As teenagers, time is infinite and love is made of fairy tales and caramel corn. For Alexis York and Ryan Fisher, their friendship was the cornerstone of who they were. In the wake of a family tragedy, that friendship was torn apart by time and distance. Unrequited love was never reciprocated, and two lives that were once intertwined, now moved on different trajectories.
Fifteen years later, these two friends are given a second chance to correct the mistakes of the past. With one flight, a new home, and a little help from a tiny red compass, Alexis and Ryan are reunited, setting them back on the same course. Together, they find themselves on a journey of rediscovery, friendship, hope, and love.
Yet, when the harsh realities of life threaten to tear them apart for good, will Alexis and Ryan lose all hope of a happily ever after? Or will the childhood promises of forever lead these two hearts through impossible odds and back into each other’s arms?
“You’re my compass. My one true north.”
“Ryan smiled and turned her hand over in his placing the red toy in her palm. ‘It’s a compass. Keep it with you always. In those moments when you feel lost, alone, or confused, pulled it out and let yourself remember. Let this compass lead you back home. Let it lead you back to me. Forever and always, okay?’”
“Are you kidding me? For a man, age equals distinguished. A woman – well, you’re just decrepit.”
“Love’s not supposed to hurt. It’s supposed to free you, to lift you higher. To make you fly… You said you’re afraid of falling. I’m not going to let you fall. I’m going to make you soar.”
“Ryan was the other half of her soul… He was the piece of her heart that was never hers to give.”
The prize from a box of Cracker Jacks of a red toy compass on her moving day becomes the touchstone piece in this delightful and heartfelt second chance love story. A teen-aged girl must move away far away from her life-long best friend/neighbor/untold first love, following the discovery of her father’s infidelity and parents’ divorce. She is crushed by her father’s betrayal and develops a distrust of men as well as insecurities about relationships and her ability to have one. Years later, a new job places her in a new city where she becomes reacquainted with her father and old friend, and she is forced to reevaluate and rethink her conclusions and face her own misconceptions shaped during her youth. The plot was interesting and unusual as the teen-aged male is the scrawny geek friend while the girl is a popular cheerleader – which is typically not the norm in romance books. The story was amusing and entertaining, and the writing was well paced and insightful with sparkles of humor and occasional steam. The characters were smart, well-developed, and likable. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and remained engaged and interested from beginning to end. This was my first read from this Ms. McDonald and I so greatly enjoyed her style that I have added her entire library to my ever-expanding TBR.