eBook, 314 pages.
Release date: August 13th 2013.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Live young. Live hard. Love deep.
Charley Redford was just an ordinary girl until Jake Caplin moved to her small town in Indiana and convinced her she was extraordinary. Almost from day one Jake pulled Charley into the deep and promised he was right there with her. But when a tragic incident darkened Jake’s life he waded out into the shallows and left Charley behind.
Almost four years later Charley thinks she’s moved on. That is until she takes a study year abroad in Edinburgh and bumps into none other than Jake Caplin at a party with his new girlfriend. The bad-boy-turned-good attempts to convince Charley to forgive him, and as her best friend starts spending time with Jake’s, Charley calls a truce, only to find herself tumbling back into a friendship with him.
As they grow closer, the spark between them flares and begins playing havoc with their lives and relationships. When jealousy and longing rear their destructive heads, Charley and Jake struggle to come to grips with what they mean to one another.
And even if they work it out, there is no guarantee Charley will ever trust Jake to lead her back into the deep…
What would you do if you had a second chance at first love?
That’s the question facing Charley Redford when she meets her ex-boyfriend, Jake Caplin during a study year abroad in Edinburgh with her best friend Claudia. Jake and Charley have been apart for almost four years – they’ve both moved on. Furthermore, Jake has a new girlfriend, who, I might add, he flaunts in front of Charley at every available opportunity. So why is he in Edinburgh when he knew Charley would be there too? Turns out, Jake wants to apologize to Charley. He wants forgiveness for what he did. He wants to be friends. In other words, Jake, like many guys before him, wants to have his cake and eat it too; he wants to hang out with Charley and pretend that everything is just fine while dating another girl. But Jake and Charley, even though they’ve been broken up for a long time, have unresolved issues – lots of unresolved issues. So, Jake’s plan…yeah, that was never going to work. Especially when our two lovebirds are still so hot for each other and all…
Into the Deep, the first New Adult offering from On Dublin Street author Samantha Young is a slow burner of a book that flits from Charley’s dilemma in present day Edinburgh to the beginning and subsequent abrupt end of her relationship with Jake four years earlier in back in small-town Indiana where she grew up. I don’t mind flashbacks as a rule, but I felt the flashbacks here were a little lengthy and overdone, and for me, at least, they disrupted the pacing of the story. I’m not saying the flashbacks to Jake and Charley’s teenage relationship aren’t necessary – they are – for a number of reasons, just that they were at times a little much. I mean, I pretty much figured out the why of how Jake and Charley’s relationship ended early on, so I didn’t need chapters and chapters leading up to that. The flashbacks, I guess, served a large purpose in establishing the character of Jake as a nice guy (despite his bad boy reputation) and a really good boyfriend, at least initially, to Charley. Because, for a time, Charley is his whole world: and that’s often the case when a player like Jake has to chase a girl for once in his life.
It’s not that I’m totally down on Jake, or that I disliked his character, per se. But I thought he was selfish – really, really selfish. I felt angry at Jake at times, I must admit. First off, he totally screwed Charley around, broke her heart, turned his back on her without anything much of an explanation at all. He changed her forever; changed how she would approach relationships, affected her ability to trust, and to really ever fall in love again. And then, what does he do? Just as Charley is getting on with her life, just as she is having fun, back to being herself and hanging out with a bunch of cool guys, one of whom would like to be more than just a friend, Jake walks back into her life (with his new girlfriend!) and wants to be friends. Ugh! Selfish! And we’re supposed to fall for this guy? Granted, he is hot. Granted, he is sorry. But. Woah. He is so selfish. He’s also used to getting his way.
So, really, I don’t know how I feel about Jake. I do know if I was Charley’s friend, and if I had seen what she had gone through in the aftermath of their relationship, then I would tell her to keep the hell away from Jake. After all, leopards never change their spots. In real life, that is. There’s a little more leeway for redemption in books. And so, to that end, I understand where Jake is coming from. I understand that he messed up and that he wants to fix things between him and Charley. It’s just a shame that his new girlfriend is clinging on tight to her man and standing in the way of a love that is meant to be.
Or is it? As we all know, the course of true love never runs smooth, and Charley and Jake have a rocky road ahead. Things aren’t the same as when they were sixteen. Love is not that simple anymore.
Despite my reservations about Jake’s actions and character, I enjoyed Into the Deep for the most part. It’s not a favourite read of mine and it’s certainly no On Dublin Street, but it’s an entertaining, enjoyable read of first love, first heartbreak and learning to live again after your whole world has fallen apart. And it’s Samantha Young, so you know the sex scenes are going to be smoking hot; just thought I’d put that in there for anyone who was wondering! I did though feel that this book ended just as it was getting started. For the most part, this book is pretty slow moving, as we deal in present day and flashbacks. Then everything speeds up in the last quarter and before you know it, it’s over just as its begun - kind of like Charley and Jake’s teenage relationship. Oh, but there’s much more drama to come for these two and I will be reading the next book in this series, Out of the Shallows, when it releases in 2014 to find out what happens next.