For five long years, Rae Ryan has lived in a storm over which she has no control. Little by little, everything has been taken away from her—her job, her relationship, her best friend and her home. Plagued by nightmares and a terrible family secret, she carries her scars as much on the inside as she does on the outside.
Hart Booker, another disappointment from her past, returns to Bar Harbor and shelters her from the rain. He reminds Rae that forgiveness is possible, happiness can be found on the other side of darkness, and beauty rests beneath her scars. But a sinister figure lingering in the background seems determined to pull Rae back into a past she’s been trying to outrun. Can she survive the storm and become part of the light she so desperately desires? Or is she destined to remain Pulled Within?
Recommended for mature audiences due to explicit language, sexual abuse, disturbing situations, and drug use.
I have been looking for ways to return to book blogging, so when I saw a call for reviewers on Marni Mann‘s CLP tour I imminently signed up. What drew me to Mann’s Pulled Within, the second novel in her Bar Harbor series, was the stories categorization under the New Adult fiction genre. I love new genres but haven’t had much experience with YA fiction. Even so, I thought this, with it’s more adult themes, would be right up my alley. And boy howdy, I was pleasantly pulled in.
For Rae Ryan, hiding her emotional scars is a bit easier than hiding the one on her face, although she tries. Luckily, her newly returned high school ex-boyfriend, Hart Booker, is just the person she needs to help her recover and heal. Having read Pulled Beneath and walking away not particularly liking Rae, I was skeptical when I realized Pulled Within was about her story. Add that to the fact that sometimes I can be an impatient reader, so in the beginning Rae’s constant reference to her scar without further explanation frustrated me because it felt like I was trying to peek around a corner that greeted me with another wall.
However, the mystery surrounding Rae’s scar, her alienation from her family, and the history between her and Hart is driven by Mann’s skilled use of motif, imagery, and well timed reveals. I bolted through this book because I could not take myself away from Rae’s emotional journey.
Having read a few YA, I certainly see where New Adult opens up space for 20-something development, issues, and themes. There is an opportunity for stories that are gritter and sharper than say chick lit’s playfulness. Pulled Within has it’s dark and violent moment as well as erotic and sensual. Hart is a commanding sexual partner with shades of Christian Grey but in a much more supportive and healthy light and much less creepy controlling stalker type.
I thoroughly enjoyed Pulled Within. Be ready for a mystery focused on one young woman’s personal walls to protect herself and the emotional journey that entails.
Thank you to Samantha at Chick Lit Plus for organizing this blog tour and including me.
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