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Darling Venom

Rating: 4 Stars

"Our secrets are nothing but a string of memories we wish to forget."

I wasn't supposed to be on that roof on Valentine's Day. Neither was Kellan Marchetti, the school's designated freak. We met on the verge of ending our lives. Somehow, the tattered strings of our tragedies tangled and tightened into an unlikely bond. We decided not to take the plunge and agreed to check on each other every Valentine's Day until school ended. Same time. One roof. Two restless souls. We kept our promise for three years. On the fourth, Kellan made a decision, and I was left to deal with the consequences. Just when I thought our story ended, another one began. They say all love stories look the same and taste different. Mine was venomous, disgraceful, and written in scarlet scars. My name is Charlotte Richards, but you can call me Venom.

This book. It was a moving and tear inducing look at grief and trauma. At the ways that one act scars not only us, but those around us. How all our actions have an impact, even if we didn't intend that side effect. I honestly think I loved this the most about the book, like the romance was just second fiddle for me. It honestly didn't feel that much like a love story most of the time, but instead a group of individuals dealing with their individual and shared traumas in the only ways they knew how. Kellan was a character who, even though you knew the ending, broke your heart. I wish the book had given us more insight into his mind. He was a fantastically written character and probably my favorite of the cast of characters.

The book starts off with emotional damage and really just keeps adding to it. I have to admit that while I enjoyed the romance, well except for Chapter 34, it just felt very cliche and obvious. The characters and their actions were very predictable. Charlotte very much acts like a child still in many respects and Tate isn't really processing any emotions. I think the story is sweet and watching the two work through their trauma is good, but it just left me wanting something. I felt jaded by the epilogue and the route that took. It just didn't feel like it fit and was just another obvious trope wrapped into what could have been something more. Overall, though the book is beautifully written and gut-wrenching. I don't think I was prepared for the emotional damage my heart suffered.

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