Series: Reclaiming the Sand #1
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Bully and victim.
Tormenter and tormented.
Villain and hero.
Ellie McCallum was a bully. No connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable.
Particularly Freaky Flynn.
Flynn Hendrick lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger's. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down.
But then Flynn and Ellie grew up.
And moved on.
Until years later when their paths unexpectedly cross again and the bully and the freak are face to face once more.
When labels come to define you, finding yourself feels impossible. Particularly for two people disconnected from the world who inexplicably find a connection in each other.
And out of the wreckage of their tragic beginnings, an unlikely love story unfolds.
But a painful past doesn’t always want to let go. And old wounds are never truly healed…and sometimes the further you try to run from yourself the closer you come to who you really are.
Flynn and Ellie have a complicated history. They used to share a secret friendship, one of simplicity and joy, but that friendship turned to ash. Six years later, Ellie is living a monotonous, uneventful life, working in a convenience store, partying with her friends, and dreaming of escaping her shitty small town, where everyone only knows her because of her bad reputation. This is the life she lives, day in a day out, rinse and repeat. Until one night, when an awkward stranger walks into her store, shoulders slumped, eyes down, completely oblivious to the world around him. Ellie is inexplicably drawn to this stranger, and with a passing glance she realizes that its Freaky Flynn, the boy who ruined her life years before, the boy she tried so hard to forget, but never could.
All it takes is that one glance for Ellie to remember. Just one look for her to relive the person she used to be; the cruel, rebellious, insecure teenager who didn’t know how to accept friendship from a boy who saw only good in her.
My feelings toward Flynn were more complicated than ever. You would have thought after all this time the intensity would have faded into nonexistence. But every tangled, ugly, wild emotion was still there. And they slashed me open all over again.
Is it a coincidence that Flynn reentered her life at a time when she was ready to move on? Or was is fate that made him show up right when she was contemplating taking a chance on her future? Flynn was the only one who ever made Ellie feel more than what she was. He was the only one who could calm the feral animal inside of her who lashes out and rips other people apart, before they have the chance to hurt her first.
I never hid or ran from conflict. I faced things head on and bulldozed my way through them with an aggressive and self-destructive force. But Flynn made me retreat.
As old feelings of hope and guilt resurface, Ellie is torn between her past life, her present, and what could be her future. She knows that she wants to be more, that she wants to live more, but a constant battle between fear and insecurity, hope and will rages inside of her. A. Meredith Walters beautifully conveys how difficult it really is to overcome your past. She perfectly captures what it is to dream of a new life, and the strength of will it takes to be brave enough to realize those dreams, especially when your whole life has been disappointments and failures.
…Now my mind was occupied with possibilities. If I wasn’t careful, I just might make myself start hinting that I had a chance. And that was a scary sort of insanity for a girl like me.
I have a special place in my heart for the type of characters that A. Meredith Walters creates. These characters are the kind I can empathize with because I can always identify with then, no matter how flawed they are. It’s their imperfections that make them perfect. Ellie McCallum is one of those perfectly flawed characters. It might be hard for some readers to get on her side, because of everything she did to Flynn, but I was on her side, I rooted for her. Flynn Hendrick is also a perfectly imperfect character. He represents the light, and simple joy in the world that Ellie was denied originally because of things out of her control, and then later because of her own stupid mistakes. Flynn might’ve been the one with the developmental disability, but he taught Ellie how to appreciate life, and how to be brave. I loved that A. Meredith Walters created these two characters for each other, because I thought that Flynn was perfect for Ellie, and Ellie for Flynn.
He was the only person who had accepted me for who I was and liked me anyway. He didn’t expect me to be anything but Ellie McCallum.
Reclaiming the Sand was just the ultimate story. It was a love story, but it was also so much more. These characters got under my skin, their words and thoughts tattooed into my brain. I felt the full spectrum of emotions while reading this book, the most prevalent being hope. I was taken on a journey that churned my stomach, heated my insides, drowned me in sorrow, and filled me with happiness. This story is a must read, and one of my new favorites! Read it!
Neither one of us could handle the implications of touch. But then we had somehow found each other. And here we were again.