Review for *AFLAME* by Penelope Douglas

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Blurb:

The tables have turned. Now I have the power-and it’s his turn to beg…

Everyone wants to be me.

Maybe it’s the sway of my skirt or the way I flip my hair, but I don’t care. Even though their attention is the last thing I crave, I just can’t stop. I dominate the track, the speed rattles my bones, and the wind and the crowd screams my name.

I’m her. The girl driver. The queen of the race. And I’m surviving – something he thought I’d never do.

They all talk about him. Did you see Jared Trent on T.V? What did you think of his last race, Tate? When is he coming back to town, Tate?

But I refuse to care too much. Because when Jared does come home, I won’t be here.

Tatum Brandt is gone. I’m someone new.

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My Review:

It feels as if we waited years for the release of Aflame since reading the teaser that shredded our hearts in the back of Falling Away, and I knew, without a doubt, that this book would be the hardest to read of the series. But I had every faith in Penelope that she’d mend all those pieces of our hurting hearts back together again, and she did it fantastically. She now owns every part of it, as does her amazing characters.

It was difficult reading this knowing we had to say goodbye to the series. We’ve seen these characters grow, make mistakes, learn to love, learn how to fight, and I think this is what had the majority of my tears blurring my vision as I tried to see the pages!

What I loved about Aflame was that Penelope didn’t just end Jared and Tate’s story with Bully, but felt that Jared needed to grow in order for their story to end happily. She stayed true to his character and set him free. I mean, come on, Jared and ROTC? I know I had a ‘heh??’ moment when that’s the path he chose to pursue, and so although this change hurt, I knew deep down that it was what he needed. 

“I hate my life in Chicago. I hate school. I hate the apartment. I hate feeling like I’m a lost puzzle piece. Where the hell did I fit?”

Jared left, but two years later, his family needs him so he returns home, only to find that Tate isn’t the same girl he left behind… Tate–that girl rocks my world! From the very beginning, she’s always been a fighter. We’ve watched her grow so much stronger than she once was, and now she’s doing what she needs to do to protect herself.

“At ten years old, Jared was my friend. At fourteen, my enemy; at eighteen, my lover; and at twenty, my heartbreak.”

God, did she try to stay away from him and she did everything to move on, but their love was–IS–something fierce. How could she possibly ignore something that burned deep inside her–consumed her? I admire her though, so damn much.

This wasn’t all heartbreak and tears though, and they soon found that challenging eachother was something they both needed and craved. It was so fun watching them race and mess around and just…be them!

The happily ever after they got wouldn’t have been nearly as beautiful if Penelope hadn’t ripped them apart. There are so few authors that leave me in such disarray after finishing a book. When you get to ‘The End’ and just need to sit there for hours, contemplating everything and having no clue what you’re supposed to do with yourself. You can try rocking in a corner or curling into the fetal position, or maybe even drink yourself into oblivion, but nothing will ever fill the void that leaves you hollow after reading a story with such an impact. Colleen Hoover is one of those authors for me, and Penelope Douglas just achieved that with Aflame. 

I will both mourn and cherish these characters and each and every one of their stories for the rest of my life. I just know it.

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