**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review**
I am a huge fan of Brandy Colbert and have promised myself to read whatever she writes. Her second book was just as good as the first, if not better. It covered some hard hitting topics but they were done with nothing short of grace and class.
Birdie, aka Dove, Randolph felt like she lived in the shadow of her older perfect sister. Her mom owns and operated a beauty salon and her dad was a sports medicine doctor for the Chicago Bulls. It seems Birdie has an easy life. Things do change once her sister goes off to college and Birdie was left to deal with her parents alone. Her parents had always been rather strict with Birdie – she wasn’t allowed to date a boy until her parents met (and approved) of him. She couldn’t go to a party unless her parents knew all of the details and confirmed with the parents of the teen. Birdie felt she was not allowed to do much other than study for school and help out at her mom’s shop. Things changed even more when Birdie’s aunt Charlene came to stay with them out of the blue. Birdie did not have a lot of memories of her aunt but found out that her aunt had just spent more time in rehab. Tensions were high when the adults (meaning Birdie’s parents and aunt) were together. Birdie found herself drawn to her aunt Charlene and wanted to know more about her. The more Birdie finds out about her aunt, the more secrets come out and soon, everything Birdie thought she knew to be true could turn out to be a lie.
I devoured this book. It was perfectly paced so I was turning the pages faster than I expected. This felt like a very unique take on a topic I’ve read before… Don’t misunderstand me. I haven’t read anything like this before. It will stay with me for a long time because of the topics and the way they were handled. Colbert did not throw around topics like “rehab”, “alcoholism”, “drug use”, or “addict” simply to move the story along. They had a purpose within the story and they were handled with nothing short of respect. They were tastefully and masterfully done. I applaud Colbert for her ability to write such a powerful story.
The story itself was set in Chicago and while I have not visited (yet), I could tell there was a lot of research that went into the story (setting and details). I felt as if I was walking around the city with Birdie. This was lush and very well developed. The same goes for the characters. I really liked Birdie, even though I did not always agree with her decisions/actions. I was once a teenager so I cannot be too hard on the girl. I knew why she was doing what she was doing, I just never rebelled the way Birdie did. I still enjoyed the characters and felt they were well represented. Their voices sounded true and original.
Do I recommend this? Heck yes I do! This felt like a necessary story as I haven’t read anything like this before. I have heard of the premise of the story but the delivery was original and brilliant. I will push this into the hands of everyone I can. I want everyone to give this a chance and add to your TBR now.