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Cross My Heart Kindle Edition
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Jaden McEntyre was initially introduced to me as the typical goody-two-shoes, who never stepped a toe out of line and who would most certainly not dream of engaging herself with anyone who would put that at risk. Unfortunately fate decides otherwise and puts her will to defend her grades to the test, when it pairs her up with Parker Whalen for an assignment.
Parker Whalen also views this event as the most cumbersome annoying obstacle that he has to overcome and withstand to maintain his own reputation.
It was very safe to say that this was a case to agree to disagree and just get on with the school project. The sooner the better. At least that's what any reader would think. Right? Wrong!
The desperate need for these two characters to uphold what they have fought for throughout their school years, forces them to put their issues aside and to work together in a constructive manner to end this quickly. However they eventually also end up putting aside what they were initially fighting to preserve: reputation. In doing so a whole new perspective opens up to them.
Jaden turns out to be not quite as sure as to what she really wants, and willing to put a whole foot out of line! Starting off a somewhat simple character she develops into something more and by the end I was really rooting for her.
Parker on the other hand goes from being exactly what he seems: a shady character with a rather nasty background, to one big fat mystery! The question is "can you lie and be yourself at the same time?". He intrigued me until the very end, and neither I nor Jaden realised who he was for quite a while.
This story unfurled itself a bit like a romance YA wrapped in a murder mystery. We had the main characters interacting (or may be I should say arguing) and figuring things out, whilst something bigger slowly developed in the background, taking a small step closer to them with every chapter.
With a good combination of romance and mystery Cross My Heart was a lovely read I very much enjoyed that rose above my expectations. Katie Klein is definitely an author whose work I will be keeping an eye out for.
If you like this I would suggest Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire a romance YA with a hint of mystery. If however you're looking for something purely romantic YA then I would recommend Breathe and The Vincent Boys series by Abbi Glines, Fall for me by Melissa Marks and Her Best Friend's Brother by T.J. Dell.
Cross My Heart at first glance may seem like that typical, cliched high school romance story that everyone (even if secretly) loves. Everything about this book screams the cliche, but the funny thing is, it's not. Or even if you think it is, everything about this book has been written so brilliantly that it simply doesn't matter.
Take the characters, for example. Starting with our heroine, Jaden. She's smart, on the honour roll, salutatorian, works in the school's office, loved by every teacher, supporter of every charity known to mankind. She's also (even though it's only briefly touched on) a cheerleader and dates one of the school's basketball players. Who's also popular, and by the sounds of it, quite a terrible kisser. Yet Jaden is more than meets the eye; in fact, she's one of the most well rounded characters I've ever read. And you can relate to her and what's going on in her life.
And let's not get started on Parker, our male lead. Not only is the gorgeous bad boy such a thrill in a book, he's also smart. He challenges Jaden so much. They argue about Wuthering Heights (I'm on Jaden's side there), Mr. Darcy (how dare he diss the Darcy!!) There's so much more to Parker's 'everyone think's I'm the bad boy but I'm not really persona that comes across, and that's GOOD. The chemistry as well, between these two characters is amazing as well. Hell, everything about this book is just damn amazing. The connection that they have, right from the moment Jaden and Parker get assigned together for the project is like a big BOOM! They just fit.
Even the minor characters in the book are fantastic, from Jaden's best friend Savannah, to her family, especially her brother Daniel. Nothing back the characters in the book is perfect, they all have their different flaws (like her mother won't listen to her, her Dad focuses more on work than on home life...sometimes). But funnily enough, that's what makes them more real. More human. It makes them ALIVE!
This book has everything that a great contemporary love story should have. Brilliant characters, a fantastic plot that isn't at all what you think. I found myself never wanting it to end, or never wanting to put it down. The fact that it is 4:15am on Christmas morning and I am up - having just finished reading Cross My Heart - posting this review is just testament to it's awesomeness. No wonder it was on Amazon's Teen Top 100.
Klein also writes with a great sense of humour and style. The book was full of little quips - like the conversations between Jaden and Parker, or Jaden and her brothers (especially Phillip) that just have you snorting out in laughter. There's also the small things, the mannerisms of the characters and the detail that Klein takes to put these mannerisms in to show off a character's personality. Like Jaden picking off the crusts on her sandwich (which I totally do!).
This book is by far my favourite book of 2011 in the contemporary category at least. An amazing read, one that I'm sure I will never get sick of. I'm looking forward to diving into more of Klein's books, including Guardian, a new series.
As soon as I realised that they were reading Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, I downloaded it from Amazon (for free) and read it before going any further with Cross my Heart - it's a fairly short book and I read it in one evening. It's really not completely necessary as Jaden gives a handy summary of the main plot points, but (seeing the parallels with Jaden here), I'm a bit of a literary nerd, and like to be prepared. It's just a personal choice though - I don't think you would lose any enjoyment of Cross My Heart if you hadn't read Ethan Frome.
There is a genius plot twist, which I honestly did not see coming, that was so good I think I'm going to have to re-read it (even though I just finished it!) to see if I can spot any clues that I clearly missed the first time.
To say anymore would be to ruin the book for others, and I wouldn't want to deprive anyone else of the joy of reading this book. I loved it, loved it, loved it, and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good read with believable characters, a brilliant plot and an amazing twist.
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