Sometimes there’s no tragic event.
Sometimes there’s just sadness. Just numbness.
Sometimes it’s just a depression you can’t understand.
When Alara’s depression reaches its pinnacle she’s left feeling broken, vulnerable, and more than a little uneasy about moving forward. And although she’s made it to the other side she discovers that the hardest battle may simply be moving on and accepting the hardship she’s been given. Because by all accounts she should be happy, but she isn’t and she still can’t understand why. So she’s moving forward, but with the weight of her guilt and the constant fear of another episode, is she really living? Or has the fear of another episode become just as crippling as the episode itself?
Then she meets Gabriel, a grieving soul struggling to get past his mother’s death and figure out his future. As he reconciles his past and begins planning his future, it becomes clear that he wants Alara in it. He wants the sarcastic, fearful girl that always seems just a little bit out of reach. But will the girl who’s never been able to see a future give him a chance? And when he discovers her darkness, will he still love her through it?
Will she let him?
*Contains sexual situations and offensive language. Recommended for 18+
**This will be a series of interconnected standalones that may be read independently of each other.
“The girl who thought her life had no purpose gave me mine.”
Aside from the beautiful cover, the synopsis attracted me to this book. Depression: it’s becoming more widely talked about, more sufferers are being open and honest about it and I wanted to see how it could fit into a romance book as well as how the author would portray it.
First and foremost, before I even get to the content of the story, I need to highlight the author’s writing. It was excellent. I was drawn in from the first page; I really enjoyed the style and the flow. For an unknown debut author, I really hope this book doesn’t get overlooked. Jeannine Allison’s writing is engrossing and endearing.
“We always talked about protecting our hearts, but that wasn’t what they were made for. It was like buying new furniture only to cover it up, or designing the perfect room but not being able to sit in it. Our hearts were made to feel, to break, to love, to grieve. And all mine ever did was beat.”
“I didn’t want to protect my heart anymore. I wanted to bruise and batter the hell out of it. I wanted to feel everything, and if it needed to break just so I knew it was beating, then so be it.”
Alara suffered from depression and the author captured this perfectly. From the foreword, it was made clear that parts of Unveiling the Sky was taken from Jeannine’s person experience with depression. And they do say ‘write what you know’ and this came across in the pages. I felt Alara’s depression. I felt her struggle to explain it, to give it words, to capture just how all consuming it was.
“At the end of the day, some people just expected more…but sometimes there was no more.”
“It was such a beautiful dichotomy: a brightly burning sun on one side and dark gray storm clouds on the other. There was thunder and sunshine. There was yellow and gray.
And suddenly all I saw was my life. Perpetually caught between feeling the warmth and fearing the rain.”
I also liked the slow changes that happened in Alara, she didn’t meet a gorgeous guy and suddenly have this outgoing personality. No, Alara was still wary and closed off but it was thanks to Gabe’s persistence and friendship that gave Alara something more. Something to hope for. Something to believe in.
“I could still believe that happy days were in my future; they were just waiting for me to find them.”
Gabe didn’t come without his own troubles, he was still hurting over his own past but the stars aligned and Alara was brought into his life. I love slow building romances and Alara and Gabe built up a strong, believable friendship before anything more happened. I also loved how understanding Gabe was of Alara’s depression. Not once did he undermine her or dismiss what she felt. He was the perfect, swoony book boyfriend.
“I’d take your tears over someone else’s smile any day. I just want to be wherever you are. Even if that’s crying on the bathroom floor.”
The only thing I would’ve wished for was more of Alara. I felt Gabe’s feelings and troubles eclipsed Alara’s at times and it felt more like Gabe’s story than Alara’s. I thought the author did a fantastic job of highlighting the importance of depression and the effect it can have on someone but I did feel Gabe’s journey outshone Alara’s at times. I also would’ve liked Gabe to experience more of Alara’s depression first hand. I felt Gabe verbally agreed to accept it, but we didn’t see them living through some low times to really feel his support. But that was my personal wish; it in no way took anything away from the writing or the characters.
The supporting cast also deserves a mention. Jeannine created an eclectic group of funny, intriguing characters. I liked all the hints that were dropped, making me interested in their own stories, wondering how their individual journeys would play out. I will definitely be reading more in this series!
Unveiling the Sky is a hidden gem in the New Adult contemporary romance world. It’s a strong debut and I hope it offers comfort and support to sufferers of depression. It certainly did to me.
*Copy received for an honest review.*
Jeannine Allison is the author of the upcoming Unveiling series! These new adult romance novels will be interconnected standalones, starting with Unveiling The Sky which will be released in May 2016.
She loves writing and reading — obviously 🙂 — but when she’s not she enjoys playing with her two dogs, watching her favorite YouTube beauty bloggers, drinking coffee, googling new tattoos, and pretty much anything else that allows her to wear yoga pants and a sweatshirt 😉