Book Review: If You Leave

If You Leave by Courtney Cole: 26-year old Gabriel Vincent is a badass hero. Or he used to be, anyway. As an ex-Army Ranger, Gabe never thought he needed anyone. But after one horrible night in Afghanistan scars him in a way that he can't get past, he needs someone who can help him heal...even if he doesn't realize it.

25-year old Madison Hill doesn't need anybody...or so she thinks. She grew up watching her parents' messed-up abusive relationship and she knows there's no way in hell that she's ever letting that happen to her.

They don't know it in the beginning, but Gabriel and Madison will soon develop a weakness: Each other.

But Gabriel's got a secret, a hidden monster that he's afraid Maddy could never overcome... And Maddy's got issues that she's afraid Gabe will never understand. They quickly realize that they need each other to be whole, but at the same time they know that they've got demons to fight.

And the problem with demons is that they never die quietly.

File Size: 539 KB
Print Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Forever (August 6, 2013)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group
Language: English
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Enabled
Lending: Not Enabled

TeriLyn's thoughts: As an avid reader of this genre I know how much emphasis we put on "book boyfriends", myself included. Madison Hill from If You Leave changes that for me. Madison would be top five on my list of book girlfriends. She is an incredibly strong heroine. She's also incredibly broken. Tainted by the volatile relationship of her parents and scarred from their tragic death leaves Madison a shell of her former self. But she never stops. She assumes responsibility for her parents lives even though she resents them. This stems from the fact that Madison is devoted and loyal to those that are closest to her. Her healthiest relationship is with her sister Mila and her brother in law. The closeness of their relationship is so reflective of her loyalty and devotion. Madison has been through so much in her young life and has overcome such tragedy that her willingness to even get out of bed in the morning is admirable. A lot of people crumble for much less.

Madison is floating through life, wanting a partner like Mila has found in Pax, wanting to get back to where she feels secure in her life. And while Madison is strong she also wants a protector. She finally finds that in Gabriel. Courtney Cole wrote this story so well that I felt the connection to Gabriel through Madison when she first laid eyes on him in the alley behind the club. It was almost instant that you knew they would be perfect for each other to start healing.

Gabriel is broken. The stories of his time in Afghanistan are gut wrenching. His inner monologues make you just want to reach out and hold his hand. He is also an arrogant ass. He's fun. And he wants Maddy. It's no wonder why she is so drawn to him; he's a walking contradiction. Strong and powerful yet mentally he's broken. When Gabe finally opens himself to actually feel he knows that he can help her heal even if he can't help himself. My favorite scene in the story is when they are trapped at Madison's house and he aids in her conquering her fears. It's cleansing and uplifting. Gabe has it in him to quietly conquer. Madison is the push he needs to conquer his own fears. There's a point in the story where Maddy asks him if "everyone is broken". Gabe answers honestly and his answer, while simple, is quite thought provoking. Cole also makes it a point to honor our troops and the sacrifice they make every day for our freedom with her words. If You Leave reminds of that sacrifice in a big way and makes you thankful.

Madison and Gabriel are awesome. Their connection is hot. Their banter is fun. And their moments of complete vulnerability make you feel vulnerable too. Courtney Cole nailed it. If You Leave is a powerful and beautifully written story.

Lori L. Clark

She Reads New Adult Admin: Lori L. Clark

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