When Andrew and Emma meet as lonely, somewhat awkward teenagers, a sweet infatuation begins. Within a few classes and a few weeks, the sparks of first love glow brightly, and it seems they have, at this young age, found the road to happily ever after. But problems bigger than any teenager can bear and one tragic decision change the course of their lives forever. Split apart and left to move on, neither is prepared for the path on which Fate leads them when they come face to face five years later.
The Verdict: I have a unique problem whenever I get read to another of Ginger Scott's books. You see, I know that no matter what the story is about or where the characters take me, every single book I read afterward will be disappointing. So I find myself rushing through the other books on my virtual shelf, trying to get them out of the way before I open the book that I know will outshine them all. And Wicked Restless is most certainly that book.
I've never been a fan of stories in which I'm introduced to the characters when they are young and somewhat innocent, and then thrown forward several years when they are reunited, older, and usually bitter. It's always an odd shift for me, and I end up feeling like I've had something taken away from the story I anticipated reading. However, I didn't even glance at the summary before grabbing this book, and even if I had, it wouldn't have mattered. Andrew and Emma's story was just as amazing as everything else Ginger Scott writes.
When we first meet Emma, she's leading a complicated and sheltered life, though we don't get the real details of it until later. Her parents are more protective than one might expect, and Emma is careful not to break any rules or stray from their guidance. But then she meets Andrew, the sweet and handsome boy in her P.E. class, and their sweetly innocent love for each other blooms. Their relationship is as adorable as they are, youthfully unblemished and beautiful. But one tragic night, the kind of thing that could happen to anyone throws everything into turmoil, and before they can even digest what's happened, Andrew is taking the blame, and they find themselves separated.
When tragedy struck, Andrew stepped up to protect Emma, though he really didn't know what he was protecting her from. That sacrifice was brutal, though, sending him away from his family and into a youth reform system as dark as any prison. And though he tried to keep in touch, she never responded, disappearing from his life almost as if she'd never existed. Five years later, though, he gets the shock of his life when he finds her laughing and dancing in a club not far from where he's now enrolled in college.
Andrew and Emma's story is beautiful and heartbreaking, and while the situation is complicated, it never feels contrived. Consumed by bitterness over her apparent abandonment of him, Andrew reacts without thinking, intent only on hurting Emma the way she hurt him. Driven by the need for revenge, he strikes up a relationship with Emma's roommate Lindsay, using their friendship to paint Emma into a corner and forcing her to see him with another girl. Needless to say, that doesn't go well, and everyone gets hurt in the process.
Emma is as confused and hurt as Andrew is, but not for the reasons he thinks. As far as she knows, he disappeared, and watching him now romance her best friend is excruciating. This sort of scenario would probably have driven me nuts in any other book, but Ginger Scott has a way of laying it out in which you can't help but understand and feel for everyone, even when they're acting irrationally and emotionally, and you know it won't end happily.
It takes a while, since neither of them is really willing to lay their hearts out there, but the pieces slowly begin to fall into place, and Emma and Andrew start to realize that the circumstances of their past were absolutely out of their control. They still have that bond from their younger years, and as messy as Andrew's vengeful actions have made things, they're unable to stay away from each other. Watching them let go of the past and open up to a possible future together is the epitome of angsty, sweet romance.
Wicked Restless is an incredible journey through the innocence of first love, the pain of abandonment and judgement, and the bittersweet tenderness of reconciliation. Andrew and Emma's story is complex, and their ways of handling adversity are realistically immature. I'm not sure I've ever been so heartbroken over and invested in a couple, and my only disappointment is that their story didn't continue for another thousand or so pages. I realize my review is a bit vague, skipping over the major details and plot twists, but there's simply no way I can portray them with the depth that Ginger Scott does. Whether you're a fiend for angst or a fan of innocent love, Wicked Restless is the perfect love story. And quite frankly, if you've never read a romance by Ginger Scott, you're missing out an everything that makes the genre so addictive.
***FicCentral received this book from Wordsmith Publicity for free in exchange for an honest review.