ARC Review : Who I Am With You by Missy Fleming

29637320Title : Who I Am With You

Author : Missy Fleming

Publisher : Missy Fleming/Amazon

Release date : April 25th, 2016

Rating : 5/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

After witnessing the devastating events of September 11th firsthand, Olivia Van den Berg turned to drugs in hopes of burying the horrifying memory of her parents’ deaths. Nine years later, she’s sober and back in New York for the first time to visit her dying grandmother. With no other heirs, the family business will fall on Olivia’s shoulders, but is she strong enough take her rightful place at the head of a multi-million dollar corporation?

Duncan McMurray is a FDNY firefighter and a hopeless mess. He lost so much that fateful day – his family, his department brothers, his will to live. Years later he’s still struggling to come to terms with his survivor’s guilt and he does it with any substance he can get his hands on. One thought keeps him going … the girl with the chestnut hair he saved as hell crashed down around him, the only proof he wasn’t a complete failure.

A strange encounter reunites Olivia and Duncan once again and the two feel an instant connection. As Olivia falls in love with the man from her past, doors to her future begin to open and she must decide which path to follow. Who I Am With You is a story of love, fear, addiction and coming to terms with who you are and who you are supposed to be.

Review :

First of all, I would like to thank Missy Fleming for entrusting me with her eBook. Go check it out on Amazon!

This book blew my mind away! The characters were incredible and I fully appreciate that the author knew what she was talking about.

At the beginning, it seems like a typically liked story: the beginning comes off a little bit biography-ish, the writing is good, but nothing exceptional. It was a pretty exciting read: it’s fast-paced when it needs to be, it never drags on (!), there’s even a bit of suspense and mystery. It feels like a movie on paper, a good movie, the kind that would remind you of Still Alice. The author seems to have done quite a lot of research on firefighting, business, drug addiction, rehab, and 9/11. I am always so grateful when an author does their homework, and in this book, Fleming did it well! The insight I got about what happened during 9/11, in and around the towers… Makes me wonder if she was actually there. It was THAT good, guys.

There were two bits that ticked me off a bit, and I’m going to quote them:

What a pussy (p. 54)

and

Y’all are a bunch of girls (p. 334)

I mean, really??? People still use those expressions?? Um… *disapproving look*

Anyway, all the characters are realistic; people you could encounter in your daily life. They have their problems, flaws and quirks. Let’s talk about Olivia. Oh, Olivia *clutches my heart*. She is AMAZING. She is my GIRL CRUSH. Ok, let me tell you something: I usually read a lot of Young Adult (YA) Fiction. The characters I read about are around 18 years old. And sometimes, being so young and not having sorted out their crap, I sometimes wonder what the hell are you doing?? Get a grip. But here, Olivia being an older protagonist, it makes her usually doubtful decisions more acceptable, because she’s independent, logical, and smart, autonomous, and mature. Oh yes, MATURE. Despite her addiction, and her struggle to overcome it, she’s been groomed for big responsibilities, and every reader could see that. Again, she’s mature, and she cares deeply for her well-being and recovery. She doesn’t let no man take her down with him, and it’s clear that she’s fighting her demons the right way. She’s a survivor, a role model. She’s so honest and open about her problems; it’s a perfect message to those who survived addiction and/or tragedies. It’s refreshing to have a protagonist who went through all these stuff and who didn’t become an unsentimental, emotionless zombie. The future and her recovery are her main concerns, and getting help is shown to be THE best way to help ourselves. She is THE BOSS.

Secondly, Duncan. I love Duncan. He’s a cutie, what with his love of kids and his willingness to visit the ones in hospitals. But, he’s a broken character, even worse than Olivia, because he’s still in the midst of his addiction. His attempts at stopping are brave and admirable, and strength is perceived in the way he wants to redeem himself. In any other book, one that focuses on him, his hardships and his recovery, he would’ve been a great character. But here, as the main love interest? Can you guys see the issues? I’ll let you see it by yourselves, when you read the book.

Who I Am With You tackles real issues, in a realistic way. It’s about moving on, and doing what’s best for you and who you want to be. However, for a story revolving around such a dark subject, it never failed to make me laugh and smile at times.

Adults didn’t possess the same resiliency. They gave into darker emotions, depression and hopelessness.

This was exactly what I feared would happen in this novel, but I was scared for nothing, because it wasn’t at all depressing. It shows us something concrete, and more accessible, to do to heal and to move on. It’s a great change from what we usually read in books about healing, which are usually monotonous and slow and introspective, like a 200-page therapy. Here we see two protagonists who are quite lively and driven.

All in all, it was the perfect contemporary romance fiction I needed. Recommended!!

Picture sources : 1, 2

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