This week's Indie Book of the Week really is something extraordinary. Unique and different and beautifully written.
Title: The Boy From the Woods
Author: Jen Minkman
Series: Stand Alone
Published: December 1, 2013
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Julia fell down on her knees next to his lifeless body, her heart filling with dread as she noticed the left side of his face was covered in blood. He had fallen off the motorbike, hitting his temple on a sharp-edged rock. His head injury looked really, really bad.
“Michael?” she whispered softly, putting a trembling hand on his forehead. “Can you hear me?”
Julia has been in love with Michael for years. He’s the hottest guy in school, and she can’t believe her luck when they finally hit it off during Senior Prom. Her dream doesn’t last, though: after a few dates, he callously dumps her out of the blue. Summer vacation starts with Julia feeling heart-broken and miserable.
But then she rescues Michael in the woods when he has a motorcycle accident in a heavy thunderstorm. From that point onward, her life is turned upside down. Michael has changed completely after the blow to the head that nearly killed him... and he wants her back. But why is he so different? And will she be able to trust him this time around?
Can the boy who broke your heart ever win it back again..?
About the Author:
Jen Minkman (1978) was born in Holland, in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn. When she was 19, she moved between The Hague, Salzburg (Austria), Brussels (Belgium) and Cambridge (UK) to complete her studies in intercultural communication. She is currently a teacher of English and Dutch at a secondary school in The Hague, Holland. She tries to read at least 100 books a year (and write a few, too!). She is a published author in her own country, and translates her own books from Dutch into English for self-publication.
In her spare time, she plays the piano, the guitar and the violin. For every novel she writes, she creates a soundtrack.
'I have always been drawn to writing. My first book was a sci-fi novel at the age of eight, which I painstakingly typed out on my dad's typewriter and illustrated myself. Nowadays, I stick to poetry, paranormal romance, chicklit and/or fantasy. In my home country, I am the first-ever published writer of paranormal romance, and I will gradually make my books also available in English (seeing I have to re-write and translate the books myself, this will take some time!).
I love that this was so different from most YA fantasy/paranormal romance reads. Not only was it originally published in Dutch and takes place in Austria but the storyline is completely unique.
It is about a young girl Julia on the cusp of adulthood, still trying to figure it all out. Trying to follow her heart as well as her head and not having all the answers but being willing to open her heart up to love and forgiveness.
This is going to be so hard to get into without revealing way too much. I will say this, the storyline was engaging and endearing. Constantly showing how people can change, situation can change, sometimes all on their own and sometimes with a little help from others. But most importantly it is about the lessons we learn when we love.
That love, especially first love, is never perfect. In fact it is messy and chaotic and sometimes downright hurtful but we learn from it, sometimes valuable lessons that will change us forever. And most importantly Julia learns to not close her heart off to new possibilities because of one mistake, of one love gone wrong.
The storyline while original isn't completely without mystery or without predictability. Some parts you figure out or at least are pretty sure you know what will happen right away and others not so much, but either way, whether you figure it all out ahead of time or not, it is okay because the messages and the writing still draw you in and hold your attention.
*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author. I was not compensated for this review.*