Series: The Good Life #0.5
Published by Self-Published on 31st January 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
All Good Things…
are wild and free.
This is going to be the best summer ever! Bonfires, pool parties, trips to the beach, throwing her arms in the air while riding down the open road in a convertible – she’s going to do it all.
Roxie has plans. It’s the last summer before college graduation. By this time next year she’ll be living in the “real” world; ie: paying bills, searching for a job that doesn’t require an apron, and maybe even sleeping on a bed that doesn’t turn into a couch. If there’s ever a time to be fun, irresponsible and reckless, it’s now.
But things don’t always go as planned.
Before the summer has even started, Roxie makes a discovery that breaks her heart and shatters her confidence. Her hopes of having the Best Summer Ever go straight in the trash. Forget the beach. Forget the bonfires. Forget summer altogether.
If only her childhood friend, Jake, would let her be. His contagious smile keeps popping up and dragging her to every social event in Ann Arbor. Reluctant at first, his happy-go-lucky attitude becomes an addiction. It isn’t long before Roxie starts to wonder if her longtime friend might be the perfect cure for her heartbreak. This summer might be good after all.
But All Good Things…
must come to an end.
*All Good Things is an NA prequel to the contemporary 2013 release The Good Life. The books can be read in either order, or as stand-alones.*
REVIEWED BY JOANNE
*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*
*WARNING! THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE GOOD LIFE*
It’s taken me a few days to try and compose a review that will sum up what I thought about this book but I STILL don’t think I’ll be able to do it justice.
I LOVED The Good Life, and I was really looking forward to reading this book. Sometimes when you loved the first book in a series, there’s a worry that the sequel (or in this case, the prequel) won’t be as good. Well fear not readers! This one, in my opinion was even better.
I forgot, until I started reading this, how much I loved Jake Odom. My heart broke for him as I read the prologue, where we see him as a little boy neglected by his parents but welcomed as one of their own by the Humsuckers (Roxie’s parents). The story flits back and forth from the present to the past, and told in both points of view. I loved seeing how Jakes feelings towards Roxie started to change, how he went from feeling brotherly to something more.
We know from reading The Good Life that Roxie and Jake have history, they had a summer fling that will forever be known as ‘The Summer of Roxie and Jake’ and this is the story of that summer.
Roxie is home for the summer, licking her wounds after being duped by her not so perfect boyfriend. Not wanting anyone to discover her humiliation she hides away in her room, but Jake isn’t going to let her wallow. He helps her get a job in the bar he manages and this is the start of their summer.
Jake tells Roxie she needs to have fun, let her hair down and have a summer fling before returning to college for her last year. She agrees and ends up on a date that is so hilariously bad that I could not stop laughing! Finally Roxie admits to herself that Jake is the perfect candidate and wastes no time in putting a plan into place.
Jake takes no persuading, and when they get together their chemistry is off the scale. They’re perfect for each other, and it makes you wonder why they took so long to hook up.
As summer draws to an end, I knew what was coming, and yet despite that I couldn’t help but hope that they would see the light.
I love Jodie Beau’s writing style, she makes it so effortless to get engrossed in the story and I feel as though I am there with the characters. I felt as though I was Roxie’s friend, that we’d met up for coffee and she was recounting what has happened to her since I saw her last. I laugh at the scrapes she gets herself into, cringe at her embarrassments, swoon over her perfect boyfriend, and cry at the sad moments. And boy did I cry at the end of this story! The epilogue slayed me. Even though I knew what decision Roxie made I was still desperate for her to see sense, and change her mind. The end of this story was so emotional, so poignant, and so heart breaking that I’m still thinking about it days later.
EXCLUSIVE BONUS PROLOGUE
FROM JAKE’S POV
*CONTAINS SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ ALL GOOD THINGS YET*
I’m not supposed to be sitting in a park across from a church right now. I’m supposed to be taking pictures of high school seniors. That was my excuse to get out of going to the wedding. I’d lied and told the Humsuckers I’d already scheduled four photo shoots that day. I could reschedule one, maybe two, but not four. Guess I have to miss the wedding. Such a shame. So sad I can’t be there on Roxie’s big day.
