Off the charts star rating!!
I can’t even give this a star rating it was that good. On a scale of 1-5 it’s a 15 honestly. I can’t tell you how many fictional stories I read with characters that have anxiety issues or depression that are not realistic. I have never found a character to relate to in any of these books, until now. This author obviously knows what it is like to live with an anxiety disorder/ptsd/depression; and what you have to overcome it to go anywhere or how a tiny thing throughout the day can set you back for a day/week/year. I am not shy about coming out and telling people about my mental illness. I don’t walk right up to people and blurt out my history but if I come to care for you and want you to understand that yes I would love to come to your party but will also hide in the corner the whole time and definitely get a horrible migraine later from the adrenaline pumping through my system. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful support system of friends and family. I also have the most amazing husband ever who tries to understand all that it takes just for me to get up every day, he is my rock and safe place when it becomes to much.
This story is about Katherine and Nico, honestly opposites do attract. Katherine embodies so many of my own fears it was easy enough to put myself in her shoes. Katherine has social anxiety disorder which later is also diagnosed with PTSD. Katherine had an obvious reason for the PTSD that later comes out in the book. She decides that she can leave her house for once to go out for her sister’s bridal shower party that is at a club called Panic. Ironic right? While at the club she starts to have a panic attack, which was so vividly real to me and explained in such a great way. She heads for the bathrooms to relax for a minute and happens to pop a valum on the way there. Her panic is to much for her and she passes out for the attack. Low and behold Nico is there to save the day… Katherine wakes up in Nico’s office upstairs with him and his twin brother staring at her. All she wants to do is go home and rest and by the look on Nico’s face he just wants her out of his club. I loved how Nico wasn’t the reason she wanted to get better. He was a slight nudge but the events that happen at Panic kind of push her more resolutely toward getting help for her mental condition.
Nico has been burned way to many times by people. He automatically assumes the worst in Katherine when he sees her. He thinks she is a druggie who needs taken out of his club. However deep down Nico is caring, he can’t leave her alone the first night because he’s afraid she may OD and die. So he stays to watch over her. I love that after Nico learns more about Katherine he starts to back her up on her road to better mental health. He pushes her a little but not to far out of her comfort zone. The first time he sees her having an all-out attack is probably one of the most heart wrenching scenes for me because I have never thought of what it looks like to my husband. Once Nico sees what Katherine is up against he decides to be her friend and support her like he would anyone else. I must say the text messages between these two were adorable and sweet. However in the end can Nico stay with someone who will always be battling this disorder? Or will he set himself up for failure?
I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that this may be one of the best novels I have ever read where a fictional character has a mental disorder. I know as that these characters had to come from deep within Sidney Halston, you can feel it while you are reading the book. I cannot and will not be able to put into words what she has in this novel about panic attacks. I know they are not the same for everyone, but Katherine’s were pretty darn close to mine. I adored the fact that Sidney Halston did not make Nico out to be the thing that saves Katherine. His calming presence does help but Katherine helps herself by wanting to get better. Not everyone who suffers from panic attacks or depression will have them for their whole lives, but for the few of us that do it is a daily struggle. There was no candy coating it in this novel. When she has an attack or is on the verge it is real, so real I had tears streaming down my own face. She doesn’t take a pill and get better immediately; she doesn’t find a guy and is miraculously cured. This book was as real as it can get while still being about fictional people. I could probably go on for hours about how much I loved this book but I just highly suggest you read it.
One last thing… the dedication in my copy of the book which I hope makes it to the final edition made me cry happy tears. They were a few simple words that mean a whole lot to me. I am not alone, we do not have to suffer alone. As Katherine puts it in the book…
“My illness does not define me.
I define me.”
A great thank you to Netgalley, the Loveswept Team, and Sidney Halston for letting me review this ARC in lieu of my honest review.
PS… I wish that this came in solid book form so I can tab all over my favorite parts. It’s okay though I got to highlight all through my kindle… 🙂
Goodreads link here.