"You can try to run, and I may not be able to chase you physically, but we need to be clear on one thing, Ash. I will not let you go again."
Goodness, this series is emotionally draining! On the Ropes squeezes out every single bit it can from you, what with the story of three brothers who encounter life-altering events and are forced to either choose to let life pass them by or to get back up and fight another day. Aly Martinez's second novel in the series, Fighting Shadows, picks up soon after the events in the first book, Fighting Silence, which shows what happened to eighteen-year-old Flint Page as he tried to protect his sister-in-law, Eliza Reynolds Page, from a man seeking revenge. Here, it's pretty clear and quite expected that Flint isn't exactly thrilled at the fact that he's relegated to using a wheelchair, unsure if he ever will regain the full use of his legs after getting shot in the back. He struggles with both his physical and emotional issues and it's all heartbreaking.
We learn why Flint is as angry as he is, and it is solely because of his paralysis. I, for one, was surprised, but then I chalk it up to what his older brother Till says later on in the story (which I won't get into or else that'll spoil the book for you if you have yet to read it). He separates himself from his family and from boxing, choosing only to focus on earning his college degree while living on his own. But then he meets Ash Mabie and for the first time since he was shot, a sliver of light makes its way into the shadows that have been crowding his mind and heart. She's unlike any other girl he's met before, but just when he thinks he's finally found someone he can share his life with and make a commitment, one tiny fact about Ash comes out, and Flint reacts badly. Sometimes, you need to lose someone to discover their exact value in your life.
It took me a bit longer to get into Flint and Ash's love story compared to Till and Eliza's, and I think it had to do with Ash being a bit grating on my nerves due to her antics. But, let me say that she more than grew on me, and the girl proved her worth more than once, and if I wasn't an Ash fan at the beginning, I sure as heck was one by the end. As for Flint, yes, I was tempted to shake the guy once or twice because he seriously needed to get out of his head and look at the whole picture instead of allowing himself to wallow in his self-imposed misery. These two undergo their own set of trials, but, as always, their story is inspiring, as it focuses on being more than your circumstances and what people assume you are. It's also how, at the end of the day, family is the one thing you can count on. Fighting Shadows gets five-plus stars. ♥
Date Read: 05 February 2016
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