COLD HARD TRUTH
By: Anne Greenwood Brown
Published By: Albert Whitman Company
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Reading Level: Young Adult
Buy the Book: Amazon
Goodreads Summary: Emmie O’Brien is a former good girl now on the fringe. She spent a crazy year involved with Nick, her mom’s drug dealer; after her arrest she was lucky to go back to her old life. But she’s haunted by the choices she made—first, to be with Nick, and then later, to testify against him. Max Shepherd is a senior varsity hockey player with serious anger issues. His grief over the death of his girlfriend causes him to see injustice wherever he looks. When they meet in community service, Max is drawn to Emmie’s calm energy, but Emmie knows better than to get too close to anyone. When friends of Nick show up seeking revenge, Emmie is forced to come to terms with her past, while Max has to control his protective instincts. They must trust one another, especially when Emmie’s situation takes a dangerous turn.
First Thought After Finishing - I hope there is a companion novel!
I wanted to read this book because it involved a hockey player and I’m a slight (read: huge) hockey fan. And, I admit it, I wanted to live vicariously through the girl dating a player. But this story was even more than just a romance—it was a story of learning to trust you and finding someone who completes you.
Emmie has been dealt a rough hand in life. After a year living with her meth-addict mother, doing anything she could to make sure her mother didn’t suffer from withdrawals, Emmie finds herself in trouble with the law and back living with her father. Only trouble didn’t stay away just because Emmie left. Enter Max, who has some baggage of his own. When they meet on their community service crew, the attraction is undeniable. But is that enough to overcome the truth they’re both trying to hide?
Emmie is a tough, no-nonsense girl who doesn’t want anyone to know that she’s not okay. She’s used to taking care of herself and her mother with a support network that was anything but supportive. As an adult reading this, my heart broke for a teenager who had to live like this. As much as Emmie wants to be free, she also can’t quite shake the guilt she feels from testifying against Nick (her mother’s dealer) and leaving her mom alone. It was hard for Emmie to trust again, but with every new interaction, I only wanted the best for her.
Then there is Max, struggling under guilt of his own and trying to learn how to control his anger. At first, Max was a great example of when a protective guy can go too far. Still, despite what Max had suffered, wanted to care about someone else. He recognized something special in Emmie and wanted to break through her walls, and isn’t that what every girl wants? Once again, he was someone I just wanted to hug.
Max (and later Emmie) has a great group of friends, and I loved watching them interact together. It was really fun to see behind-the-scenes glimpses of a hockey team. (I’d love to be a fly on the wall in my team’s locker room just to know what really happens.) The girls were also accepting of Emmie and Marissa, and that was refreshing to see.
Throughout the book, it wasn’t too difficult to guess at the truths both Emmie and Max were hiding, but I still wanted them to trust each other enough to actually share them. Honestly, I wanted to see so much more emotions from both of them. This book had the potential to be a complete tearjerker, but something kept me from fully giving in to that. The story was missing an element of depth and complexity that would have pushed this book to a new emotional level. Despite that, I sound myself turning pages quickly, as it was not hard to get drawn into the story. I would also love to see companion novels with this group of friends. More hockey books are always a good thing!
Most Memorable Aspect: Emmie’s Story and the fun of the hockey teammates.
COLD HARD TRUTH (contemporary/romance);
GIRL LAST SEEN (contemporary/suspense); and the paranormal mermaid trilogy: LIES BENEATH, DEEP BETRAYAL, PROMISE BOUND. She also writes adult romance under the name A.S. Green.
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