I was not reading a story I was living another’s life.


Life had never been simple for Miki Quinten. Her mom had died when she was eight, and in the aftermath of their loss, her father turned his grief into alcoholism, inadvertently converting their home into a melting pot of debauchery. Unwilling to be put into the foster system, Miki takes control of her own life and becomes invisible to almost everyone but her best friend and godmother. It stayed that way until her junior year in high school and the sudden, unexpected crash landing of Childress High’s star defensive end, Dustin Hill, into her life. The unlikely pair are thrown together and discover they have more in common than either of them thought, and before either Miki or Dustin are prepared an unbreakable bond is formed between them. The only problem is, Dustin’s already in a relationship, and his controlling family have made it clear they want him to stay there.

Against Miki’s better judgment the two grow closer until fate’s twisted sense of humor intervenes and everything in Miki’s world is scattered, plunging her into a crisis she’s not sure she will ever recover from.



5 emotional stars

This book has been highly recommended by my friend Michelle Chen
Her selling pitch was a mix between Full Tilt and The Sweet Gum Tree.
How could I resist especially when Michelle has never stirred me wrong so far?

I went in blind not even reading the blurb
That’s usually the best way for me to experience a book on blind faith trusting my friends

Now six boxes of used tissues later and red rimmed eyes I can honestly say that Michelle was right and that it will not be my latest LJ Stock book!
She is a “new to me” author in 2018 that I will add to my new favorites right alongside Kate Sterritt and James J Cudney all discovered this year. “Anonymous” author of The Siver Cage is another new author deserving a class of his own…

I don’t want to spoil your fun and there is a part one and a part two in this book.

I will be minimalistic on the plot.

Miki is 16  self-sufficient and the daughter of an alcoholic. She lives in a small town in Texas and given her father’s activities hosting unsavory guests she has learned to blend in. To hide in plain sight. To go unnoticed.

“Hardly anyone would miss me if I left. I was the ghost who was barely in existence, on the edge of everyone’s peripheral, but I’d long ago taught myself to blend into the scenery for self-preservation.

She lost her mom at a tender age and has been raised by her godmother Jen even if she technically lives under her father’s roof.

Let’s applaud Jen here as that woman, right alongside her daughter Megan has been Miki’s backbone and family. Her unwavering love, her fierceness protected Miki all along. Everyone wishes such godmother for her kids.

On a Friday night Miki will bump against the town’s golden son Dustin. He is the local football star. So out of Miki’s league. He is the sun she was the moon. He basked in everyone’s adoration even if he did not look after it.

“Dustin Hill was a senior at Childress High, and he was also the best defensive end the school had ever had, and the reason the team had a chance at State this year, which made him the best-known person in town. The boy was revered by everyone and worshipped by most, and I was always surprised when he didn’t have the drill team rolling out a red carpet everywhere he went.”

Miki was always fading in the background.

“Invisibility was a natural reaction to my unique situation.”

Surprisingly Dustin is far from a jock. He has depth, intuition, sensitivity, intelligence and has a secret.
Both will connect like they have never connected before.
They were meant to happen.

I stop here with the plot.

This book is essentially character driven. And what fabulous characters!
Miki was brave and selfless.

Dustin was the hero most dream of. He caught me in his web. I was mesmerized by his charm and charisma.

The purpose of the story is about a path you have to walk. It’s about the twists that cruel mistress we call Fate can impart upon you.
It’s about resilience and second chance.
How you choose to react to grief and loss. Faced with trauma you have a choice. Either wallow in your pain forgetting everyone around you. Blaming fate or others. Becoming angry and bitter.

Either trying to go on. For others who love you. To honor memories.

LJ Stock’s writing flowed effortlessly. I was not reading a story I was living another’s life.

I cried buckets once more in the train and of course just before work when I was all doled up with mascara and all.
I smiled. I swooned. I hurt. I rejoiced. In one word: I felt.

Recommend it? Wholeheartedly!


Let’s chat: do you love ugly cry books? Do you know this author?


Thanks for reading!



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  1. I never read any book from LJ. Stock but this one sounds like a great read. I’m glad you loved it! Great review! 🙂

    1. Thank you Raven! As we do have similar tastes I bet you would love it too if you want to read something else than YA 😉