PJV Quickie: Believe is book 3 in Erin McCarthy’s New Adult series, True Believers, and I am thoroughly enjoying reading these books. They’re dark, but hopeful, with flawed characters who are trying to create a better life for themselves and the people they love. Ms. McCarthy’s writing beautifully captures the struggles her characters face, allowing you to experience their triumphs, and failures, as you read their stories.
Robin is a girl who is living the college life – parties all night, drinking hard and having fun. She’s getting ready to make the move from dorm to apartment with her best friends, when one mistake changes everything: She gets black-out drunk and wakes up in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend. While she doesn’t remember anything, he certainly does, and after a few fuzzy memories slip through, Robin is horrified and ashamed. She immediately stops drinking and partying and is trying to make plans to move out of the apartment but doesn’t want to stiff her friends out of the rent. Guilt makes her turn in on herself and away from her friends, who notice the change.
Phoenix has been out of jail for two days and has nothing to his name but the clothes on his back. He’s got nowhere to stay since his mom moved out of their apartment while he was in jail and left no forwarding address, so he’s crashing on his cousin’s couch until he can get a job and get back on his feet.
Robin and Phoenix meet in an awkward manner, as each overhears a personal conversation the other is having, so they both know other is having a rough time of things, although not really how bad things are. A relationship between them slowly begins, but then proceeds to move forward quickly as they both realize they’ve found someone special. Neither thinks they are deserving of the other but they both want to hold on tight before they have to let go.
Believe may be my favorite of the series so far. Ms. McCarthy is a skilled writer: I didn’t want to like Robin – she slept with her best friend’s boyfriend – but as I continued to read, I started to feel bad for her; she made a horrible mistake and it was killing her inside. I loved that Phoenix knew what her secret was and wanted her to know that he didn’t judge her based on one night of her life, that she was making positive changes to ensure nothing like it happened again, and that she is worthy of being loved. Really, I just loved Phoenix and Robin together: they were both so damaged – Phoenix by his drug-addicted mother and Robin by her betrayal of her best friend – and they each saw past the faults to see the good in each other.
There were a few things I didn’t like, such as Robin not confiding in her male friend, who knew what happened, that Nathan was still contacting her, and there was a scene with Phoenix where I thought “wow, it’s a little early in the relationship for something you cannot change your mind about”, but for the most part I was totally involved in the story. Ms. McCarthy tackles some difficult subjects in Believe, and shows a cautionary tale of how personal behavior and the choices you make can affect the people around you. Every single book in this series to date has left me wanting the next book immediately.
I would definitely recommend Believe for fans of New Adult, or someone wanting to try New Adult. If you enjoy stories where the characters come from a difficult past and try to change, and like reading about imperfect characters who struggle to do the right thing, Believe may be a good fit for you. You don’t have to read the first two books in the series first, but it would add to the reading experience if you did.
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