ALWAYS by Sarah Jio

ALWAYS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A woman’s romantic life is turned upside down once when her first love disappears and again when he resurfaces, noticeably changed.

Kailey is on the brink of marrying the perfect guy, but it's clear, despite protestations to herself and to the reader, that her heart’s not in it. For one thing, she’s writing a newspaper series in hopes of saving one of Seattle’s homeless shelters and its neighborhood from development, and her fiance is in business with the developers. For another, she has never gotten over the love of her life, Cade, who disappeared years ago after their relationship deteriorated. Worlds collide immediately when Cade shows up, wild-eyed and homeless, begging outside the fancy restaurant where Kailey and her fiance have been dining. From there, the narrative splits. In the past, Kailey tells of falling for Cade when he steals her away from a setup date. They bond over being orphans and over their love for each other. Cade takes Kailey on trips and shows her around Seattle, moving through the music scene which, as a record label owner, he knows well. In the present, Kailey tracks down the homeless, changed Cade and eventually manages to get him enrolled in a clinic for patients with brain trauma. The origin of Cade’s injury is a mystery that keeps the story moving—was it his old business partner, with whom he was always at odds?—but several ends are left loose. The greatest is that Kailey’s past narrative portrays Cade as becoming increasingly unreliable, short-tempered, and alcohol-dependent, but these problems are not addressed in either timeline. Homelessness and brain trauma get a lot of lip service but seem primarily to be plot devices rather than examined issues.

A well-intentioned but thin portrayal of love.

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-101-88502-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2016




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