ARC Review: Forever Innocent by Deanna Roy

Pub. Date: October 1st, 2013
Publisher: Casey Shay Press
288 pages

For most people, walking into the first day of lectures may cause a little bit of anxiety. But walking into class and seeing your ex-fiancĂ©, adds a little more pressure to the situation. The last memory Corabelle has of Gavin is his back, as he walked out the door at their son’s funeral without a good-bye. Best friends, first loves, fiancĂ©s and parents, Corabelle and Gavin’s pasts are inseparably interwoven. But even if they wanted to, can they learn to accept the people they have become, start living in the present, and move past the devastation they faced in the past?

Not only does this novel put a huge spin on what has become typical for New Adult, but it completely changes what a happily ever after means. There can’t be a typical easy breezy fairytale ending when you have faced the devastating experience of becoming parents, being told your newborn wouldn’t live, and then watching him die. The novel balances the lows of just how hard it would be to experience losing a child, with the highs of Corabelle and Gavin's relationship. The grief aspect is never completely consumes the story, which I think consistently makes the novel accessible for all readers. You truly hope that Gavin and Corabelle can learn to lean on each other again. Regain the trust and love they had, and together work through their grief. Their relationship is heartbreaking, but realistic, and one you can actually connect with and rally behind.

The emotional pull really makes up for any technical issues I had with the story. My one complaint was a surprising lack of character development. There is character growth, but no development. Gavin and Corabelle’s story revolves around their willingness to relearn how to trust each other, and begin to heal from their loss. But, who they are from the beginning until the end of the novel doesn’t really change. Had a larger focus been put on the types of coping mechanism and self-sabotage that both characters adopted to help them through their grief in the years between seeing each other, I think we would have seen a lot more character development. The mechanism were one of the most interesting story elements to me, and I think seeing more of how the mechanisms affected the characters would have further helped the reader understand where the characters started off and where they ended up.

Forever Innocent is well-paced, compelling, truly emotional, pull at your heartstrings story. It's definitely a tear-jerker. I think Forever Innocent was a very brave novel and I feel bettered for having read it.

Rating 8/10

** I received a copy of this novel from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated. 

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