Review: Low Over High by J.A. DeRouen (Over Duet #1)

Note: This ARC was provided by Sassy Savvy Fabulous PR in exchange for an honest review.

Low Over High is the first novel in author J.A. DeRouen's and if you've read her original Over series--Hope Over Fear, Wings Over Poppies, Storm Over Secrets, and Fire Over Frost--Marlo Rivers should be a very familiar supporting character, one that's difficult to forget with her oftentimes brutal honesty and anti-love-and-romance stance. The series is a favorite of mine, and I've often wondered when Marlo would get her turn to tell the story of why she is the way she is. Well, J.A. DeRouen has finally granted the wish of many readers and fans because we get Marlo's heartrending story told in only the way Marlo could have shared it. Most of this tale is pre-Hope Over Fear, spilling the secrets that Marlo keeps in the recesses of her heart and soul in the present, and while it is a past that has its share of painful moments, it's also one that has Marlo falling in love, having a deeper appreciation for family, and discovering the kind of young woman that she is. All of these give a more in-depth look at what's made Marlo who she is when we meet her in the original books, and it's a well-written, emotional young adult (YA) story.

Marlo "Low" Rivers decides to take her estranged mother up on her offer to spend her senior year of high school at the Orleans Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana. Moving away from her home state of Texas and from her father, brother, and grandmother--and let's not forget her four-legged furry buddy Fisher--isn't easy, but this country girl wants to experience what it's like to be in the city. At the academy, she meets new people and actually makes new friends. Unfortunately, she happens to make an enemy in the form of fellow student Everett "Ever" Montgomery and he doesn't think highly of her either. But with mutual friends and working at the same market thrown into the mix, Low and Ever are in each other's company more often than you would expect from two people who don't like each other and soon, they actually begin to like one another, and later, it becomes more than just liking each other. But both their lives have complications that make it difficult to oftentimes stay in the now and bask in the pockets of happiness they find in the other's company. Sometimes, walking away from it all is what's best...sometimes not.

If you've read the three full-length novels and the holiday short story in the original Over series, you know that those are adult contemporary romances. In the case of this first novel in the new Over duet, it's all about what took place eight years ago when Marlo was seventeen and entering her senior year in high school in a new city and school. The epilogue here, however, does take place in the present and it ties in to a scene in Storms Over Secrets where Alexandra Adler née Fontaine mentions to Marlo that the chef who catered Alex and West's wedding asked about her (and yes, I squeed a bit because I loved how J.A. DeRouen just connected those two moments so well). You can probably figure out who the chef in question is, so I'm guessing that the upcoming sequel, Ever Over After, is a second chance romance, because, fellow bookaholics, Low Over High ends in a cliffhanger of sorts. Marlo and Ever leave things hanging and while not everything is resolved, you won't be able to help yourself when it comes to anticipating how Ever plans on pursuing Marlo eight years afterwards and I can't wait! Five stars for Low Over High.

Release Date: 14 November 2016 11 November 2016 (early release)

Date Read: 14 November 2016

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