By Kristen Granata
Publication Date: August 1, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
After the shocking return of her mother, Merritt Adams is faced with emotions that she had buried deep inside of herself for almost a decade. While the love of her life is busy fulfilling his dreams, Merritt is left to her own devices. Searching for solace in all the wrong places, her avoidant behaviors spiral out of control. If she doesn’t learn how to take responsibility for her actions, she could end up on rock bottom – alone.
T.J. Cutler is an MMA fighter who knows all too well what happens when one tries to run away from his problems. He may be the only person who can get through to Merritt, having lived through his own nightmarish childhood. T.J. can teach Merritt how to fight against her demons, but she needs to prove that she is committed to following his rules.
Life is full of choices, and Merritt needs to start making the right ones. It could mean the difference between life and death.
Avoidance is the continuation of Merritt's story from Collision. Topics include family, love, romance, loss, death, tragedy, depression, anxiety, suicide, alcoholism, fighting, tattoos, and overcoming struggle.
Kristen Granata was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1986. She moved to Staten Island with her parents when she was two-years old, and lived there for almost twenty years. Kristen attended community college, and became a teacher in 2012.
She lives in Howell, New Jersey, with her wife and two step-daughters.
Review & Wrap-Up:
I am usually not one to review sequels. I find it difficult to give the book a proper review when I have already invested myself into the characters and story line. However, some times I make an exception and I either am grateful that I do or dread having to figure out how to write it. Luckily for me with Kristen Granata’s Avoidance, this review is the former.
Let me begin with the fact that it is a sequel to Collision. I enjoyed being able to continue Merritt and Chase’s story. Collision ends in a cliff hanger that leads you thirsty for more, so getting that follow-up was needed to quench my thirst! Avoidance has a lot more character development than the first in the series, which was nice. I didn’t realize how much I thought the characters to be almost one-dimensional in the first book until I read this one. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Collision and still give it a four (4) stack rating, but I found Avoidance to be more (hence the increase in stacks!)
This character development happens mainly with the main character, Merritt. You see her grow and round out as a character. While she was almost a too-perfect of a character in Collision, she shows her many different, and some times blemished, facets in Avoidance. She becomes more human in this sequel, showing not only her good qualities, but her anger and addictions, too. Because of these blemishes, she feels more connectable.
Something that I really hated in the beginning, but really liked come the end was the addition of another guy into Merritt’s life. The true romantic in me was really upset with Granata’s decision to add TJ to the story. I didn’t want anything to happen to the perfect relationship between Merritt and Chase, and all readers know that when another guy (or sometimes gal) gets thrown into the mix something bad is going to happen. But the addition of TJ was needed for this story. He adds to the mix something that I don’t think any of the other characters (other than Chase’s brother, Tanner, maybe) could have added. Yes, he adds angst, but he also adds wisdom and healing. He also adds a little mental eye-candy, and makes me want to find myself a TJ! 😉 Avoidance is full of life lessons, and TJ helps to bring about and resolve these lessons.
Avoidance not only had more depth and character development, but I felt the author developed, too. With Collision I felt like Granata was a little timid about her writing and her characters, like she was scared to share them with the world. But this wasn’t so with Avoidance. Granata opened up and not only let her characters shine to the world, but she shined herself. Granata showed that she has a stronger connection with her characters and believes the world should too. There is even a part of me that wonders how deep of a connection she has with Merritt - is she just a character in Granata’s head, or is she more of a reflection?
I drank up every last drop of Avoidance with gusto. So much so, that when I found myself having to leave town and wasn’t done with the book yet, I turned on my Kindle’s text-to-speech feature, popped in my ear buds, and finished the book while driving to my destination. Avoidance was one book I didn’t want to put down!
From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
Dani's Score out of 5: 📚📚📚📚🔖
(A bookmark:🔖, is a half a stack of books. i.e: 📚📚🔖 = a score of 2.5)
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