Friday, August 28, 2015

RERUN Reviews: Back to You by Priscilla Glenn

Rerun Reviews features reviews by Debbie, previously published on Keep Calm Read Romance or Talk Supe -- and reviews by Ali previously published on GingerRead Reviews.

Series: Standalone
Release Date: October 20, 2012
Publisher: Priscilla Glenn
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★★

When Lauren Monroe first laid eyes on Michael Delaney back in high school, she had every reason to stay away from him; within minutes of their first encounter, his volatile actions confirmed his notorious reputation. But Lauren saw something in him that caused her to question his bad-boy persona, and against her better judgment, she took a chance. She had no way of knowing that the unlikely friendship they formed would become so important to her.

Or that it would end so painfully.

Eight years later, when Lauren begins her new job at Learn and Grow Day Care, Michael is the last person she expects to see. Refusing to revisit the hurt and confusion of their past, Lauren vows to keep her distance from him. But staying away from Michael proves to be more difficult than she thought, despite her lingering grief and her instincts for self-preservation.

As Lauren and Michael recall the friendship that changed them forever and the events that tore them apart, will they finally be able to heal? Or will the ghosts of Michael’s past prove to be too much to overcome?

Sometimes if something is really important to you, it gets stuck in your body. So even if your mind thinks that it's gone, it's still there, kind of hiding inside of you, just waiting for you to remember. It never goes away.

BACK TO YOU begins with our heroine, 26 year old Lauren Monroe, applying for a preschool teaching position at Learn and Grown Day Care. After impressing the head of the school, Lauren is immediately offered the position. On her first day of school Lauren welcomes a new student to her class but is stunned and surprised that she's the daughter of her ex-best friend from high school, Michael Delaney. Seeing Michael after eight long years automatically floods Lauren's mind with the memories and strong emotions she had kept tucked away or tried to forget. Being that she's Michael's daughter's teacher, Lauren is unable to avoid him forever and must face the man that changed her so many years ago. Michael Delaney was the only boy in Lauren's life that had totally captured her heart but would ultimately break it and leave her unable to truly give herself away to another man. 

She couldn't help but smile at the irony of the fact that the baddest boy in school could somehow always make her feel like the world was good.

The story of BACK TO YOU is told between the present and flashbacks from Lauren and Michael's time in high school and moments in Michael's younger years. Lauren and Michael were an unlikely pair from the time they met and became friends back in high school. Lauren was the sweet, quiet, and follows the rules by the book kind of girl while Michael was the mysterious, volatile, and troubled teen. Although there were several rumors floating around about Michael, Lauren feels drawn to Michael and befriends him. Over the years the two become best friends and carve a special place in each others lives. 

Michael was a misguided teen and lacked the love and an attention a young boy should have been receiving from his mother. The guilt his mother had been burdening him with over the years eventually leads him to believe that he will never be good enough for anyone. For Lauren, Michael was everything she'd ever wanted. Even with all of his faults and issues, Michael was all she ever wanted. But no matter how hard she tried to penetrate the wall he'd erected and show him how much she loved him, Lauren was still unable to convince Michael that he was not the bad person he'd been led to believe. It's Michael's fears of being a disappointment that eventually leads him to break Lauren's heart and leave her feeling betrayed. 

I always knew I would fall in love with you, but you were never supposed to love me back.

While the story of BACK TO YOU isn't all that new or unique, it's Priscilla Glenn's execution that makes it distinct and beautiful. You discover these two characters when they are young and vulnerable teenagers and then as adults who are still coming to terms with the consequences of their actions. Lauren still struggles with the heartbreak she suffered by Michael. Michael was her first and greatest love and one that she obviously isn't able to forget. Michael has settled down since his high school days but still carries the same insecurities and emotional bruises from his childhood. Priscilla Glenn lets you fall in love with Lauren and Michael's love story not only when they're teenagers but as adults. For Lauren, this story is about her finding the love she had lost and getting a second chance at holding on to that love and never letting go. She rediscovers why she fell in love with him in the first place through her memories from the past and spending time with him and his daughter in the present. As for Michael, it's about his redemption, forgiveness and regaining the trust he'd lost so many years ago.

For lovers of contemporary romance, or for those who are looking for a sweet, emotional story full of love, second chances, and redemption, then BACK TO YOU is one book you'll want to add to your library. Priscilla Glenn has definitely made her mark with this touching story that will leave you laughing, crying, and discovering ever lasting love.

Review originally published January 15, 2013

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