“You think you’re prepared for it … the death of someone you love. But you can’t know. You can’t know the kind of dagger, the dull kind inserted slowly into the muscle that the world views as the symbol of love. It rips apart every piece of flesh, every nerve, every vessel, every synapse.”
Lately, I feel that all of the books that I have been super in to wanting to read are well over 500 pages! Normally, the number of pages doesn't faze me, but I feel like time is always getting away from me, and in the back of my mind I see that I am behind in my Goodreads reading challenge for the year, and that just cannot happen! With that in mind, I wanted to find a lighthearted, easy read that is enjoyable but not a ton of pages. Since I have enjoyed a few Carrie Aarons books already this year I thought I would check out Kindle Unlimited to see what other books by her are available and I stumbled upon Fool Me Twice.
Fool Me Twice is about a young woman, Henley, who is just about to start her first year in college. Henley had grown up having the bestest friend a girl could ask for, Catherine. Unfortunately, throughout their friendship, Catherine was battling cancer until her senior year in high school, and she knew this was the time it was not going to be beaten. Knowing this, Catherine created a bucket list of things she wanted to do before she died: bungee jumping, dying her hair, camping in a tent, and getting revenge on Lincoln Kolb. Now, to honor Catherine's memory, completing the list falls on to Henley. Lincoln is the football star that dumped and broke Catherine's heart senior year of high school when she found out the cancer was back. He never knew Henley and now she is a freshman on campus where he is a big man. Catching his eye, playing hard to get, then falling into his bed is the perfect scheme. He'll never see it coming when she beats up his cold heart. However, when she never saw happening was Lincoln grabbing a piece of her heart and not letting go.
I am first just going to say that this story was so much more than I expected it to be. I imagined it being a light, romcom type of story. On the contrary, it was quite angsty and intense, where I was sitting on the edge of my seat just waiting for Henley to slip up and say something about Catherine, exposing who she is and the revenge she is trying to obtain. There were very steamy moments between Lincoln and Henley where you just felt the sexual tension and were waiting for one of them to cave, specifically Henley since Lincoln wanted her from the moment he laid eyes on her.
I know that Henley was ultimately scheming to get the revenge she felt her best friend deserved but I loved the interactions between Lincoln and Henley as soon as they first met. Lincoln was such an interesting character to me. He was nothing like I expected I would find, but turned out to be the ultimate perfect guy/boyfriend. Though he wanted to have a no strings attached college experience while he worked and focused on excelling in his football career, once he met Henley and knew she was something special, he wanted a serious relationship. He wanted the hold hands, spend all your time together, banter, and be open, honest, and friends kind of relationship. As you started to learn more about Lincoln - his dedication, love and loyalty to his family, his dedication to his love of football and seeing that through, how he was always honest and fighting for Henley, even when she held back or pushed him away - you realized he couldn't be this horrible, douchebag of a guy that you originally pictured when you read how he dumped Catherine so heartlessly. And when he opened up to Henley with his own personal story with cancer, I was on the edge of my seat!
Henley was a great main character in this love story. She is strong, independent, fierce, and so loyal. She has had one true, best friend in her life and has tragically lost her at such a young age. Even though it has only been a couple of months, she is handling that grief so maturely. Who doesn't want to fulfill the wishes of their best friend after they have passed? As Henley is settling in to her dorm, she realizes that she hasn't had other girlfriends, and even though she is an independent person, she realizes that it isn't so bad to make connections with other women. No one will ever replace Catherine, but she can make new friends, and it is so sweet to see her connect with her dormmate as well as a woman in one of her photography classes. As Henley is acting out her revenge on Lincoln, grabbing his attention and pulling back, giving a little yet staying mysterious, she starts truly falling for Lincoln. Now she has to decide if she continues with her revenge to honor Catherine, or let it go and give herself fully to Lincoln and what they could be as a couple.
I love that Henley did not jump into a decision lightly. Unfortunately, Lincoln finds out who Henley is and what she is doing before she could share that with him herself. I like that she was honest and told him that she did not know if she would tell him or not, take a leap or go through with revenge. I felt so bad for Lincoln with how wrecked he was. This girl is it for him, and she completely destroyed him. I was happy to see that Henley did not just give up, but called and texted repeatedly so that she could explain. Once they had a fully honest and truthful conversation with each other, Lincoln's explanation for how things went done with Catherine was eye opening. I won't share so that I don't give the whole story away with my review, but it honestly made sense. Don't forget - they were seniors in high school.
Overall, I loved this story! I felt that the writing was great, it had me on the edge of my seat waiting for a shoe to drop, laughing out loud at the banter and witty comebacks that both Lincoln and Henley share, and of course I felt that both characters grew in their own way throughout the story and through their relationship with each other. It was just a very beautiful story about friendship, love, grief, and letting go.
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