Review: Not Made to Last by Jay McLean


Note: An advance reader copy (ARC) was provided by the author.

"You lost someone you just met. I've lost my best friend. You've known me for weeks... I've loved you for years."

It's been over two years since Jay McLean last published a novel, and while I have missed perusing and wading in this author's words, I'll take waiting between releases knowing that my patience will be richly rewarded. In short, quality over quantity any day, any time, especially when it's storytelling as breathtaking as McLean's. Not Made to Last is her latest release, and it was most certainly made to get lost in. I spent the day getting to know eighteen-year-old Olivia Mitchell and nineteen-year-old Rhys Garrett. She literally bumps into him one night, and there's an unexpected kinship between the two. It may not make much sense, not when Liv and Rhys appear to have been living such different lives and come from diverse backgrounds. But maybe they aren't as mismatched as they seem to be at first glance. Now though, what was supposed to be a single night in each other's company has left them wanting. But will the desire for more lead to the harsh realization that what they share is not something meant to last?

If you're looking for a fluffy new adult romance, I highly suggest you check out the plethora of titles available out there. Jay McLean writes the kind of romance that has layers of complexities, with characters that are most certainly NOT cookie-cutter and stories that may or may not—definitely may—require the use of tissues at some point. Not Made to Last is at par with everything else of McLean's that I've read, in that I dove in and welp, there was no hope for anything else I had scheduled, which basically "just" sleep. Because how the heck was I expected to simply stop reading when Liv and Rhys and their beautifully complicated, angsty love story sucked me in from the get-go? The book's blurb barely scratches the surface, and that's more than okay because it did its job, which was to lay the foundation for an epic romance and had me anticipating what's between the covers from the time it was announced.

I appreciate that this author doesn't underestimate her readers. She knows we expect a happily-ever-after, but she also shares the story that she wants to, acknowledging that even true love doesn't guarantee issue-free and hassle-free journeys. Both Liv and Rhys have experiences that have shaped who they are. They aren't necessarily damaged; maybe a bit battered and bruised, but they're resilient, trying their best to keep their heads above water. When their lives intersect, they become each other's touchstones, like buoys that keep them afloat through all the other storms that life challenges them with. McLean breaks your heart, but rest assured that she stitches it back together by the end. Not Made to Last is as thought-provoking as it is heartrending yet hopeful, and it's one of 2024's best. Five-plus stars.

Release Date: 05 April 2024

Date Read: 31 March 2024

Learn more about Jay McLean.

Purchase Not Made to Lost on Amazon.

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