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Source: Author provided for review through Xpresso Book Tours
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Everyone thought we’d be the ones who made it through high school. The ones who’d get married and stay married forever. The example of how young love can work.Something about Come Back to Texas just called my name. Maybe it's the Southern setting--though I've always felt like Texas is rather a different kind of Southern than my good ole' Mississippi (Maybe I'm wrong! Heck, all I've seen of Texas is the Dallas/Fort Worth airport.)--or maybe it's the promise of a happy ending that I can't resist, but it was simply one of those books that got me excited.
We thought so, too.
Too bad life had other plans.
It’s been three years since Hayley and Nate broke each other’s hearts. Three years, and a lot has changed. Hayley’s a freshman in Bushwick University, and the only things keeping her sane are stress baking, and her a cappella group, Twelve Beats in a Bar.
Nate’s a Marine, stationed in Afghanistan. The only thing that’s keeping him sane is the last picture he has of him and Hayley, and the hope that maybe when the hell of deployment is over, he can find her again and apologize.
One explosion will change everything.
When a bomb kills all of Nate’s unit, leaving him missing a leg and eyesight in one eye, he’s sent back home to Texas. Texas, where he loved Hayley more than he could possibly imagine ever loving anyone else.
With seemingly endless amounts of free time and needing something to distract himself, Nate starts making YouTube videos, imploring Hayley to come back to him, and come back to Texas.
Hayley’s life is wrapped around the Beats, making sure she doesn’t flunk out of biology class, and babysitting Ohio’s smallest monster, Brandon. She doesn't want to admit it, but she misses Nate more than anything.
It’s too bad she doesn’t know just how much he misses her, too…
Come Back to Texas is not the speediest of books, when it comes to plot--though it did feel shorter than its near 300 pages. For both Nate and Hayley, life is just about getting through the day. It's much more character-driven and introspective, which is fine for some of us and not as fine for others--just depending on who you are. For me, that's enjoyable. Not only do we see Hayley struggle with leaving her small town for a university many times its size, but Nate's whole days are filled with rehab and finding ways to pass time. This felt largely organic and lets you get to know the characters.
What I wish I saw was a bit more development of the Beats--not the characters themselves, who I got a good hold of--but what they did. It felt like Hayley's life was spent flitting back and forth between things and never spent enough time in one thing. Focusing on the Beats, who are supposed to be the kind of center of the series, would've felt better. There were also a couple of things that weren't quite correct, such as a mention of the "Mason-Dixie" line, instead of the Mason-Dixon line, that were such small things but so glaring to me. Not much of a detraction, but still something that pulled me out of the reading experience.
Even so, I quite enjoyed Come Back to Texas, as I fully expected to. It's filled with sweet moments between Nate and Hayley, and the ending is just so rewarding. I'll definitely be revisiting Nate and Hayley in A Different Kind of Fine and the other Beats in the rest of the series.
About the author:
KK Hendin's real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she'll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate.
She's the author of NA contemporaries HEART BREATHS, ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG, and the TWELVE BEATS IN A BAR series. She spends way too much time on Twitter, and rambles on occasion over at kkhendinwrites.blogspot.com.