Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Review: If You Leave - Courtney Cole

If I Leave by Courtney Cole, published by Hodder & Stoughton on 20th February 2014 

Goodreads synopsis:
26-year old Gabriel Vincent is a badass hero. Or he used to be, anyway. As an ex-Army Ranger, Gabe never thought he needed anyone. But after one horrible night in Afghanistan scars him in a way that he can't get past, he needs someone who can help him heal...even if he doesn't realize it.

25-year old Madison Hill doesn't need anybody...or so she thinks. She grew up watching her parents' messed-up abusive relationship and she knows there's no way in hell that she's ever letting that happen to her.

They don't know it in the beginning, but Gabriel and Madison will soon develop a weakness: Each other. But Gabriel's got a secret, a hidden monster that he's afraid Maddy could never overcome... And Maddy's got issues that she's afraid Gabe will never understand. They quickly realize that they need each other to be whole, but at the same time they know that they've got demons to fight.  And the problem with demons is that they never die quietly.

This is a cross between an Adult and New Adult book but whichever category you put it in, it is a really moving and quite emotional read.  This is the second book in the series but I don’t think that it matters too much if you read them out of order because they are more like standalone stories anyway.  Some characters do appear in this one from the first book but I personally don't feel like it spoils anything.
Maddison or Maddy as she’s known to her friends and family is searching for something although she doesn’t quite know what.  Gabriel (which happens to be one of my favourite guy names ever!) is running from something which haunts him.  The two together are a combustible combination if they can first help each other deal with the ghosts of their past.
I wasn’t too sure about Maddy to begin with.  She displays some behaviour which I wasn’t particularly a fan of.  However, as I got to know her and learn more about what she had sacrificed, I came to really admire her and her self-sacrifices.  She is incredibly tough and very protective of her younger sister which is another quality I loved about her.  It was great getting to see her character grow over the course of the story and come out a stronger person on the other side.
Gabe on the other hand I liked instantly.  He is dealing with a lot of issues but his determination to overcome these made me like him even more.  I loved the way in which he eventually became someone on whom Maddy could lean on, rather than her always having to look after herself.
Courtney Cole does a great job of showing the emotional and mental impact that serving in the military has on the brave men and women that go out there to protect us and this was an element of the story which really resonated with me. 
‘If You Leave’ was a fantastic book which I devoured in one sitting. I will definitely be picking up book three which is about Gabe's sister and is called 'Before We Fall'.  

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