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Published by Simon and Schuster on October 10th 2012
Genres: Abuse, Dark, Mental Illness, Romance, Young Adult
Purchase links: Amazon, iTunes
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Maggie Young had the market on normal. Normal friends, normal parents, normal grades.. normal life. Until him.
Clayton Reed was running from his past and an army of personal demons that threatened to take him down. He never thought he had a chance at happiness. Until her.
Maggie thought their love could overcome anything. Clay thought she was all he needed to fix his messy life. That together, they could face the world. But the darkness is always waiting.
Sometimes the greatest obstacle to true love is within yourself.
Book Review: 5+++ stars
First of all: This review is one of the toughest I’ve ever wrote; it’s going to be personal and emotional. And it is in the realm of possibility, that I ramble or spoiler a bit – for which I’ll excuse in advance!
“Find you in the dark” has been untouched on my kindle for approximately 3 months now; longer even on my mind. If you love romance novels, that are ‘different’ and emotional, there’s no way you’ve never heard of this book by A. Meredith Walters. There were a few reasons, why I waited so long to read it: 1. I read another book by this author (“Bad Rep”) and hated it. 2. I normally never, NEVER, never read Young Adult. 3. The main topic of this book, mental health issues, is a very sore subject for me, since I myself have mental issues. But I just couldn’t withstand reading the book, even though there were a lot of no-gos for me from the start. I guess, I was curious how the author handled the controversial complexity that is the human mind.
The book is mainly about Clay and Maggie, two 17-year-old high school seniors. Clay just switched schools and everyone is drawn like a moth to the flame to the mysterious newbie. Maggie feels there is something between them and breaks through all the young man’s defensive walls. Slowly – and I have to mention that here: the pace of the story was PERFECT! -, those two very different teenagers build a friendship. But secretly, both have deeper feelings for each other. It takes them a while to act on those feelings. But when they do – holy mother of all firecrackers!!! Sparks fly, and I’m not only talking about sexual tension. The first time they tell each other “I love you”, I held my breath and had a goofy grin on my face simultaneously. Sure, there was definitely sexual tension there, too. And yes, there was descriptive sex. So, I wouldn’t call “Find you in the dark” purely Young Adult, but mature Young Adult. But handled very moderate, I must say (there’s no usage of words such as pussy, cock, clit etc.).
Another big part of the book was the secondary characters: The family and friends of the female MC. If there ever were secondary characters in a book that earned the title ‘supportive characters’, it was them. For damn sure!
Maggie, the female MC, is a very strong and likeable person and I pretty early got the idea that there is something really ‘wrong’ with Clay, the male MC. Even though I didn’t go blind into the story and had my research done before starting it, the writing worked some kind of magic spell on my critical self; it soothed me somehow. The story sucked me in and kept me literally glued to the pages. At some parts, I couldn’t read fast enough. It was so highly emotional for me, I felt everything – it really scared me. Maybe it was because of my personal experiences, that I could feel so much of what Clay went through and I even understood so many bad decisions he made. I have made them, too at some point in the last years that I’ve officially lived with my depression, anxiety-attacks and mood changes. Ultimately, it was the OTT fantastic writing-style that spellbound me into everything Clay and Maggie had to experience. Many things hurt me so bad and opened my eyes to facts, that I’ve never had the courage to face on my own. So, in some way I have to thank the talented author A. Meredith Walters for her book – it helped me somehow, even if only a tiny bit.
Even though FYITD was filled to the brim with teenage-angst, which I normally avoid like the plaque, I found it very necessary in this case for the buildup of the story. And even though I’d definitely wouldn’t call it a cookie-cutter romance, I’d say it wasn’t dark, either. It just was REAL from the beginning to the last word. I’m in serious awe of how well – most of all regardful and authentic – A. Meredith Walters has described every detail of Clay and Maggie’s story.
Another fear of mine was, that the balance between the romance and the main issue with the mental health could not be maintained. But my worries were unnecessary, since the author indeed balanced everything perfectly. You could say that the mental state of Clay was like the trunk of a tree and the love story in-between was like leaves, grown to the trunk and woven into its branches – One can’t exist without the other.
I never cried so much for a book like I did for FYITD. It literally pulled at my heartstrings and made my throat constrict. During the emotional blow off, I had to stop several times and get my shit together again, it was that affective. What did me completely in was, that I got insight into the ‘other side’ of having mental issues- what family, friends and partners go through while they support a beloved one, that has issues of any kind. It made me weep for what Maggie went through, but also for what my husband goes through every day with and for me.
As for the ending; some may ask themselves now if there is a HEA. And I can’t say clearly yes or no, not only because I don’t want to spoiler too much. But also, because it all depends on how you look at things. In my personal opinion, it ends in a good place and even if I haven’t known there is already a sequel out, I would have been perfectly fine with how this book ended. For me, the ending was not the saddest part of the book! It was unconventional, like the book itself.
After all the rambling and emotional dumping I did, I just want to say that even though this book was not easy to read and I would definitely not recommend it to everyone, I’d like to pander to all readers out there, who maybe hesitate because it just sounds like a wrecking ball in the disguise of a love story: Please give “Find you in the dark” a try!!! I’m seriously glad I did. If it intrigues you, it’ll probably be the right read for you. And if you can handle real, raw and emotional books, that have a unique plot and authentic writing, then go for it! Just be aware, that it is bound to trigger a lot of different emotions and that you have to keep an open mind.
The book made me smile, swoon, gasp, laugh, cry, fall in love and get a mild heart attack *lol* But even though it was emotional exhausting for me, I loved it and give “Find you in the dark” 5+++ stars. It easily made it into my favorites of all times and will stay with me for a long while.
Now, I’m going to read the sequel “Light in the Shadows” (I have goose-bumps from that title alone after reading book 1). After everything that I’ve already been through with the MC’s, I’d like to see where their path will take them.