I received this book for free from Give Me Books Promotions in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Underneath the Sycamore Tree by B. Celeste
on November 1, 2019
Cover Design: RBA Designs
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult, Enemies-to-Lovers, Stepbrother Romance
Format: Digital, Paperback
Source: Give Me Books Promotions
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Audible, Buy on eXtasy Books, Buy on Harlequin
Also by this author: Color Me Pretty
It happened in stages.
My father left.
My twin sister died of an incurable autoimmune disease.
My mother started breaking down.
Then I was diagnosed with the very thing that took my other half from me.
That was when I realized Mama’s eyes turned gold when she cried.
So I moved in with my father and his new family—new wife, new son, new stepbrother.
Kaiden Monroe made me feel normal.
Hated. Cared for. Loathed. And … loved.
Somewhere along the way, I’d found solace in the boy with brooding eyes.
But everything happens in stages.
And nothing good ever lasts.
Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Stepbrother Romance, Enemies-to-Lovers
First Person, female-POV (1 chapter, the epilogue on the male voice)
This is a standalone romance.
Addictiveness: 5/5 This was hard, painful and suffocating, but it was like a morbid attraction. I couldn’t let go, even though it was not pleasant, it was very addictive. As addictive as chocolate!!!
Character: hero 4/5, heroine 5/5, secondary characters 5/5, growth 5/5, real 5/5 Multidimensional characters with so much depth and good personal growth.
Emery was the perfect heroine. I don’t usually use the word perfect, but Emery totally deserved that title. She was a fighter, a warrior, a very wise person, even though only 18 years old. She taught my 44 year old self a lot about life. She was very astute and it came from experience, from pain, from sufferance. Emery was one of the special person of the world that had been given the hardest life journey, because she was strong enough to carry such a cross. She had lost a sister for lupus and along with her sister’s death, she lost her parents. Neither of them knew how to deal with the loss and Emery was sort of abandoned to deal with life by herself. Even though her parents had been not really good ones, she was always trying to make their life easier by not being such a big burden. Emery was extraordinary!!!
Kaiden was an interesting hero. He was a very angry boy. He hadn’t learned how to deal with loss and he just become angry with everything. He lost his dad, his mom remarried and later brought a stepsister to their house. He wanted to hate Emory, but it was impossible. She taught him so much about life, about not giving up, about second chances, about forgiveness. Kaden grew so much throughout the story, his journey was beautiful.
The secondary characters, so many that were really important even though they didn’t have major time in the book. Emory parents, grandmother, her twin sister, Kaiden’s mother a few kids from high school.
Villains.. antagonists… the villains here were disease and time. There was also one antagonist at school.
All characters were easy to love, connect and understand!!!
Cover: art 5/5, title 5/5, color-font 5/5, buy 5/5 I’m obsessed with book covers. I love to find snippets of the stories within the art. This one is gorgeous and perfect for the book. It tells so much. We see time, sycamore leaves and Emory. I love the colors, the font and the title that is perfect for the book. I would definitely buy this book by its cover without needing to read the blurb!!!
Freshness: 5/5 This book is UNIQUE! Everything in this book feels original and fresh. The way the author explored pain, disease and the making of a family was uncommon. As fresh as cold water in the middle of the desert!!!
Plot: believable 5/5, conflict 5/5, dialogue 5/5, ending 5/5, enjoyment 3/5, opening 5/5, pace 5/5, setting 5/5, subplots 5/5, twists 3/5 Amazing opening for an awesome ending. Really believable plot, with well written dialogues and good setting. Perfect pace for the story, with a great conflict and expected twist. High level of enjoyment!
I can’t say I’ve enjoyed the story because it hurt and I cried a lot. From the beginning, as soon as it started, I decided that I made a bad choice when I choses to read it. I don’t really know what I was expecting when I read the blurb, but I definitely didn’t want to cry for the entire book. It broke me, in a beautiful, painful way.
At the same time, I must say this plot was exceptional!!!! Or the author personally knows about the disease and how it can make or break a family, or she did a fantastic research. Either way, this was very well written with a cohesive plot without loopholes.
Romance: believable 5/5, chemistry 5/5, description 5/5, development 5/5, steam 3/5 So beautiful. It was not very romantic, at the same it was perfect for the characters and what they were living. It was not filled with tender-loving-caring, but it had the perfect amount of breaking and mending. It felt real, their chemistry undeniable, their hate/love/hate/love feelings something really possible. This was a young adult with a lot of sex and sex intention, so I would say 17 and older. The smut was sweet and a bit dirty, the perfect combination. Outlasting love!!!
Writing Style: 5/5 I’m in awe!!! Beautifully written plot, wonderfully created characters, enchanting romance, with lots of emotions, the author took the readers into a cathartic experience. Writing of a wordsmith!!!
Definitely a few good, LOL moments. This was hard, brutal, harsh!!!
This book broke me. I ended this read raw, fractured, ruptured. I didn’t know what to say or feel as soon as I finish, that is why I’ve waited a couple of days. I was in shock, I wasn’t expecting.
You know, when I read the blurb, I don’t really know what I saw, but my romantic heart probably thought something like this cute teenage couple that will hug, love and mend each other. I never thought they would also destroy and be destroyed.
This was the book that I definitely didn’t want, but totally needed!!! In fact, I believe EVERYONE NEEDS to read this!!!!
34.5/35 STARS – 4.5 STARS (between 31.5 stars and 33stars)
Addictiveness: 5 Character: 5 Cover: 5 Freshness: 5 Plot: 4.5 Romance: 5 Writing Style: 5
Action 0/5 Angst 5/5 Darkness 1/5 Humor 0/5 Romance 5/5 Suspense/Mystery 0/5
Would I recommend? Definitely! Everyone should read this!!!!
Would I re-read this book/series? I don’t think I’m strong enough for that.
Would I read more from the author? I will definitely stalk her and see what other books she has!!!
We walk for what feels like forever until I see a large sycamore tree in the middle of a field of purple flowers. It seems out of place, yet perfectly set at the same time.
Kaiden walks over to it and sits down, leaning his back against the thick trunk. He seems at peace, which is a new look for him. His body is eased as he stretches his long legs out without a care in the world.
I stare. Not just at him, but at the tree. It’s huge with its long branches and bright green leaves transitioning into yellow and orange and red that give the space a beautiful kind of life. Lo would have loved this spot. She would have dragged me out and stayed here until Mama called our names in frantic worry. Lo always wanted to be free, out in the open, surrounded by trees and plants and animals.
Suddenly, the tears that had finally stopped falling on the way over begin building again until everything blurs. Bottom lip trembling, I hear Kaiden’s heavy sigh.
“What’s wrong now?”
I answer silently what my emotions won’t let me speak aloud.
Lo was buried under a sycamore tree.