Robin York’s Deeper was one of my favorite New Adult books of last year, so I was very eager to get my hands on the sequel, Harder. Hard times indeed are faced by Caroline & West in Harder and they will have to fight for their HEA. Robin York makes some daring choices that Caroline & West fans are not always going to like in Harder, but the story ultimately satisfies. This is a good series for those that like their NA books on the angsty side, and I guess that’s me because I do like Robin York’s brand of NA.
This series is about two college students named Caroline & West. In the first book, Deeper, Caroline deals with the aftermath of her ex-boyfriend’s betrayal. He makes their private pictures public after their breakup in a revenge porn scheme, causing damage to Caroline’s reputation and threatening her future career prospects. West helps Caroline repair her heart and give her the confidence to move forward, though he still has skeletons of his own to deal with. In Harder, it’s time to see if Caroline & West can make it work as a couple, baggage and all.
More about Harder:
In Robin York’s provocative new novel, two young ex-lovers find themselves together again in the shadow of tragedy—and an intense, undeniable attraction.
Caroline still dreams about West. His warm skin, his taut muscles, his hand sliding down her stomach. Then she wakes up and she’s back to reality: West is gone. And before he left, he broke her heart.
Then, out of the blue, West calls in crisis. A tragedy has hit his family—a family that’s already a fractured mess. Caroline knows what she has to do. Without discussion, without stopping to think, she’s on a plane, flying to his side to support him in any way he needs.
They’re together again, but things are totally different. West looks edgy, angry at the world. Caroline doesn’t fit in. She should be back in Iowa, finalizing her civil suit against the ex-boyfriend who posted their explicit pictures on a revenge porn website. But here she is. Deeply into West, wrapped up in him, in love with him. Still.
They fought the odds once. Losing each other was hard. But finding their way back to each other couldn’t be harder.
One thing I really loved about Deeper was the development of West and Caroline’s relationship, and how supportive he was of her. Through late night study sessions at the bakery and flirty banter these two had sizzling chemistry. But with family drama and lawsuits in the background, it was hard to prioritize the relationship over other pressing matters. And West especially has demons to deal with, and those are all laid out on the table in Harder. Patience is needed dear reader, as Caroline and West weather this latest storm.
While West was Caroline’s rock in Deeper, this time around she’s the stronger one. After all she went through, it’s inspiring to see her turn her life around and not let anything get her down. She is made of stronger stuff than I for sticking with West in his dark period. Let’s just say West is very trying to say the least, and determined not to pull her into his family drama at all costs. Caroline has the patience of a saint, and I’m sure many readers would rather she cut her losses and run at a certain point in the book.
Though both Deeper and Harder are in dual pov, Deeper felt more like Caroline’s story and Harder West’s. Here we finally get some answers about West’s life, and see what he was up against. West has a big wall around him and is not used to letting people in to share his burden. York has created quite a complex character in West. His family life is no picnic, but one of the bright spots is his little sister Frankie, and I enjoyed seeing their bond evolve over the course of the book.
I like that this series has so many layers to it, from personal growth, family relationships, romantic relationships, and school and career aspirations. It’s NA, so the book doesn’t skimp on the sexy times either, but there’s more to it than that. Caroline and West “find” themselves not only romantically but also in terms of their life and career goals, and this journey is just as satisfying as their matters of the heart.
I enjoyed taking this emotional journey with Caroline and West and am eager for more NA books from Robin York. I’m satisfied with the ending of this series, but maybe there’s hope for the saga to continue with one of the other characters. This long holiday weekend is the perfect time to get acquainted with the Caroline & West series. And I may need to catch up with more of Ruthie Knox’s other books!
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About the Author:
Robin York grew up at a college, went to college, signed on for some more college, and then married a university professor. She still isn’t sure why it didn’t occur to her to write New Adult sooner. Writing as Ruthie Knox, she is a USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary romance, including RITA-finalists About Last Night and Room at the Inn. She moonlights as a mother, makes killer salted caramels, and sorts out thorny plot problems while running, hiking, or riding her bike.
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