This story was a trip. After reading, a part of me still thinks both characters were/are weak, childish and petty. Another part of me understands why they each acted the way they did. I’ll admit, I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this story. Was it worth it? I like to think so. The love story is there, overshadowed a bit, but it’s there and it's important. I believe that there was a method to the madness in the way the story was written but I’ll admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the Present and Past back and forth. However, the flashbacks were necessary to understand everything, I just think they could have been handled a different way. The story had everything. It had love, it had heartbreak, fear, sadness, anger and every emotion you can think of packed inside. The ending of the story brought everything together and blew my mind. There were a number of spelling errors in the book that I did notice. But there is no doubt that I will be picking up the second book in India and Oliver’s story.
Spoilers will begin.... now.
The Love and Hate Series by Joanna Mazurkiewicz. The cover is pretty simple, just a black background with a male figure on the front, his face hidden by shadows, underneath his hood. It lends an air of mystery to the character portrayed. Other than that, it's pretty basic. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with basic. Sometimes, its the better of two choices.
Our story starts with our main character India and her best friend Dora arriving at their college, Braxton. Dora is a party animal, that much is obvious. It's also revealed within the first few pages that India has some type of toxic past. Not even on campus for five minutes and she's nailed in the head by a rugby ball. Ouch. Turns out the guy who chucked the ball at her head is her past come back to bite her. But he's grown up now, cut his hair, formed some muscle, a regular, modern day sex on wheels.
This is where we start our back and forth, past and present rhetoric. I wasn't a fan of it. I think some of it was unnecessary and ill placed. I will admit that some of it was needed and it helped to not only understand the story but to also move the story along.
So starts the game. Well, Oliver's game.
So, once upon a time, India dated Oliver's older brother Christian. Christian was an asshole. Plain and simple. He dated India for one reason only. To keep her and Oliver apart. Because let's face it, they've always been head over heels for one another. Christian is holding a party and during the party, he rapes and beats India, then brings her home with a threat lingering above her head. After he drops her off, he gets into a car accident and dies. After that, India changes, becoming nothing short of a bitch to Oliver, pushing him away, embarrassing him and just making his life a living hell all through the rest of high school, in order to cope with what happened to her. Eventually, she gets her life back together, kind of, and stops being such a bitch. A little too late, in my opinion, since Oliver has already left for Scotland.
As it turns out, Oliver has come to Braxton and his plan is to get revenge on India for the way she treated him in high school. He threatens to make her life in Braxton hell until she leaves, and he does succeed in some aspects. But India isn't going anywhere despite his threat. Sure enough, he knocks her down, again and again. Nevertheless, the more time India spends around Oliver, the more her old feelings for him resurface, no matter how terrible he treats her. In comes Russell, another Rugby player and despite the fact that India thinks he's secretly working for Oliver, even though he is not, he pursues her.
On another note, Dora is dating Oliver's best friend Jacob and I just adore them together! At this point, I can't tell who my favorite pairing is. India and Oliver or Jacob and Dora.
India is a rower and during a rowing competition, she gets distracted by seeing Christian's ghost, well, an imaginary ghost of Christian, tips her shell and goes into the water, almost drowning because she can't swim. *insert eyebrow raise here* She's a rower, but can't swim? You didn't think it was a possibility that you would ever end up in the water? Something is off here...
Anyways, Oliver decides to end his pranking on India just before winter break. On winter break, India travels home, where she visits Oliver's mother, who she became close to in an attempt to ease her conscience for the things she did to Oliver. She spills her guts, telling, for the first time, what happened with Christian. Eventually, Oliver and India make peace, sort of, as he agrees to consider her apologies. Slowly, the two re-establish a friendly relationship and all seems well. Until, India is assaulted by two men, conjuring up her memories. She then spills what happened to Dora, finally.
Oliver hears about the assault, checks on her and then suddenly, they're making out. They almost take it further, but Oliver stops it. They settle into a relationship. Talk about a quick turn around. But they both seem happy. India takes out the two letters she'd written to Oliver about what happened to her and then finishes penning the last. Finally ready to share what happened to her at the hands of his brother. Then Oliver is hurt by Russell, which Russell says India will eventually thank him for. Shortly after his release from the hospital, Oliver receives the news that his father has passed away.
Our story ends with Oliver and India out on a date. India has mailed her letters to Oliver, revealing everything, and he will receive them in a couple of days. They both confess their love for one another and out of nowhere, Oliver turns, saying it was all a game, another prank, another bet, to make her fall for him. His buddy is there recording and India's heart is broken and shattered all over again. Whattttttttttt? I did not see this coming. I thought everything was going pretty well between the two. It wasn't perfect, but no relationship is. My heart broke for India and I hate Oliver. But their story continues and now I will have to see what happens!
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