I believe certain books come to us at the very time we need them in life. Sometimes we’re led to them, and it’s like the world is shouting at us “Stop everything you’re doing and read this book now!” Something in the Way was one of those books for me. First, my lovely friend, Kacy from Fettered Matriarch, recommended this book to me. Soon after, I was able to get a free copy of it through Claire Contreras’ newsletter – Score! Then, I started seeing this book everywhere on social media with the release of the final book in the series, Move the Stars, on October 23rd.
It was a hot summer day when I met him on the construction site next to my parents’ house. Under the sweat and dirt, Manning Sutter was as handsome as the sun was bright. He was older, darker, experienced. I wore a smiley-face t-shirt and had never even been kissed. Yet we saw something in each other that would link us in ways that couldn’t be broken…no matter how hard we tried.
I loved Manning before I knew the meaning of the word. I was too young, he said. I would wait. Through all the carefully-chosen words hiding what we knew to be true, through his struggle to keep me innocent, and through infinitely-starry nights–I would wait. But I’d learn that life isn’t always fair. That no matter how much you achieve, none of it matters if you suffer the heartbreak that comes with falling for someone you can never have. Because even though I saw Manning first, that didn’t matter. My older sister saw him next.
After all of the nudges toward this novel, I decided it was time to pick it up and I couldn’t be more happy about doing so. I feel like I have a personal connection to this book because of the characters’ age difference, the love they shared, and the difficulties they had to endure. My husband and I claim a twelve-year age gap and we suffered through many struggles to make it to where we are today. Similar to Lake and Manning, I was underage when I met my now-husband and was still in high school. At the time, neither of us were searching for a partner but we ended up falling together anyway.
I love novels like this one because when people share in the experiences of the characters, their worlds and minds open. People can see past stereotypes and stigmas. I’ll admit, before I met my husband, I was adamant about being in a relationship with someone nearer to my age. I didn’t plan to get married at eighteen years old. The best thing about plans, however, is that they are made to be broken. I fell in love with the person I believe God created solely for me to share life, intimacy, and children with – my soulmate. If I had rejected him simply because he was older and others didn’t like the idea, I’d hate to think of where I’d be today. Ten years later, all of our struggles seem small in comparison to the hardships we encountered back then.
In some ways, this novel reminds me of Colleen Hoover’s Slammed series because of the forbidden romance. It has a similar feel and made me tear through the pages faster than I expected to, but I simply could not put the book(s) down. The female leads also share the same name! However, I think I enjoyed Something in the Way more because I was able to relate to the story on such a personal level.
This story is filled with heartache, angst, and self-denial. Jessica Hawkins wrote life and magnetism into Lake and Manning. They seem like real people who readers can’t help but feel for and endure with – their struggles become our struggles. Manning is one of the best male leads I’ve ever read. I appreciated his ability to be strong, courageous, and level-headed.
One minor issue I had with the storyline was Manning’s internal dialogue and how Lake became reminiscent of his younger sister. Though this was not written in a creepy way and I was able to understand that it was more of Lake’s mannerisms than her appearance, it still seemed a bit odd. Also, I hated that Lake’s voice came across so young for a sixteen-year-old. Not only were her thoughts similar to someone much younger, but everyone treated her as if she was practically an infant without an ability to think for herself. This was insanely frustrating! I think the author did this for a specific purpose and it will be something that is resolved in the upcoming novels. Nevertheless, I think the story would have been more convincing for opponents of this type of relationship to see a more mature sixteen-year-old.
Regardless, this novel has become an instant five-star favorite of mine! I was absolutely shocked by the ending and had my heart ripped to shreds. I literally felt my chest tighten upon finishing this book. I cannot wait to dive into Somebody Else’s Sky and I’m sure, subsequently, Move the Stars. With that said, I’m going to finish up here so I can get some reading time in. I’m dying to know what happens!
Please get this book – I guarantee you won’t want to come up for air until you’ve finished! It’s a stunningly beautiful story that will live on in my memories for a long time.
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