(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Also by this author: Nowhere but Here
Published by Harlequin on February 1st 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Social Themes, Young Adult Fiction
When Drix was convicted of a crime--one he didn't commit--he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the new Second Chance Program, the governor's newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.
Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor's daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn't may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.
When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle's parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix's messy life.
But sometimes love can breach all barriers.
Fighting against a society that can't imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves--Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence--and each other to finally get what they deserve.
It has been a while since I have read anything by Katie McGarry and Say You’ll Remember Me reminded me of why I love her books so much. On our last podcast with Swoony Boys, Kass mentioned how much she loved this book so I pushed it up on my TBR. Once I started, I found myself unwilling to put this down (unfortunately my work life didn’t really agree with me on this) and couldn’t wait to find out what happened with these characters, Elle and Drix, whose lives couldn’t have been more different.
Elle is the governor’s daughter and she knows she is lucky to have the things she has but sometimes she just wants to do what she wants without the expectations and pressure that comes along with being who she is. She would also like to be free to do the things she loves, not what her parents believe is right. I have to say I was frustrated with Elle sometimes and it was more around how much she let her parents control her and dictate almost everything in her life from her hair color and contact color to what classes she could take.
Drix on the other hand, doesn’t have much materially but he has his brother, sister, and friends. Drix spent most of his time drinking, getting high, making music, and chasing after girls but after having been convicted of a crime that he didn’t commit, he knows he needed to change and he takes this for the wakeup call he needed. Now that he is out, Drix is willing to do whatever he needs to in order to get his life back on track and that includes becoming the poster boy for the Second Chance Program. This program is the governor’s newest project to rehabilitate delinquents and Drix isn’t going to do anything to ruin his chance for a clean start. He completely changed who he was while he was away and if the program will help him get into the music school he wants to get into, he knows he can change his life.
When Elle and Drix meet, they have no clue who the other is, and I loved how McGarry introduced them to each other. I also loved how McGarry developed the friendship / relationship between them. It starts out with a chance meeting at a fair and slowly becomes more and it felt real. Of course, they are attracted to each other but because they are traveling together (with the governor) they start to spend time together and really get to know each other. I love that Drix specifically calls out that he likes the “real” Elle more than that perfect version her mother is creating and encourages her to wear her glasses and be who she wants to be.
The other part of this story that I really enjoyed was the tie to family. Drix obviously didn’t have the best role models with his parents and he has restructured his definition of family to revolve around his brother, sister, and friends. And they truly are a family – they care about each other and support each other in all the ways a family would/should. When Drix goes away, he knows someone in his circle let him take the fall and when he comes back, he has a hard time being ok and trusting those he isn’t sure of, and that includes his sister and his best friend.
On the other hand, Elle loves her parents and knows they love her, but they are super controlling and didn’t really support her in the things she wanted for herself…they just wanted her to be what they wanted her to be. Throughout the story I could feel her frustration, but she always fell back to the idea that they were doing the things they did out of love and protection. She trusted her parents to always do the right thing and unfortunately, she learns that they don’t.
In the end, this is more than just a good girl falls for the bad boy story. Elle’s optimism and desire to do what’s right is threaded throughout everything she does and Drix’s desire to be better than he was are what move this story forward and kept me turning the pages.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and I think if you are a fan of McGarry’s other books, you will really like this one. She does a fantastic job of highlighting the challenges that the “have nots” face as well as showing that just because someone’s life looks perfect on the outside, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it truly is. If you are looking for a story that has well developed characters, a fantastic story, and of course, swoons, you should check this one out. As always, I am looking forward to whatever McGarry puts out next.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy!