Published: July 30, 2012
Source: E-book from the author in exchange for an honest review
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Sometimes the love our heart needs to heal can be found in the familiar eyes of a childhood friend...
Julie Porter learned the hard way that trust is something which must be earned and not something to be given out lightly, those who say they love you are those who hold the power to hurt you most, and best friends can help you survive anything—until they move away.
Nick Owen knows a thing or two about a hard life. At a young age Nick learned how to take a hit and to make lemonade out of the lemons life tossed his way. Returning home after nearly two years of being away, all Nick cares about now is protecting his mom from the abusive hands of his father and catching up with his best friend—the girl who lived across the street, the girl he can’t seem to stop thinking about.
Finally reunited after two years apart, Nick and Julie are about to learn that age does nothing to protect you from life’s trials and tribulations, heartache and loss, but maybe together they’ll find a way to survive.
The Unloved offers two things that I have a soft spot for: a pairing with a history, and a guy who is protective of the girl he cares for; one alone would have been enough to make me grin, but two put me over the top. I fell hard for this story about two childhood friends who both yearn to become more, and leave their troubled lives behind, and while there were some serious flaws that didn't make this an epic read for me, it was still definitely enjoyable.
Nick and Julie both have their share of issues, but Jennifer Snyder made them equally compelling characters. I won't even try to pretend that I didn't fall a bit in love with Nick, whose greatest wish is to see his Jules smile, and to look after her. Both Julie and Nick did some growing over the course of The Unloved, in order to rise above their circumstances. And to be honest, Julie needed to do a LOT of soul-searching and growing-up. She was a hot mess more often than not, and if I was exasperated with her at times, I also liked her. I just couldn't help but cheer for this couple, because it was easy to see from their history, how much they cared for one another, and I just really wanted them to have their happy ending.
The Unloved was an enjoyable read, but this is definitely a "new adult" book, toward the older range of the YA spectrum. Snyder doesn't sugar-coat anything: there's drug use, and various sexual situations, at least one of which is violent. I thought for the most part these issues were well-developed, and not glossed over, or trivialized in any way. Instead, they were treated as serious issues, and served as fundamental conflicts for Nick and Julie.
Although at times the writing felt as if it lacked polish, and the characters definitely made some questionable decisions, I still liked The Unloved. I'd definitely recommend it to older YA readers who are looking for a heart-wrenching, if frustrating at times, story.
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