I am republishing my review of this book today along with a very touching and heartfelt guest post by Heidi McLaughlin. When I saw that $1 from every one of this book sold this month was going to raise funds for cystic fibrosis, I knew I wanted to help. I can not imagine how emotionally difficult it was for her to write the post I asked her for and I am so glad she did. It is such an evil disease. There is no other word for it then evil. This book is super happy and hot, though so you can help and then get lost in a fantasy world. If this was on your TBR, this is a great time to buy it.
Guest Post by Heidi McLaughlin
I was born to fairly young parents, so I always had aunts and uncles around. When my mom became pregnant, I wanted a brother. I needed someone who could go fishing with me, play matchbox cars and legos. I was a tomboy, so having a boy around gave me a playmate.
Ryan was born on my first day of first grade. Not too many people can say they remember the day or the date they started first grade, but I can. That morning, my mom was in labor and my dad had the mumps! My poor dad had the biggest cheeks ever!
With my mom in labor I thought I’d get the day off from, but no such luck. My grandma took me to school and I waited and waited for someone to come get me so I could see my new brother, but no one ever showed up until school was out. My uncle picked me up and the waiting continued until after 8 at night when my dad called to say Ryan had arrived.
My mom came home first. Ryan came home weeks later. He was sick. The doctor’s said he’ll live until seven.
Ryan was born with cystic fibrosis and there is no cure.
Two years later, my sister was born, with cystic fibrosis. At nine years old I knew that one day I’d lose both my siblings. It wasn’t a matter of if, but when.
Two years ago this month, my brother called and said he was in the hospital. Most of the times he’s said this, it was a get better soon type thing, but this time things were different. He started calling a lot, every day, multiple times a day and I just knew, but didn’t want to accept it. The day my dad called to say Ryan wasn’t going to make it, I thought I was going to die right along with him. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t comprehend how he could be leaving because he’s always gotten better in the hospital. He was supposed to be flying to my house in July to watch his niece play basketball. This day was not supposed to come. But it did.
On Valentine’s Day, 2011, I boarded a plane and flew three thousand miles to say good-bye. My husband begged me not to look at Facebook while I was traveling because people were posting about my brother and he wasn’t going to be there to help me if I had another breakdown.
I arrived in time to say good-bye, to receive one last hug, take one last picture and for him to tell me to quit my bitching. He passed an hour and half later.
Valentine’s Day is no longer a holiday celebrated in my house. My girls, 17 and 10, asked their dad last year if they could not have presents and instead donate the money we would’ve spent in honor of their uncle, to which my husband happily agreed and asked them if we could make this an annual thing.
We also walk in May, as a family, for Great Strides.
When I started writing, I always knew that I’d use my voice to bring awareness to CF.
I was never supposed to be a rock star. I had my life all planned out for me. Play football in college. Go to the NFL. Marry my high school sweetheart and live happily ever after.
I broke both our hearts that day when I told her I was leaving. I was young. I made the right decision for me, but the wrong decision for us. I’ve poured my soul into my music, but I’ve never forgotten her. Her smell, her smile.
And now I’m going back.
After ten years.
I hope I can explain that after all this time.
I still want her to be my forever girl.
What an amazing debut novel by Heidi McLaughlin! I love finally ever after stories and this one touched me on so many levels. The emotions were real and strong. The characters were multi dimensional and you felt like you knew them. I will say that it was very challenging for me to get through the first part of the book. Not because it was not amazing. I knew the premise was that he came back for a funeral. I did not expect it to be so emotional for me. For Heidi to be able to create that type of emotional impact on me so quickly in a book blew me away.
I am very excited to see that this is going to be a series. This book was complete in and of itself and left me very satisfied, but I am not ready to leave the characters yet. If you like rockers, football, super nice people, a few real jerks, amazing kiddos, and a no named cat, you should really check this book out. This is definitely on my "I will read this again" pile.