I wanted David and Wylie to have some kind of relationship, but what, if anything, would I have to give up in order for that to happen? And if I didn't have to give up anything, then why did I feel like I did, and why was it so scary?
-from She Has Your Eyes by Elise Lorello
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I received a complimentary copy of this book for Fictionella Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
For the first time I think I've realized why God intended for me to become a book review blogger: to receive an Advanced Reader Copy of this book for this blog tour! Okay, I jest (or at least exaggerate); but to say I have been anxiously anticipating the third book in the Andi Cutrone series is an understatement! Which is also why this review is longer than usual! After recently re-reading Faking It, the first novel in the series, I was concerned She Has Your Eyes had too much to live up to. However, as always, Elisa Lorello delivers chick lit even smarter than before with an emotional novel that will have you falling in love with Andi and Dev all over again.
Taking place almost a year after Ordinary World ends, Andi and David are finally together, living a simple and fulfilling life in Andi's Northampton home. Besides David's insistence that they should get married, life is pretty perfect. But when a fifteen-year old girl shows up on their doorstep with life-changing news for David, their seamless life quickly begins to fray. Additionally, Andi's mother shares a secret of her own and Andi's ex-fiance, Andrew, has re-surfaced into her life as well. With so much changing, marriage is the last thing on Andi and David's minds anymore. In fact, it might even be the last thing in their futures.
In She Has Your Eyes, one writing exercise Andi gives to her students is to write about three unrelated life events and find a way to link them together. What I found in Lorello's storytelling is that she uses this formula to build Andi's story within the pages of this novel. The first experience is the arrival of Wiley, the second is Andi's mother's secret, and the third is the resurfacing of Andrew. These three events happen somewhat simultaneously and affect both Andi and David's lives and even threaten their relationship. I spent much of this novel considering the common thread between these three events, and perhaps it will be different for every reader as they take what they find amongst the pages. Because I don't want to spoil the specific challenges each of these three situations presents to Andi, I won't reveal my explication of her experiences. However, if you read the book, I welcome any one-on-one bookish discussions!
A major theme throughout the book is the past versus the present, especially through the evolution of relationships. Andi and her mother evaluate their new-found ability to communicate against the history of their isolation and resentment of each other. Andrew appraises Andi against the guarded version of her he was engaged to a decade before. Vulnerable David struggles with Devin, the self-assured alter-ego of his past. Even Andi must examine who she is, who she was, and who she's going to become amidst all of the change. As each character navigates these changes, I noticed a lot of them "faking it" so to speak; David acting more fearless with Wiley than he felt; Andi's fake interactions with Andrew; the brave face Andi's mom puts on despite how she feels. I really loved how some of the themes from the first novel in the series resounded in this part of the characters' journeys.
My only complaint with this book (besides the fact that it has an ending!) is that all of the information and various interactions initially seemed somewhat chaotic. However, I trusted Lorello as an author and sure enough, I found commonality between the stories and everything pieced together wonderfully. Some readers might not be able to reconcile the constant back-and-forth feelings of Andi and the disagreements she has with David; but if you're a hardcore Andi-David fan like I am, you'll love every minute of it!
I also need to take a minute to simply gush over how wonderful it is to have the opportunity to read about Andi and David again. After each novel I don't expect another sequel, but I'm always pleasantly surprised and continuously impressed by what Elisa Lorello does with these characters (and/or what they do to her). Andi and David have been written so carefully and realistically over the course of this series that reading about them again is like burrowing into a safe, warm cocoon (despite how emotionally nerve-racking their situations may be). I know this sounds cheesy and possibly "unprofessional" if I'm to be taken seriously or trusted as a reviewer, but these characters just make me very happy, even warm and fuzzy. Lorello has a sincere talent for crafting real people within the pages of her books. If you haven't started this series, what are you waiting for?
Bottom Line: So perfect. So fulfilling. So thoughtful. So smart. Such a considerate continuation of characters we know and love. If you love chick lit, women's fiction, contemporary romance - whatever you want to call it-- you will love this series! 5/5 Stars.