Title - Anywhere But Here
Author - Stephanie Hoffman McManus
Seven years ago, I left Conway, South Carolina swearing I would never go back. I put that town in my rearview and didn’t stop until there were several hundred miles between me and the memories I wanted to leave behind. But you can’t outrun your own heart. The past always comes back, and it didn’t matter how far I went, I couldn’t erase the mark he left. I’d never met anyone like Kellen Nash before. He made me feel so . . . alive. Until I made the mistake of falling in love with him. I spent seven years trying to forget only to be forced to come face to face with him again. I wasn’t prepared for old wounds to be reopened or for him to still have this effect on me. He nearly broke me once. I won’t give him the chance to do it again, even if he does still look at me like he can see everything I keep hidden inside. There’s too much history between us, like the North and the South, to forgive and forget so easily, but the longer I’m back, the more I start to question what really happened then, and the more I worry about what will happen if he discovers my biggest secret.
At seventeen she was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, and not at all what I expected. A girl like her didn’t belong with a guy like me, but that didn’t stop me from wanting her, or breaking her heart. I never thought I’d see her again, but she’s back. Only she isn't the girl I knew. In her place is an angry spitfire even more gorgeous than I remember, and she’s determined to take all that anger out on me. I’ve spent seven years missing her, living with the regret of letting her go, and when I start to catch glimpses of the girl I loved, I realize it's never too late. Or is it?
Anywhere But Here is unlike anything I’ve read by Stephanie Hoffman McManus. I’ve read all nine of her stories and she never fails to impress me. Anywhere But Here isn’t a love story with a HEA, its a love story thats on pause. When I flipped the last page and saw ‘acknowledgement’ at the top I yelled out a long dragged out NO, because I wanted more.
Kellen and Shae never had a easy relationship. Actually they never stood a chance as a couple.
But the pull they felt towards eachother couldn’t have stopped them anyways.
Shae is the definition of the good girl everyone loves. She has a football playing boyfriend, president of every club the school has to offer, and we'll on her way to becoming valedictorian. Everyone thinks she blessed and living the perfect life, except for Kellen. He sees the girl underneath the front she puts up.
Kellen is smart and good at sports, but doesn’t try to excel at either. He’s too busy trying to scrape by on money and taking care of his sister. Kellen knows he wont have a life outside of their town, but Shae makes him start second guessing everything.
Due to Kellen’s insecurities Shae leaves town with the hopes of never coming back again. But she does, and with her she brings secrets. Kellen wants to make everything right between him and the only girl hes ever loved. Sometime though there is just too much damage after a storm and its better to start from scratch then try and rebuild.
Will Kellan and Shae get the second chance they deserve or will they get closure? The secondary characters in this book were awesome. I loved the group of women Shae had by her side. And Kellans best friend was pretty smart too. I cannot wait to see what happens between Kellan and Shae in Cici and Lukes book, and I will be crossing my fingers that they at least a novella of their own.
Here are a few lines I loved from the book;
“Stop being the perfect girl everyone expects and be you. If you keep going, trying to be everything everyone else wants you to be, you’re going to lose yourself in it. You can only put on the show so long before it becomes the truth, and it would be a f*@$ing shame to see you turn into another one of them.”
“It’s a choice. One that you have to make every single day, and some days it’s a harder choice than others, but you just keep making it.”
“True loss– that deep, agonizing, gut-wrenching, feels like you can’t breathe, kind of hurt– can only be felt when you’ve truly loved. To not feel that loss would mean closing yourself off to that love, something I could never bring myself to wish for, which only made me want to hate him that much more.”
“What’s meant to be will always find a way, through storms and fires. Through tragedy and loss. Even through the lies and whatever life throws at it. It withstands. It keeps fighting. It’s never over.”
Writing style- 4/5
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