Monday 8 December 2014

Blog Tour - What If

What If
Author: A.J. Pine
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult, New Adult
Release Date: 8th December 2014
Publisher: Entangled
Pages: 300
Source: Review Copy - Entangled/A.J. Pine
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Sometimes it takes letting go of the past to find out who you want to be.

During his semester abroad, Griffin Reed almost gave his heart to a girl who loved someone else. Lesson learned. Now he’s home, where following in his father’s footsteps may not be what he wants, but it’s what his parents expect. It might be taking the easy road, but he doesn't see a way out.

Something that could have killed Maggie Kendall took away the person she used to be instead. Her condition makes her dependent on sticky notes, photos, and medication just to get through each day. The last thing she needs is a distraction - or someone new to disappoint.

What they refuse to see is they are perfect for each other. Maggie makes Griffin want to be a better man, and he makes her believe a future is possible. But these two have to find a way to share the secrets ripping them apart, if they’re ever going to have a chance at happiness.

The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books written by the same author.
If you have not read these previous works, please proceed with caution.

Let me start by saying I don't care, I've officially run out of care, I care no more, because while What If had it's little issues that elsewhere may have caused me to nit-pick and reduce ratings, I can't find myself doing that with Pine's work because her characters are too perfect, and the emotions she puts those characters and I through is just beyond this world. There was so much about What If that exceeded my expectations that any little issues I may have found among it just feel unimportant and not worth enough to affect the novel as a whole. There's no denying it, What If was absolutely flipping fabulous in all the right ways.

If Only was a game changer for me personally, New Adult novels weren't something I was too fussed on, nor looking out for, but something about a story set in Scotland won me over and I fell head over heels in love with it. One of the features I adored was that both love interests were nice guys, not one of them was really the 'bad' option and I felt terrible when Griffin had his heart tramppled over, but never fear, because Pine gave me Griffin, oh did she give me Griffin on a platter in this novel and I've never felt so utterly weightless while reading like I did when reading What If and Griffin was a huge part of that. Lets not forget Maggie and how these two characters were perfectly flawed characters and how they were so relatable in so many ways - Griffin with his family, who was just beautiful and the connections he had with them, oh man, I'll talk more on that later, and his past romantic issues, and Maggie and her more personal life issues, the things that restricted her and made her feel less capable, they were all explored beautifully and were pretty much perfect. The development that both these characters went through was astounding. Griffin, through Maggie and his sisters, learnt that he could be whoever he wanted to be and that he could find ways of finding who he wanted to be, his confidence grew and grew and his whole attitude to life changed, from his attitude and respect not only for women but for himself, to his want to not put a front on for other people, within a short space of time. Maggie's development was much more relatable and almost heartbreaking, her want to help others when she feels she is beyond help herself, her passion for art and sketching was just beautiful and how she managed to form relationships and bonds with other people, with Griffin and his family, even her next door neighbour, was beautiful, and I really think these two characters are some of the most damaged, yet perfectly flawed I've read this year.

ne of the biggest selling points of What If to me though was just how much more it delved into sex and the foreplay that comes with it in comparison to If Only. If Only's scenes seemed more to complete the novel and give it that 'finished off' feel, where-as What if felt real, and Pine explored and described these scenes with just the right amount of detail, but not too much to change the feel and atmosphere. It was passionate, it was developed so fantastically and not once did it feel as though it didn't fit the novel and I'm almost disappointed that Pine didn't work her scenes like this previously. They were fresh, they were clear, they were the perfect example of when characters get lost in their own want and need for one another and I can only compliment her for it all. Speaking of the romance, oh damn, it wasn't all just sex here and some passion fueled moments there, it was so unbelievably cute in areas, it's almost hard to image that these two opposing sides could mix so well together but they did.

"I came here to not ask you out on a date." He pauses, but his tone makes it clear he’s not done.
I cross my arms, hoping to hide the thundering of my heart against my ribs.
"Okay," I say, drawing out the last syllable.
"Because we’re not dating," he continues. "Which is why you won’t give me your number.. and why I have to not ask you out in person."

The romance felt so absolutely real, so believable, so honest and relatable, I can completely dismiss that it took place in what could be classed as a short amount of time, or that they went from hitchhiker/hitchhikee to couple in around a month or so, but the confidence they gave to one another, the support network, the understanding, the impossibly sweet moments and the overall feel a real, whirlwind romance was just too much for my fluttering little heart, and I'll confess, I cried all of the happy, emotional and damn right heart-aching tears during What If.

The one of us in front of the tree at the John Hancock Center, the caption reads: Aberdeen reunion with Griffin in Chicago. But the note on the card next to it has me choking back a sob.
The guy I was a month ago would have run away so fast, but everything about you pulls me in. All of it, Maggie. When you’re healthy, when you’re sick. Full deck. I’m in.
One card sits among the posted articles.
I see you, Maggie. I see you, and I’m amazed and scared.. and I love you.
..There is no caption on this photo. I didn't need one because I've always known what it means, and now so does Griffin.
You so totally love me, too.

I also really thoroughly enjoyed all the relationships and connections that were involved in What If, there was an absolutely wonderful friendship between Maggie and Miles, not to mention that Pine wasn't afraid to not only include bisexual romances, but was also not afraid to give them a firm feature in the novel, which was really pretty sweet, his understanding and support for her, his confidence and passion towards her, his ability to brighten her mood and encourage her to live, not just be alive, it's exactly what you want you in a friend and he definitely did his duty. There was also the family aspect woven within What if on Griffin's side, the topic of a single mother and her daughter being Griffin's sister and how this affected her connection with some of the family, the rocky business of a family business and wanting to impress people, but also the undeniable love that flowed through these scenes, the unwavering joy and happiness that was oh so clear between them all, the relationship between Griffin and Violet for crying out loud was just beautiful and it's these features that really don't get explored too often in novels that I thought made this book better than perfect. The cherry on the cake though? Seeing characters from If Only return and not only be just how I remember them, but to have also developed beautifully and kept their dynamics; seeing Jordan and Noah again and how that affected Griffin, having Maggie feel like she was a part of these friendships and feel like she belonged somewhere and highlighting just how sensitive Griffin is when reminiscing with Jordan, even to the development of secondary characters from Scotland, like Elaina and Duncan, it was wonderful to read and even more wonderful to experience.

What If was such a beautiful novel, even with it's small amounts of predictability, with it's short span of time and with it's very damn sweet, adorable moments, I cannot come to mark it lower than perfect. Griffin and Maggie, their development, their relationships, their development, their lives, they touched me, they got in deep within my heart and once again, Pine has done it, she's swooned me, won me over and made me a dedicated fangirl for her work. If she ever wrote a story about Miles, or any of Griffin's sisters, or even Elaina, I'd read it, there would be nothing that stopped me, and I will forever be invested in this woman's work.


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