Friday, July 13, 2018

REVIEW - The Pledge - Christine Manzari & Laura Ward

TITLE - The Pledge
AUTHOR - Christine Manzari & Laura Ward


Taren needs a do-over. She’s decided the best way to put the high school bullies behind her is to pledge a Taylor-Swift-lip-syncing, beer-guzzling, sorority. Sisterhood helps Taren find the acceptance she’s always craved, but not the love she needs.

Alec wants freedom. To escape his father’s iron fist and unrealistic expectations, he pledges a campus acrobatics club where he finds that drugs and alcohol aren't the only ways to get high. His addiction to danger helps him gain his independence, but it comes at a heavy price.

When the two cross paths, Alec fears his undeniable attraction to the party girl just might threaten everything he's worked so hard to earn. Taren hasn’t forgotten that Alec humiliated her back in high school, but she also can't deny the chemistry they share.

Alec and Taren have nothing in common, but fate is bound and determined to bring them together. They know falling in love is a risk, and yet it’s too hard to ignore. When their worlds clash and they both end up suffering, will they fight to stay together? Or are some pledges too hard to keep?

Erin's Review:

This is a great stand alone book about the tumultuous and precipitous love experienced in college. It's a story of love but also a story about reinventing and learning to be yourself. I ended the book with tears in my eyes from the last chapter-William imparted simple yet profound words of wisdom with such pure and plain language and joy. While a stand alone book, this is the first in a series.

The plot follows high school classmates turned college classmates Alec and Taren. They are both trying to reinvent themselves in college and put their high school years behind them. Each wants to become a new, better person and follow their own path, and find their dreams...hopefully with a person who loves them. It's a kind of friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, second chance lovers mishmash that was both fun and heartbreaking to read.

Taren is hoping college can be a place to reinvent herself after a troublesome finish to her high school years. She finds a community in her sorority who become sisters and family. Alec is hoping to find freedom and independence in college. He finds a new place to fit in but faces consequences. When Taren and Alec meet again in college, the past biases their decisions and clouds judgments. They seem to different and set in their opinions to work it out. Their progressions, struggles, and relationships make this a fantastic read about forgiveness, truth, growth and friendships. “I'm most scared of regrets. I left high school with so many things I wish I'd done differently and chances I wish I'd been brave enough to take.” “No more. The next four years will be about taking the steps to be who I want to be. No excuses.”

Being a high school sweetheart who has celebrated 15 years of marriage with with my high school boyfriend, I loved the progression of the feelings of these characters in the book. Crushes and puppy love in high school. Struggles and more powerful emotions in college...with a fantastic progression of tumultuous passion. Their chemistry played out with both typical college lust and relationship material love. 

Ms. Manzari and Ms. Ward manage to co-write a masterful tale that pulls the reader in. It pulls so many heart strings that your heart breaks and sings with their strife and travails. I can't even put into words how much I love the Good Buddy program and the little nuggets of wisdom imparted by the buddies to their sorority sisters, “I think it is better to be alone and listen to yourself than to be with someone you do not love, listening to them.” 

I loved getting a look into this group of friends, and their college experiences. Makes mine look pretty tame and boring! I can't wait to read more of their stories and get to know more about each and every character mentioned! 

Star Ratings:
Plot = 4/5 
Characters = 4/5 
Heat = 5/5 
Writing Style = 4/5 
Overall Rating = 4/5

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