Review: Use Somebody by Riley Jean
BookCrushin was happy to have a chance to read and review Riley Jean’s debut release, Use Somebody. You will find all the book information below as well as my rating and review. Check out this new author because she is going somewhere for sure!
Category: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publication: March 31st, 2015
“I could see it in his eyes—he wanted to be the prince who rode up on his horse and saved the day. But I was no princess, and my Prince Charming had come and gone. I couldn’t survive losing another to dragon’s fire. Or to my own poisonous touch.”
Reeling from a traumatic and heart-shattering night, Scarlett Rossi escapes back to her hometown, a place that never changes, though nothing about her is the same. The new Scar is fierce. Untouchable. And resolved to bury the twisted nightmares of that horrible night… the night when everything was stolen from her… the night that divided her life into two: before him, and after.
When do-gooder Vance Holloway makes it his personal mission to cheer up the new girl at work, he has no idea what he’s getting himself into. Scarlett’s tough shell and spicy attitude doesn’t fool him. He knows deep down, that sweet, innocent smile still exists, and he’ll stop at nothing to prove it. Patience, persistence, and a little ice cream pay off. Slowly they become friends. Then best friends. Then more. Only one problem: he was never supposed to fall in love.
So begins an explosive tryst of pull and resistance, between one worthy white knight, and the damsel who doesn’t want to be saved. Scarlett won’t survive another heartbreak, but can their friendship survive a compromise?
If Vance is so determined to break down these walls, he’ll have to learn—just as she did—that when it comes to things like trust and love, there are always consequences.
Because the last man that she loved swore to protect her, then paid with his life. And took with him a piece of her soul.
Now Scarlett must decide if true strength means guarding her heart, or surrendering to it once more. One final secret remains: what really happened the night she swore she’d never love another man, and whose hands are stained with his blood?
An emotional journey of mystery, redemption, and epic romance. Complete stand alone with 250K words. Recommended for mature readers due to some heavy material.
Hope was dangerous. Giving up was self-preservation. I was better off trusting no one.
After I finished “Use Somebody,” the debut novel from author Riley Jean, I had to just sit and be still. I couldn’t move or I would have been sick; why? Because I had just come down with a serious case of book hangover.
The Scarlett that we are introduced to in the first chapter of the book is not the same Scarlett who shows up in the second chapter. In fact, after reading the first chapter and then starting the next, I actually scrolled back to the beginning of the book to make sure I wasn’t missing something. That’s how effective Riley Jean’s writing is. I literally re-read the entire beginning of the book, from the dedication through the first chapter, to make sure my copy wasn’t somehow screwed up. Nope, it wasn’t! In Scarlett, Riley Jean has created a character so complex that it feels as though we were dealing with multiple individuals instead of one person.
You’ve read the synopsis of the book, so you know that Scarlett returns to her hometown after suffering a traumatic night, in an attempt to move forward and maybe even heal herself. She changes her name to Scar, dyes her hair jet black (from Goldilocks to Raven, as it were), and just tries to survive, day in and day out. Her father, who is as cuddly as a porcupine sitting on a cactus, insists that she gets a job while she is living at home, so Scarlett procures employment at Mooshi, a local ice cream shop, and that is when and where Vance Holloway enters her life.
Vance. Holloway. Never did a more perfect name exist for such a man…err, character. I mean character. He is funny, perceptive, honest, reliable, handsome, charming, and loyal; in short, he is everything every woman wants in her dream man, unless that woman is Scarlett. She just wants to be left alone. And that’s fine with me, because I’ll take him…err, once again, I mean…right.
This book is long, and there is far too much to summarize here. I can’t even get into all of my feels about Ricky Storm, except to say that I’m still crying and I won’t ever be able to utter his name. I’m pretty sure that Riley Jean interviewed my very first love to create Ricky Storm, and I’m also pretty sure that my heart was ripped out of my chest unapologetically in almost every scene involving Ricky.
Use Somebody feels like two books; the first half is a bit funnier and more playful than the second, and I tore through that quickly. I loved the banter between Vance and Scar; every scene involving these two was magical.
The second half of Use Somebody is weightier. It took me longer to read, digest. I cried more. I was frustrated more. I wanted to scream at Scarlett a whole lot more. And then, when I thought I was close to the end, Riley Jean sucker punched me. She had already ripped my heart out, and then she kicked me while I was down. This book is full of twists and turns; it is far deeper than it appears on the surface and there is a tragedy that snakes its way through the story that is so unexpected I had to stop reading, dry my eyes, blow my nose, and then try to finish the book without waking up my husband.
Use Somebody: 5/5 Stars. Well-written, engaging, funny, authentic, heartbreaking, and transformative.
“A couple was dry humping in a corner. Or so I hoped.”
“Duh. This is an ice cream parlor. Nobody takes it seriously.”
“For whatever reason, this boy who thought he had love all figured out, and this girl who had stopped believing in its existence, had found hope in each other.”
“Was it possible for a girl to be both nice and have a backbone? And if so, what was that supposed to look like?”