I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest response.
Little Things is the first book in the Second Chances series and written by Madison Street. It is told from the point of view of two high school seniors Duke & Raya. Raya has an abusive step father and Duke is the all-American lacrosse player.
I have waited a few days upon completion of this book to write a review,
mostly because, I really had a hard time with this book. I don't want to start out with negativity so I will start with pointing out the positive aspects of the story. Madison did a good job of showing a timeless love from the point of view of Duke. She also did a good job of describing scenery. In times of abuse there was a great amount of detail, that perhaps speaks of personal knowledge.
Apart from the abuse, the book starts out quite explicitly, but not in the sense of a romance novel. The sexual scenes (apart from abuse) seem to be written in a way that does not make the reader feel knowledgeable about the passion. Also HUGE issue for me was that we know Raya is 17, but we don't know the ages of Duke or Melanie, who are in a weirdly abrupt sexual experience that may or may not be considered child pornography in many states. Not knowing for sure if they were of legal age was very awkward and uncomfortable for me to read. I almost put the book down at this point, it made me feel gross. I tried to revisit it and give it another try with the vow that if anything started to get explicit that I was immediately deleting it from my kindle and giving up on it.
Luckily there were no more sexual encounters for the duration of a possible underage issue. The beginning of the book was quite awkward unless it was speaking of well-detailed abuse. The flirting and relationships came off as quite immature. I couldn't tell if this was deliberate or just the take that I got from the book. The story gets dark around the 30-40% mark and then goes on to get worse. There were a lot of detailed and horrendous scenarios and I almost feel bad for saying that the dark parts are when Madison wrote the story at its best.
When in dark times, I could really see Madison's talent shine through to the point that I the thought of whether or not personal experience was intertwined was relevant or not, given the excellence at getting the feeling across. Unfortunately (well fortunately of course, but not for the story telling), there is some light, but the events in the the third part of the book didn't really add up with a realistic timeline of how someone going through such awful things would recover and move on with life upon actually opening up about them.
I tried to write this in a way to not spoil anything for anyone else. Suffice it to say that Madison does have a gift for story telling, but it seems to be limited to darker content. Perhaps she should focus more on this in future writings, because she does so fabulously. Unfortunately the rest of the story just wasn't doing it for me. I felt like the rest of the book was written almost at a middle-grade level. It made the rest of the novel feel abrupt and awkward in many places. I would request more villains from Madison as she paints them beautifully. Overall though I have to go with a 2/5 stars given the weirdly possible child porn the awkward abrupt shifts in the story and the typos scattered throughout.