Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: Where Life Takes You by Claudia Y. Burgoa

Summary from Goodreads:

BECCA TRENT LIVED HER CHILDHOOD NEXT TO A CRUEL WOMAN—her mom—who lived to torment and neglect her. During her high school years, her mother married; bringing home not only a new husband, but a step sister her same age. The latter took over her Mom's role—making Becca's life miserable. Including stealing Ian—Becca's best friend and boyfriend—Lisa treated her worse than her mother had for the previous fifteen years. A couple years later, thing ended up in tragedy.

Becca buried that part of her life in the deep corners of her psyche, caught between sanity and nightmares. Between therapy, work and her constantly looming past she can't seem to find room to breathe. The memories of her late step-sister, Lisa, are her closest company.

Her best friend, Dan gives her that family love she always lacked. Everything was close to perfect, until everything and everyone from her past came back. Now she's trying to figure out how to survive and keep that bond which seems now to be held together by a thread.

Note: This is the first part of a two book novel

NOTE: I received a copy from the author via Xpresso Book Tours. This is my honest review.

I need to say this up front, so whoever's reading the review now, could decide if they want to keep on reading. This book contains mature scenes, and scenes of sexual abuse. Be warned that I wouldn't recommend it for readers younger than 18, or such with soft hearts. If you identify yourself with one of those categories of readers, please move onto something else. Otherwise, continue - you will probably enjoy the book as much as I did. Thanks!

From the moment I read the synopsis ages ago, I was hooked. Too bad I'd forgotten which book the synopsis belonged to. It took me a while to figure it out, but finally - finally I did, and I read Where Life Takes You in almost one sitting. I was extremely pleased with how it clenched my heart and even now won't let go until I get my hands on book two - Next To You.

Burgoa has done an amazing job writing a beautiful story with realistic characters who had to deal with life any way they could.

Writing style:
Intoxicating, to be honest. It grabbed me from the very first page and I couldn't make myself put it down. Such a narrative isn't very easy to find.

Story line:
One thing I want to say as a start - this book is not a cliche that you've read 100 times before. There's no story like this one that I've read in the past, so it's safe to say it's original. Yet, it's got everything to make it a great, fulfilling story. It has love and passion, it has misery, doubt, pain. It's got real life drama that will hook you up.

-Parental neglect and hatred and how a child can cope with them
-Bullying, in its worst form
-Rape and how it lives on in the mind of the victim
-Love, that (perhaps) can conquer all
-Friendships that are strong enough to keep you going even in the darkest times

In the beginning, Becca appeared to be just a normal girl. Sure, she had some mediocre problems, and we learned a little about her not-so-pink past, but it's no biggie. Then things started to clear out and page after intoxicating page, we're plunged into the life of a young woman who was so broken inside, she had no idea if she could ever be mended and become whole again. Her past has never been butterflies and flowers. She's been neglected and hated by her mother, terrorized by her step-sister and her former best friend. She has been traumatized on so many levels, I honestly couldn't believe that she was still standing and fighting.
Becca was one incredibly brave girl, even though sometimes it appeared like she just allowed others to take charge. She put one foot in front of the other and kept going, because she was a survivor.

Daniel was Becca's best friend, even though it's completely obvious to the reader that he is actually in love with her. Honestly, he was a little overbearing at times. I thought he was ridiculous with how he ordered everyone around, like he owned the world (and yup, he was filthy rich). But then I actually analyzed the situation, and I realized that Daniel was the super glue that held Becca together. He was like a pillar to hold her up. He gave everything he could to keep her fighting her battles, to make her want to survive. He was bossy because it seemed that she needed that kind of person in her life.

Tyler, Becca's step-brother was a guy with a good heart and a conscience. In the past, he'd made mistakes that made Becca's life turn into an even lower level of hell. Not intentionally of course, but he felt guilty that he hadn't acted on his real sister Lisa's threats as he should have. In the present, he protected Becca and was the big brother that she actually needed. I was happy those two stitched their relationship.

The Lisa chick was insane to the tips of her hair. I could not believe everything that she'd put Becca through. She obviously should've gotten some medical/psychological attention after her mom's suicide.

In conclusion
Where Life Takes You sure is a ride with so many ups and downs, it's hard to count them. It made my heart racing and if you give it a chance, I'm sure it will captivate you too.

My rating is: