Review: Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O'Keefe (Everything I Left Unsaid #1)
Note: This ARC was provided by Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine in exchange for an honest review.
She'd been inevitable, all along. From the moment she picked up that phone, every road led them to each other.
Annie McKay was running from a life that was barely worth living. Starting over in a trailer park may not have been ideal but it was better than nothing. She simply wanted to leave her past behind, allow her bruises to heal, and be someone other than the person she was. With one call from a man named Dylan on a forgotten mobile phone, Annie willed herself to not hang up. She was no longer Annie; she was now Layla. She talked while he listened and she did what he asked. With each new call, he pushed her outside her boundaries and she went willingly. She trusted him in a way she didn't think possible after years of suffering the consequences of trusting one particular man. The connection between Annie and Dylan becomes something more, but even after everything they've shared, what remains unsaid could end them.
This is one of those books that leaves you slightly gasping for air and blindly grasping for clues that will give you the answers that will have to wait for a bit, because yes, Everything I Left Unsaid ends in a cliffhanger, fellow bookaholics, and author M. O'Keefe has done it in such a way that you're already far too invested in lead characters Annie McKay and Dylan Daniels to not want to know what happens next. This story that begins with one phone call, and while I'm sure many people would never think twice about ignoring a call from someone they don't know, what more picking up a phone that didn't belong to them, but let's admit that when you do that, you can't help but be a teeny, tiny bit curious about what would have happened had you answered. Both Annie's and Dylan's lives are changed irrevocably with that a single call.
Annie is damaged, but then, so is Dylan. We learn more about twenty-four-year-old Annie's past involving the monster she married and her own late mother and only get snippets of Dylan's history, but you can already tell that the man has his reasons for keeping it secret. Running away from your problems may not be considered a brave thing to do by some, but when the situation is one like Annie's, you're left without any other recourse. She struggles and she falters, but she continues to try to achieve her new sense of normalcy and you can't help but admire her for it. Yes, she does things over the phone that you probably wouldn't but this is all part of the new phase in her life. She knows she can refuse Dylan's requests, and it's not as if she doesn't go through the process of contemplating whether or not it's a good idea to acquiesce.
This story had me thinking about what I would have done if I were in Annie's position. Would I have run away from abusive husband or would I have reported him to the police? Would I have answered the phone when it rang? Sometimes, it's much easier to be more open and willing when you're talking to someone who knows nothing of your past or what kind of person you are. The anonymity is part of what gives you courage. Then there are her efforts at creating fledgling relationships with those in the trailer park, almost as if she's trying to create connections but is still hesitant in going all in because it's simply easier to sever them if or when the need arises. If I were Annie McKay, would I have had the courage to do half the things she did? It's often easy to claim we would do things differently without having any first-hand knowledge.
So, had I known that this book ended in a cliffhanger, would I have still decided to read it? Absolutely. The story is worth reading and these lead characters are worth knowing. Even the supporting characters, especially those in the trailer park, have piqued my curiosity. I am grateful to the publisher for sending me an invitation to read and review the sequel soon after I was approved to read this first book, so technically, I could have jumped straight in and gotten my answers to all the questions lingering in my head. Instead, I'm going to let it all marinate for a bit because this book hangover demands it. You can choose to wait until the sequel, The Truth About Him, has been released before reading Everything I Left Unsaid or you can go for it now. Just make sure you read this five-plus-starred novel because you won't want to miss out. ♥
Date Read: 21 October 2015
Learn more about M. O'Keefe here.