize the pain the two characters feel. If it had only been during the dialogue that these words were used it would have been better than reading them throughout the narrative.
Although shocking and dark in nature, Black Box gets very gripping, especially as life seems to be looking up for Mikki, yet the reader has already read about the upcoming plane crash. With breath held in hope that everything will turn out okay, it is easy to rush through the final chapters. Whether or not there is a happy ending is something you will have to find out by reading it…
on 11 February 2015
Having read a few of Cassia Leo's books, and seeing a lot of people recommending this book on Facebook and Goodreads, I decided to buy it. I've loved everything I've read by Cassia Leo so far, and this book was no exception. In fact, this was one of my favourite books of the year so far.
I was immediately drawn into this book. The story was told through alternating POV, between Mikki and Crush. As I started to learn more about their pasts, I started to realise that their pasts were linked, and I couldn't wait to find out exactly how. It only took me a few days to read this as it was impossible to put down for more than a few hours.
From the start of the story we're told that Mikki has had some problems in her past, and an 'accident' was often referred to. I was really curious about what could have caused Mikki so much upset that she wanted to take her own life. When I did discover what had happened to Mikki, it was truly horrifying and I immediately felt for her and admired her strength for carrying on for so long.
I loved Crush's character. He was so gentle and understanding with Mikki, never pushing her or expecting more than she was willing to give. He really helped her to open up and start to see that she can still enjoy her life despite the horrors of her past.
This story was incredibly emotional, and had me coming back for more time and time again. This was a lovely standalone from Cassia Leo, and I'll definitely be reading some more of her books.
on 24 August 2014
I really really wasn’t sure that I was going to like this book. It deals with a lot of dark issues that I’m usually uncomfortable with; I’m a unicorn and hearts kind of girl. Despite that I am really happy that I read this book. It’s taught me that good writing can change your mind about what you normally enjoy in a book, that you should take chances on the books that you pick. The darkness of the book and the slightly taboo subjects were treated with respect and dignity and I think that went a long way in making this book a success. Anyone who has suffered from depression will recognize Mikki’s struggle. Poor Mikki…..as I was reading I was just blown away by the raw pain that was coming off the page, it was almost impossible for me to mentally process the trauma that Mikki has been through. She comes through as a very strong person but you get the feeling that she’s just barely holding her head about the water. Just when she’s at her lowest point she meets Crush. Crush has his own dark past that he’s had to deal with; also Crush and Mikki have a sort of kismet that I found really endearing. Their journey together while they explore and bond over the Black Box (no spoilers here!) was filled with ups and downs, it was really a literary roller coaster. The characters had a depth and breadth to them that usually isn’t seen in the genre and I was pleasantly surprised. Also the story arc with the Black Box gives it an almost psychological thriller aspect that elevates the whole plot to another level. I think the best books are the ones that can surprise you and knock you out of your complacency….this is one of those books.
on 30 July 2014
This is my first book by this author and I've heard such good things about her work . She is renowned for her somewhat dark and twisted romances but the idea of this story featuring two damaged almost star-crossed people attracted my attention. A romance aimed at young or new adults but a story to capture the interest and heart of all lovers of a good book.
Mikki is a young woman with little and no hope in her life. Tired of living and oh so tired of her mental pain she realises that release is her choice and freedom possible. Her plan is to travel to the ocean and take all those tablets she has secreted away but the flight she books will change the course of her life.
Crush is a young man torn asunder by guilt but he has channeled all his emotions into writing one song Black Box and he wants to travel to Los Angeles to perform it. He doesn't really expect fame or fortune but at the terminal he meets a young woman Mikki whose very essence calls to him but as they learn more about each other it's clear that fate has a strange way of leading us mere mortals through life and with love anything is possible.
What a unique book and so very different to what I expected. I can well understand now why this authors work has been so highly praised and from the very beginning the reader is pulled into the story as we follow Mikki and her very real wish to end her life. This sounds like such a dreadful premise and yet the author cleverly uses dual prospectives to bring her story to life with flashbacks that show previous events that resonate in the present. Such a multiple layered story that I felt as if I was unraveling the most beautiful and heartbreaking love story. Yes there is heartbreak in this book but there's love and hope too. Broken damaged people finding and saving each other. A memorable story that will stay with this reader . This was happily a standalone book but I will certainly be checking out other stories from this very talented author . This is aimed at young adults due to it's dark content and is not suitable for younger readers.