Hadley saved my life . . . and I ruined hers
Hadley's my best friend. We share a house, our friends, a life. She knows all my secrets . . . except one. My desperate need for her is inked on my body, it's the best I can do. But Hadley needs to hear the words . . . Growing up as foster kids, Hadley made me feel whole-sane. And what did I do? I destroyed our chance to be together. I ran out on Hadley when I should have stayed, and something broke between us. Now I'll do anything to fix it. I'll never leave her again. I won't ever let her feel afraid again. But the more I try to protect her from my pain, the more I just make things worse. I'm terrified that if I tell her everything, she'll never forgive me. I'm even more terrified that it may be too late to make her mine. I have to try to give her what she needs . . . it's a debt I'm determined to repay.
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Tyler King's phenomenal debut The Debt is a story I won't soon forget. Once I started, I could not put this down. I opened my Kindle right before bed, read the first paragraph and just knew that if I kept going I would get zero sleep. So I picked it up first thing the next morning and read straight through. It feels like it's been a while since I've felt the desire need to read first thing in the morning. Yet I was completely captivated by Josh and Hadley's story. It wasn't easy, but it was so very worth it.
Told solely from Josh's point of view, we see the entirety of Josh's struggles. While the blurb gives a hint at Josh's desperation, it's really only the tip of the iceberg that is their sinking friendship. Josh and Hadley have known each other since they were kids sharing a foster home. To Josh, Hadley was his shining light-his savior-but one night changed them too drastically leaving Josh and Hadley on opposite poles even though their lives are completely entwined.
Starting at the present and then delving into their shared history, Josh and Hadley's trauma is opened piece by piece shining a spotlight on their disfunction as well as their dependence on one another. With just enough angst to make me flip pages like it was an Olympic sport, heartbreak that made my chest hurt, and such apparent devotion that I could feel down to my toes, I both wanedt to hug Josh and shake him just a little. But I loved him the whole time.
Ms. King took Josh and Hadley's story and let it unfold in a really unique and quite genius way. I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what happened. Then just when one secret was revealed, a new one was introduced making my heart hurt and beat faster. Plus I loved that each twist actually added to the story. None of them were superfluous or just there to create conflict. Both characters came from such desperate circumstance that even when I was frustrated with them, I understood their choices. But even amidst all the angsty relationship trials, their absolute love and devotion was palpable. Even when their reliance on the each other was borderline unhealthy, their acceptance of their limitations and need for the other felt necessary and the transitions in their relationship felt realistic. Plus the addition of side characters that helped tell various sides of the story really made the story feel well developed and very well rounded.
All this is to say that I am hooked. I am in awe that The Debt is the first published work by Tyler King and I in full on stalker mood waiting for her next release. I'm so glad that she decided to tell this story and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. Ms. King you've got a new fan in me.
Reviewed by Paige
★★☆ 5 "Making Up For It" Stars ☆★★
About the Author:
Tyler King was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Creative Writing. As a journalist, her work has appeared in Orlando magazine and Orlando Business Journal, among other publications. She is a proud army spouse currently living in Virginia with her husband.