A gritty, urban New Adult Cinderella story where the princess can do her own rescuing — she just needs someone to believe in her.
Sister to car thieves, ex-girlfriend to a drug dealer, high school dropout, no-hoper and loser — Jess is on the sidelines, watching her life become one epic fail. Her dreams of university are fading fast, as the people in her life fight to confine her to their own expectations.
Then she meets Sebastien, a gifted cellist from a very different walk of life. Sebastien is clean and strong and talented. He likes and respects her, but he too has expectations. Sebastien seems to think she can do anything, and Jess, despite her fears and the secrets she hides, is starting to believe him.
But just as Jess dares to hope, the secrets in her past and the lies in her present catch up with her. All seems lost and she has to make a choice. Between past and future. Between home and hope. Between now and never. And this is now.
The publisher gave me a copy of this book to read and review (from NetGalley). This has, in no way, altered my opinion of the book and what is written below is a 100% honest review.
I don’t usually read books like this, but I’m glad that I made an exception. This was an interesting read, mostly because of the psychology of the main character, Jess. She felt real and well thought out and I really believe that Maggie Gilbert did an excellent job painting her back story and giving her a unique and believable voice. Jess feels stuck in a small town,caught between two drug-dealing, troublesome brothers. She has big dreams of becoming a famous architect, but feels like she will never be able to achieve her goals. Everyone and everything in her life says “quit”, except the charming, chivalrous cellist, Sebastien. He treats her like a princess and Jess falls wildly in love with him. Circumstances threaten their fairytale ending – mainly the fact that Jess is from a rougher “side of the tracks” and Sebastien lives in a modern mansion. She hides her background from him and her “slutty” reputation (even though she’s only slept with 2-3 men). Although the synopsis says that “she doesn’t need to be saved”, Jess is incredibly insecure. When Sebastien acts the part of the gentleman and puts off sleeping with her, she believes that possibly she has done something wrong. After all, if a man doesn’t want to sleep with you, does he really love you? That’s her kind of thinking. Gilbert did an excellent job of portraying this girl and I felt a lot of compassion for her.
I’d say that I wouldn’t have thought of this as a Cinderella story, necessarily. Gilbert did a good job of creating her own story and drawing on parts of the Cinderella tale, but not copying the story part-by-part or making it obvious that this was a sort of “retelling”.
Sebastien was a lovely gent, although I feel like the sex scene was kind of pointless. Does deep love always have to communicate itself through sex? Like… can’t a couple be deeply and completely in love and NOT have sex? REALLY THOUGH. I felt it was kind of pointless for Sebastien to “wait” and then suddenly give in to having sex with her. I felt a bit cheated. Not going to lie. So, yes, I liked the characterization, but felt like the sex scene was a bit (or A LOT) unneeded.
Overall, I thought this was a good read and, yes, I liked analyzing the characters to pieces.