Cassie's been gone and alone for years. After the deaths of her parents and sister, she was taken in by her grandparents, but there was no love to be had in her new home. But memories of her best friend, the only person who never judged or let her down, are drawing her back. Back to the place where everything fell apart, where one boy had the power to hold her together.
Judging Covers: I really don't think the cover fits with the story at all. It makes it look like erotica, or at least something a lot heavier on passion than healing. And this book is more about reconnecting and getting over the past than steaming things up. That's not to say there aren't some hot moments, but if I were to pick this book bases solely on what I see on the cover, I'd probably be pretty disappointed to find out it's a completely different kind of story. The woman whose shirt is falling off her shoulders and boobs are popping out the top is absolutely not Cassie, and… Well, it's just a really bad stock photo choice for this one.
The Verdict: If I'd known what I was getting into, I probably would have passed this one right by. But by the time I figured out that not only was Cassie dealing with the absence of her family but also with the repercussions of sexual abuse as a teenager, I was already too invested to bail. So there's your warning, I guess. Cassie was repeatedly abused by a trusted adult, and while the depictions aren't graphic, it's still very disturbing.
It seems that Cassie has lost pretty much everything, so it's a wonder she turned out like she did. When her parents were killed in an auto accident, she went to live with her sister and brother-in-law. When her sister died, and the monster who'd abused her was put away, she was sent to live with her grandparents, and while that may have been the best thing on paper, it certainly wasn't the best thing in real life. They were cold and judgemental, essentially blaming her for the abuse she'd suffered, and it felt like her going back to find Ben was a last ditch attempt at finding good in the world.
Ben was her best friend, despite being several years older than her, and his family had always treated Cassie like she was their own. Cassie, of course, had a big crush on him once upon a time, but she was way too young for him and way too young to act on it, and they were pulled apart before anything could come of their feelings. Cassie's stutter has always left her feeling like she was on the outside, but Ben never let her get away with silence and sign language, and it seems he's the only person who ever truly “got” her.
Their reconnection is bittersweet and painful, despite his welcoming her back with open arms. Cassie's a survivor, though she seems to feel she's weak, and Ben is patient, sweet, and gentle with her. Now that she's older, their age difference isn't such an obstacle, and it's clear his feelings for her aren't exactly platonic either. What follows is deepening friendship, revisiting a tragic past, and ultimately healing with each other. There was no magic cure for her speech problems or big dramatic moment when the past came back to haunt them, but in that way, their story felt more real. Instead of focusing on the past, it was all about their finding each other again and moving forward, and while Cassie's issues certainly slowed that process down in several places, it was a triumphant moment when it all finally came together for them.
Easier to Run would not have been my normal choice of reads if the synopsis had disclosed the abuse and mental issues that were to be addressed in the story, but it was still a solid read, and it seemed to handle those subjects responsibly. If you're into the kind of book where the heroine has been all but destroyed and the hero loves her through it, try this one. It's not my usual fare, but I think it's probably perfect for those of you who love the savior & redemption bit.