Review: "Letting Go" by Jessica Ruddick

Note: This ARC was provided by Entangled Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Where had I gone wrong? When had I let my life get so fucked up? I was normally in control of everything.

And that was just the problem. I thought I had everything under control. What an illusion.

Corinne Elliott structured world falls apart when she receives the shocking news that the accidental death of her boyfriend, Tyler Pullman, was ruled a suicide. Only she and Tyler know the actual circumstances of what happened before his car wrapped itself around a tree and it's something that creates an unbelievable weight of guilt that she places upon herself. Desperate to get away from it all, she agrees to go with her best friend and roommate to a party hosted by the fraternity their sorority was paired with. There she meets Luke Evans, the one guy whose very presence shouldn't feel so right in her now-fractured universe.

As happy as Cori is to be around Luke, things go from bad to worse with almost everything else. Her financial aid has been put in jeopardy, no thanks to her parents, and she's forced to find some way to pay for her tuition for the following semester. She refuses to get student loans, not wanting to fall into the bottomless pit of accumulated debt. She work and may have to get back into pageants to earn scholarship money. Add to that maintaining her GPA, her growing feelings for Luke, and the secrets that she's keeping from everyone and sooner or later, Cori's fragile hold on life as she's known it may be difficult to maintain.

Letting Go is a new adult (NA) story and the debut novel of Jessica Ruddick, and what a debut it is! There's a lot of angst-fueled drama that goes on with lead character Cori Elliott, what with the death of her boyfriend which later turns out to be suicide, which leaves her with a lot of guilt because she was the last one to speak to him before he killed himself. Then everything else she has on her plate, i.e. her grades, college tuition, anger at her parents, and falling for fellow college student Luke Evans simply, simply adds on to the undeniable amount of anxiety and stress. The biggest problem Cori has isn't the amount of troubles she's juggling; it's her inability to share with other people what she's going through, leaving her carrying all the burdens on her own instead of asking for help. With her, it wasn't a lack of faith or trust but more of a desperate need to control everything in her world. She held on tighter when everything began to fall apart instead of loosening her grip or needing to finally let go when the situation called for it.

While Cori is mature and responsible, she's still quintessentially a new adult, someone in the cusp of still being a teenager and someone from whom more is expected. This is what makes her a lead character that others in the same age group can relate to, and even when the reader doesn't agree with her actions and choices, they can empathize with what she's going through. Even though I'm a couple of decades removed from where Cori is at, I can understand the need to handle things on my own, in my way and having difficulty in asking for assistance from the people around me. Maybe that's why I had such an affinity for her--because in more ways than one, I've been there and done that. She does a lot of growing up in this story and discovers things about herself that make her begin to make adjustments accordingly instead of forcing things to remain in the status quo. She's flawed but not entirely hopeless nor helpless, even though she does tend to feel that way, and with Luke, Amber, and her other friends, she finds out she is not alone.

This may be an emotional book but it does have light moments in it, mostly courtesy of Cori's and Luke's friends, so I don't want you guys thinking that it's got too much drama in it. Also, this is the kind of story that those in older age groups, such as myself, can fully enjoy, because hey, we were teenagers once and some of us, like me, still act like a kid every now and again (that's what keeps us feeling youthful...that's my reasoning and I'm sticking with it). Letting Go is Jessica Ruddick's first published work and there's a depth and complexity to it that goes beyond feel-good love stories are a dime a dozen. This makes me hopeful and I can't wait to see what other stories she'll be sharing with us in the future because you can be sure that whatever she's got up her sleeve, they'll be on my to-be-read list. I'm highly recommending this book and hope that other readers will fall in love with just like I did and that you'll welcome Cori and Luke into your lives with open hearts. Letting Go gets five-plus stars and I've added it to my list of favorite 2015 reads. ♥

Release Date: 26 May 2015

Date Read: 19 May 2015

Learn more about Jessica Ruddick here.

Pre-order Letting Go on Amazon | B&N | Kobo.


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