Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
When you decide to read a Brittainy C. Cherry story, you make an oath. You accept that you have signed a passport to a journey, one filled with angst and sometimes heartbreak. You know, however, at the end of your journey you will have learned some lessons about life, and you will find an eventual peace for the characters. The final destination becomes a treasure because your arduous, emotional trial brings about an ending worth the battle for your heart. The Wreckage of Us continues on in the Brittainy C. Cherry tradition. However, the surprise for me came through her development of her hero, Ian, and her heroine, Hazel.
I’m used to Cherry’s brand of angsty romance, and I willingly sign myself up to read her delicious stories. At some point, I feel this overwhelming sense of rightness even in the midst of her characters’ troubles. Cherry just has this way about taking you on a journey of epic proportions with a finale that leaves you feeling complete albeit a little battered too. And isn’t that the way of good romance? Shouldn’t you feel as though your emotions have pulled you through a battle? What is different about Cherry’s newest book, The Wreckage of Us, is the humor of it. Yes, I said humor in a Cherry romance. It all begins with Hazel and Ian’s meet-cute. It’s been a while since I’ve read a meet-cute between the hero and heroine of a story that both makes me gasp and chuckle at the same time. As these two navigate their time together, Cherry writes these moments of both gravity and levity for Hazel and Ian. As the reader, you know Hazel’s background, and you can’t help but love to hate Ian because he doesn’t. Instead, he makes himself unlikable for the first part of the story. Hazel and Ian’s volleys, however, become the life of this romance, and it’s also its foreplay.
What should you know most about Hazel and Ian? This is a slow burn romance. Yes, there is clear chemistry between them; Cherry crafts it brilliantly. Even when you dislike Ian’s ire towards Hazel, you know that he is clearly fated for her. These two who seem so different are actually more alike than you first realize. All of their initial struggles become the tinder for their eventual fire. When my favorite character of the story, Big Paw, finally intercedes and knocks the rocks around in Ian’s head, he undertakes one of the biggest transformations. In doing so, Cherry begins the building of an epic romance. It’s here where Cherry’s message becomes clear: in order to love big, you must feel first.
Over and over again, Cherry hits you with Hazel’s struggles. Interestingly enough, she keeps Hazel and Ian fairly intact which seems out of character for Cherry’s brand. However, it feels necessary given the complications of Hazel’s life. Besides Big Paw and Grams, Hazel is also one of my favorites. What tends to be true for angsty romances is an author’s insistence on levying painful moments on the heroine. This is indeed the case for Cherry’s Hazel. Wave after wave of trouble seeks to sink her; however, once she realizes the people in her life can keep her from drowning (another important message of this story), her path becomes easier, thankfully. Even more, Cherry infuses her with an internal strength beyond any of the other characters in the story. As a woman, we need to read characterizations of women like Hazel. It’s an intimation that we have more power than we oftentimes allow ourselves. Hazel illustrates this time and time again in Cherry’s romance.
There are so many moments of beauty in Brittainy C. Cherry’s The Wreckage of Us. Over and over again, you wonder if you will make it out to the other side, basking in the happy ending of Hazel and Ian. Yet, it’s Grams’s words that stick with you: “Just have a little bit of faith.” Sure enough, after embracing the journey of Hazel and Ian, you reach their happy ending and realize that it feels like life, that sometimes there are dark moments, but there is always a light at the end if you “just have a little bit of faith.”
In love and romance,