Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Tropes: childhood friends; love triangle; impossible love; instalove; star-crossed lovers; rock star; scars; blackmail
“It won’t be cloudy forever, Memphis. Eventually we’ll see the stars.”
Every writer leaves a piece of themselves in their stories. Even if the story is nowhere close to their experience, an author leaves something behind. What happens, though, when a writer bleeds all over their story, their passion for their characters imprinted indelibly on the page? Emotional, explosive, engaging stories. I’ve been trying to determine why I adore Ashley Jade’s romances. To be fair, I’m older than her average reader and her characters’ ages. Their young adult struggles are well in my past. But, after reading The Choice, I recognize I can feel her within her stories. There are very few authors I’ve read (someone like Kennedy Ryan comes to mind) where I feel them written all over the pages of their books in an urgent, impassioned way. And I believe this is why I adore Ashley Jade’s stories. When I enter them, I will be expected to feel feelings and be uncomfortable in doing so. Ashley Jade compels her readers into a rabid fandom, and it’s the ardor of her storytelling that lights this fire. There is no mistake: Ashley Jade cares deeply for her characters and the ideas that infuse her stories. The Choice? It’s no different.
You won’t find story details in this review. To do so would be to ruin this story. Instead, I’ll offer my feelings on reading The Choice.
For one, TikTok became my friend while reading this book. I needed small breaks because the “choices” of the characters will overwhelm you. At least, it did for me. Here’s the thing, though. They make their choices informed by their individual traumas. And all of her main characters have endured much. Ashley Jade warns her readers at the beginning of The Choice to avoid judging her characters, one in particular. And that’s an apt warning because hurt people make decisions informed by their past and pain. What Jade does well in this story is show the power of one’s trauma to inform the present. Even more, she shows the spectrum of people’s reactions to a trauma-filled past. And it’s so darn REAL. For me, this is the most impactful part of The Choice, and it’s the reason that readers should avoid making judgments until the conclusion of this book…and maybe even this duet.
Two, my heart broke for Skylar, Memphis, and Josh. Their lives are wrought at the hands of others. This changes them forever. However, as they move forward, putting their pain behind them, they encounter people who want more for them. Mrs. Landrum and Archie and Valerie attempt to provide more for these three. Infusing these characters into the story, Jade ameliorates the drama of her characters; she provides respite from the intensity of the story. Archie, for one, becomes beloved in The Choice as he shows a zeal for food and becomes the wizened guide for stubborn teens, a difficult task.
Thirdly, The Choice titillates as much as it delivers drama. Ashley Jade writes eroticism into her stories that always makes you stop for a moment and think, “did I just read that?” And she makes no apology for it. There is $ex all over this story, but don’t miss it. Jade uses its administration to underscore the emotional connections of her characters. It’s also crafted to express the tether of the past to the present, showcasing the destructive power of abuse on one’s understanding of $ex. It becomes a conduit of control and a mechanism of healing in The Choice.
Ashley Jade’s book will steal your breath and a piece of your soul. The Choice is not for the faint of heart, but I wouldn’t miss this book. To do so would be to miss out on the experience of reading passion infused on every page. In a book world such as romance, where some authors produce a book a month oftentimes leaving out the emotion necessary for a romantic story, Ashley Jade offers a place in her stories to feel your feelings because she’s already left her’s on the page.
In love and romance,