I knew she’d met someone. I wasn’t upset about it. I was the one who’d sent her back to school without offering her any kind of commitment. We’d left it as a “if it’s meant to be, it’ll be” kind of thing. When I heard she had a boyfriend, I didn’t take it too seriously. I figured she was just having fun.
When I started overhearing other things, things about dresses, bridesmaids, flowers, I rolled my eyes. Roxie was the girl who cut out pictures of wedding dresses from magazines, glued them to construction paper, and put them in a special wedding folder that she’d decorated with glitter and stickers. She’d been planning this day since she was five. Plenty of guys had been inserted into the role of groom in that folder of hers. This was just the latest. It was a phase. I wasn’t worried about it.
The invitation shook me. It wasn’t from Roxie. It was from her parents. Mr. & Mrs. Henry Humsucker request the honor of your presence… But she had to have known they were sending it. She could have called, emailed, texted, sent a message on MySpace, something, anything. The silence was the part I hated most.
We’d agreed not to talk during the school year because we thought it would make us miss each other more. We thought it would make the separation harder. But being engaged to someone else made that arrangement a bit obsolete. She didn’t miss me at all. So why did we have to stay quiet? Why couldn’t we talk? Why didn’t she call me and tell me about this huge wedding she was planning? Shit, I could have even been her photographer. I don’t usually do weddings because I don’t have the patience for bitches, but I would have made an exception for her. If things could just have gone back to normal, everything could have been okay.
I thought maybe I could make things better. I could be the one to open the doors of communication. I texted her. Just a smiley face. I thought she’d understand what I meant – I see you’re getting married. No hard feelings. Still love ya, Little Girl.
She didn’t text back.
On the invitation, I put a check mark next to the word Regret.
How ironic. Oh wait. I’m still not using that word correctly, am I?
“What’s this guy like?” I’d asked Adam after I’d told him I wouldn’t be able to make it.
“He seems all right, I guess. I haven’t spent that much time with him. But he’s funny. I can tell how much he loves her. And he’s got a great future ahead of him, too. Very ambitious. I’d say she picked a good one. She could have done worse.”
Very ambitious. Great future. Not a bartender who dropped out of college. Yes. She could have done worse.
I always thought I’d be there on Roxie’s wedding day. I think maybe I kind of thought I’d be standing next to her.
I definitely didn’t think I’d be making up excuses as to why I couldn’t come, and then sitting in a park across the street from the church like some deranged stalker. Ha. Roxie would love it if she knew. “That’s so Sixteen Candles,” she’d say.
I guess I just wanted to be close in case she needed me, without having to be there if she didn’t.
I don’t know what I think is going to happen. I know she’s not going to change her mind and come running down the church steps like Cinderella. Even Roxie Humsucker soon-to-be-Golightly isn’t that dramatic. But I’m hoping she calls. Just to talk to me one last time. Just to see if I still care. Even just to reassure herself that she doesn’t.
But I get nothing.
My phone beeps at me at 4:20. I should have cancelled the stupid alarm a long time ago. I don’t know why I didn’t. I kept thinking it wasn’t official until it was official. I refused to give her up completely until I knew I didn’t have a choice.
Does she have her phone on her right now, wherever she is in there? Did she ever cancel her alarm? Did it go off just now?
I wait for the doors to open, for her to come running down the steps, holding her dress up off the ground so she doesn’t trip, while turning her head in both directions looking for me. Of course that doesn’t happen.
The church doors do open about thirty minutes later. I see people in suits and dresses trickle out onto the steps. They slowly start to form a semi circle. I see the photographer on his knees at the bottom of the steps. When the crowd starts to cheer, I look away before I see the bride and groom make their grand exit.
I walk back to my truck on the other end of the park and get in. I don’t understand it. Is this my fault? I never told her I loved her. I kind of thought she knew. Would it have made a difference? I guess I would never know now.
It didn’t make any sense to me, how she could just fall in love with someone else so soon. But I didn’t need to understand it to know what it meant. I lost her. It was as official as it was going to get. And that was when I cancelled my alarm.