Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“She was there. Always there. Steadying me in the storm.”
In her newest book, Defying Gravity, K.K. Allen has drawn a beautiful universe of forbidden love. Beautifully etched with happiness and tears, Tobias and Amelia’s story lives deeply on the page, pulling at the heart-strings of her readers. This story will break your heart and then mend it all together in the end.
This story begins after the moments in the prequel book, Falling Gravity. Tobias is Amelia’s best friend’s brother and her next-door neighbor. They engage in a tryst over Spring Break, knowing that their futures might problematize anything long term. However, hearts being as they are, both of them know that the other is becoming more important than they expected initially. Life enters, though. Tobias finds out that he has been given an opportunity to play developmental pro basketball. The issue: it’s in Chicago and he must leave within twenty-four hours. Additionally, Amelia realizes her life-long dream when she auditions for and makes the dance team for a professional basketball team in Los Angeles. As they go off to pursue their dreams, they try hard to hold onto their relationship, placing little expectations on it.
During their absence, Amelia encounters devastating challenges. This changes her, and she makes a drastic decision about her future, one that she cuts Tobias out of. This change causes a three-year absence from each other’s lives. One day, Tobias and Amelia meet again. Will they rekindle their romance, or has too much time passed? Can they ever find their HEA?
I need to say this. K. K. Allen blew my mind with this story. Here’s the thing. It isn’t out of the ordinary in terms of forbidden romance/best friend’s brother. Honestly, it’s a pretty common trope. What I LOVED about Defying Gravity from the start is Allen’s care in crafting this story.
With more people reading e-books than ever before (this reader included), there is so much available to authors in terms of multi-media that they can incorporate to enhance the story. And this is the genius of this book. This may seem so simple, but it made the book transcendent for me. K. K. Allen incorporates dance links into her book so we can really understand and feel Amelia. In my opinion, it’s genius. For one, it breaks up the narrative, giving the reader a break from Tobias and Amelia’s issues. Secondly, it shows the reader the image that Allen is trying to portray. One of my favorite dances comes towards the end of the book: “Broken and Beautiful.” This dance represents a HUGE moment in Amelia’s journey. Seeing this dance lived out after having read Amelia’s experience made me cry, a “full tears down my face” cry. I don’t know that I would have felt Amelia’s pain and healing so deeply without watching this dance. Again, this is so simple, yet Allen’s intention here makes the story more poignant, more visceral.
Additionally, Tobias James is my new favorite book boyfriend. This is a man who loves deeply and carefully and fully. From the start, through his confidence and his broken moments, I fell in love with Tobias simply because he loves Amelia distinctly. He waits for her, he treasures her, and he sees her in a way that no one else in the story does. Because of this, I was rooting for him and Amelia from the start.
Amelia is no slouch either. Like Tobias, Amelia knows Tobias in a way that shows the reader early on these two are destined for each other. I love how Allen creates them to be equal parts, completing each other. Even in their absence, they are never far from each other’s thoughts. Allen also crafts a heroine who is mature and self-aware. Amelia’s struggle could have derailed her, taking the story in a completely different direction. However, Allen makes her responsible to herself, and the choices she makes are healthy. This is important for readers. It reminds them to love themselves before they can love others. This book could have easily been over a third of the way through it. But the lesson to love yourself first is more important than two soulmates finding their happily-ever-after sooner rather than later.
This message of self-love also connects with Tobias’s challenges related to his adoption. Again, Allen suggests, through his story, that we have to find peace in our circumstances. For much of the book, Tobias lives a life of resentment given his parents’ choices about the knowledge of this adoption. However, when Amelia reminds Tobias of the need to let go of the anger and resentment, he is able to mature and develop deeper relationships with his family…and even her.
I cannot say enough about this book. There is so much beauty in this story, even in the angst of it. Lessons about loving yourself and letting go of the past flood the page, and you cannot help but hope for the best for Tobias and Amelia. Thankfully, K. K. Allen doesn’t disappoint, and she gives them a most beautiful ending.
“We were just Amelia and Tobias. Moon and Earth, living among the stars and sun. We were everything. And no matter the hardships we’d face along the way, we would always make sense together. “
In love and romance,