Note: This ARC was provided by Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Levi drew me pictures of dogs. He once brought me a worm he dug out of the dirt in his mother’s garden. He didn’t sing or play an instrument, but he told me I smelled like bubble gum. That was thanks to the bubble bath I insisted my mom use. We were young, and I remember hating him for swimming faster than me. But I also remember loving him, like little girls do. He was the one person I always wanted to play with.Which is why I dislike being around him so much now. I made up my mind a long time ago never to let a boy inside my heart again. It’s not Levi’s fault I feel this way, but he is the biggest threat to my vow, and that’s why I’ll push him away until he gets the hint I’m no good for him.
Is it too soon to name this series as one of my all-time favorites even though it's technically not over yet? Because if whatever's yet to come is as extraordinarily fantastic as Lips Close to Mine plus Talk British to Me before it, then I may as well just go out on a limb and declare Wherever You Go as a favorite. I was absolutely enamored with the series starter, so you can imagine how quickly my expectations for the second novel skyrocketed by the time I was done with Mateo Gallagher and Teague Watters's story. But then I should have known there was simply no way Robin Bielman would falter when it came to Levi Pierce and Harper McKinney. In Lips Close to Mine, she's written a tale about not allowing oneself to be swept away by the riptides of the past. Because while the water can at times be turbulent and toss us to and fro, it can ultimately be cleansing and provide solace without keeping one solitary.
Levi Anderson Pierce and Harper Annabelle McKinney met when they were three years old at a Mommy and Me swim class and became fast friends. Then they went to different schools in the second grade and didn't see each other again...that is, until the night they hooked up. The connection they once shared as children was still there, except now, there was that underlying attraction and a very different kind of draw as adults. But Harper doesn't want to have anything more to do with Levi as far as getting intimate once again is concerned. She doesn't do repeats and she isn't willing to get her heart involved in anything to do with a guy. She's already loved and lost, and seven years later, it's a loss that she still mourns. Allowing Levi to get close would be too much of a risk because if he did burrow himself within the closed-off recesses of her heart, she may never recover should she lose him too.
Sigh. This book was just...gah! These two twenty-three-year-olds may not have seemed to have a lot in terms of quantity stacked against them, but the baggage could have very well been insurmountable had either one of them given up on themselves and each other. Neither Levi nor Harper is at the point where they're over what happened with his ex-girlfriend and with her first love, though in Levi's case. I don't want to go into specifics, though if you've read book one in the series, then you'll have some idea what Levi's ex did and why Levi's friends hate her as much as they do. Harper's back story, particularly the one to do with her high school boyfriend, is heartrending, and there's a particular point in the story where she reveals to Levi what occurred when she and her boyfriend were sixteen that had me reaching for a tissue. It put everything that I knew about her up to that point into perspective.
Lips Close to Mine still brings with it moments of levity and lightheartedness that were a constant in Talk British to Me. However, this second in a series did have more angst but it's a warranted kind of angst. You'll get what I mean when you read the book, and I'm seriously encouraging--imploring!--you to do just that. Read this book. Read both books (in order, please, even if they can absolutely be read as standalones). I'm going to qualify my next statement by fully admitting that I haven't read ALL of Robin Bielman's books, but based on the ones that I have read, I'm going to say that this is her at her very best. She isn't telling you a story, and neither are her main characters. Nope, Bielman has made it possible for her readers to experience what Levi and Harper have and are going through. She made me feel and she so made me believe in the healing power of love. This book was everything. Five-plus stars. ♥
Read my reviews for the Wherever You Go series:
Talk British to Me (book one) - five-plus stars - My Review
Lips Close to Mine (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)
Release Date: 20 November 2017
Date Read: 18 November 2017
Learn more about Robin Bielman.