Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
When Devney Perry’s second book, Wild Highway, of the Runaway series ended, I was left wanting. Here’s the thing about a Devney Perry book. She wraps up her books with a glorious happy ending for her hero and heroine. She does this so well that I like to think of her as the queen of the epilogue. For example, Letters to Molly’s ending is still my favorite epilogue EVER. With that, when Wild Highway ended, I needed her newest book, Quarter Miles, immediately. Alas, that wasn’t to be, so I waited patiently for an ARC (or the release day) for Katherine and Cash’s story. For some reason, I was drawn to Katherine’s story. I think it has something to do with the idea that we just want to be chosen. Whether it’s teams for kickball on the playground or an audition or a romantic interest, we want to be seen and understood and chosen. At the end of Wild Highway, it looked as though Cash, Katherine’s long term crush, had chosen someone else, and my heart felt heavy for her. As such, the promise of Quarter Miles’s story tugged at my soul as I waited patiently for it. When it finally arrived, I couldn’t get to it fast enough. And in true Devney Perry fashion, her story melted my heart.
Devney Perry is my top recommended author to new readers for two very important reasons: (1) her story shines before her steam (this means people such as my older mom can read her and I don’t blush too much) and (2) her storytelling is such that you want to reside in her books. It doesn’t matter which series Perry writes I want to live in her books because her characters feel believable with the added fiction of romance. That feels both relational and titillating. And every reader whom I have recommended Perry has fallen deeply in love with her storytelling. That’s a testament to Perry’s craftsmanship.
Quarter Miles is no different than any of her other books in terms of Perry’s skill at developing characters who we feel a connection. From the beginning of Quarter Miles, Perry makes Katherine’s disappointment in life palpable. You want her to take this journey, the third leg of delivering the Cadillac. You need her to remove herself from her situation for a time, so that she can either move on or Cash realizes he actually sees her as more than a sister. When he invites himself on the journey, you feel discouragement because you want Katherine to have that space to examine and reflect on her life. You empathize with Katherine because Perry creates her to feel like your friend. This may sound simplistic, but it’s the best reason I can conjure for why Perry’s books are always one-click preorders for me. Her characters’ experiences feel like my experiences. As Katherine’s journey progresses, and she and Cash complicate their friendship, her pain and confusion feel important. Perry’s magic at crafting real characters allows you to imagine her struggles, and they become your own in a way. For me, that is the power of writing, and that power is illustrated time and time again in Perry’s books.
Now, Cash is one of my favorite types of heroes. He is well-meaning. He is kind and thoughtful, but he is blind. Quite frankly, be prepared because he wears blinders for much of the story. However, from a reader’s standpoint, we see him drawn to Katherine, protective of her. Perry holds him back, though, from recognizing his true feelings, so that tension necessary for creating compelling stories is present in the story. In many ways, it’s delicious because it keeps you engaged in the book, but it also creates the angst that makes your stomach nervous and brings tears to your eyes. Through Cash and Katherine’s journey, your feelings run the gamut, one minute you feel happy for their potential coupling, and the next, you note Katherine’s despair. As I’ve noted before in other reviews of books, for me, invoking the feelings of your readers is a testament to a writer’s skill, and Perry’s skill is keen.
Just like she did at the end of Wild Highway, Quarter Miles leaves us pining for more. This group of runaways with wounds so deep from their past find healing, and you long for their journeys because they remind us that we can find our own healing in our relationships with others. As we move into the next book, Forsaken Trail, Aria’s story, we can trust that Devney Perry will lead us through the minefield of emotions to an ending that feels like a promise for all of us.
In love and romance,