Author: Kim Holden
Publisher by: Do Epic LLC
Published on: May 19, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance
Page Count: 389
Related Books: Bright Side
The journey that began in top-rated, best-selling Bright Side, continues ... This is the story of Gus. Losing himself. Finding himself. And healing along the way.
“ … but the honest-to-God truth is I don’t even know how to function anymore. Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half ... the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”
“I make an effort to survive my own self-destruction.”
It’s been a while since I read a book from cover to cover. Back in January 2015, (with some gentle encouragement and a ton of virtual hand holding from Cristal, of Slow Readers Blog), I read Bright Side. Bright Side was one of favorite books of 2015. The story was phenomenal. It wrecked me emotionally, but it also made me think. It sounds cliche, but it made me want to be a better version of myself and live life to the fullest. I waited to read Gus’ book because I knew reading about his life and loss would wreck me. I’m glad that I finally dove in. Gus was a beautiful book. It was emotional, fulfilling, and it was not rushed at all. Kim Holden did her magic. She took her time building the layers of this story and I truly felt Gus’s pain.
“Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half … the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”
When the story begins, Gus is at this start of this amazing career. His band is about to go on tour and and his career is starting to peak. He should be happy, but Gus is broken. Gus is normally this funny, sweet, laid back, happy guy, but losing Bright Side left him shattered. Losing her was losing his best friend, his muse, his everything, and he was so lost without her.
Gus was just going through the motions of life but he was depressed, angry, and he wanted to numb is pain. Even his music did not console him like it did before. Kim Holden crafted in a way that you could not help but to feel Gus’ pain and rage. I cried and raged right along with him. Gus’ grief takes him down a dark path and when he fell, he fell hard. There were times that Gus flat out disappointed me. Gus’ grief was not easy or pretty and I love that Kim wrote it that way. It felt truthful to what someone in Gus’ position may do.
In midst of dealing with his grief, he has to deal with Scout McKenzie. Scout is initially brought on as Gus’ personal assistant. He’ s not keen on the idea, but he needs someone in his life to help whip his ass back into shape. Scout’s initial impression of Gus was that he was this jackass rock star that that did whatever he wanted. Scout was a character that I loved from the very beginning. She didn’t say much but when she did, it was straight honesty, no bullshit. She was always honest with Gus and she never treated him like a big rock star. I loved her sarcasm and wit. She had this external confidence, but on the inside Scout was broken too. Scout had a past that left her mistrusting of most people and hesitant of any relationship.
As time goes on, Scout gets to see more of the real Gus. She gets to see how he truly interacts with his band mates and with his mother. They don’t initially form a friendship, but they do form an understanding of each other. As times went on they learned more about one another. Neither needed a relationship but I could see a friendship that was beginning to form.
I love that this story wasn’t necessarily a romance BUT it did have romantic elements to it. This story was more about two people learning to find themselves. This wasn’t about Gus trying to fix Scout or Scout trying to fix Gus. They were just two individuals that were going through dark times in their lives and they happen to to meet one another. Their friendship helped to encourage the other, but it was also something that was intrinsic. They learned to rely on themselves first and I loved that message of the story.
“Sometimes you meet people and you know the meeting wasn’t chance. That they need you or you need them, sometimes both.”
Kim Holden perfectly weaved together this story. She let these characters fall to their lowest points and she built them back up methodically. I appreciated that that aspect of the story was not sugarcoated. The story was a mixture of humor, strong emotions, and just the right amount of angst and sexual tension. Kim also rewarded us with some truly sweet moments. The music, Bright Side’s memory, and friendships were all I could hope for. Yes, this book definitely made me cry, but most importantly it made me smile.