(Nothing But Trouble, #1)
Publication date: January 22nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
I just need to catch my breath … for it all to go away …
I thought I might finally be ready to move on from that horrible night, but then he decided to come back.
He can’t come back … he’ll ruin me completely.
One horror-filled night changes the course of Samantha’s seemingly normal life. She’s ruined everything. Despite her determination to keep the family ranch up and running, her guilt makes it impossible to completely move on or forget.
Sam takes comfort in her quirky, endearing friends as she tries to balance between the girl she was and the woman she wants to become. Just when she thinks she’s finally making amends with her past, someone she never thought she’d see again returns, and Sam’s life is once again turned upside down. Both her head and her heart want different things, so she’s lost when, once again, she’s forced to make a decision that will inevitably change her life.
☆☆➹⁀☆☆ 3 Stars☆☆➹⁀☆☆
Unhappy at home, teenaged Samantha is needy, and in her need she makes myopic decisions that lead to regret and remorse. Her intolerance for delayed gratification is pretty typical for a teenager. She is not the only unhappy person in the small town of Saratoga Falls. Her friends Nick and Mac have broken families. Her one-time boyfriend’s, Josh Reilly, struggles to survive his alcoholic, abusive father leads him to abandon hope of college in favor for a life in the military.
There is an overall melancholy feel to the story. The whole group has endured hardship in their childhood. The characters have sparks of fun and frivolity, but they are tempered by the overwhelming sadness of their losses. Sam and Reilly have to work hard to get their second-chance romance. Their regret over their past mistakes, their longing for one another, and their stubbornness and embarrassment provide plenty of angst throughout the story.
After her father’s death, Sam does “whatever it takes” to keep his horse ranch going, including putting up with her acrimonious step-mother, Allison, who blames Sam for her father’s death. The other big problem is that Sam is riddled with guilt and overwhelmed by the work of running the ranch by herself. Her coping techniques are sadly self-destructive. There are some mental health issues brought up through Sam and Allison’s characters, but I felt the depiction of the issues was disappointingly superficial.
Whatever It Takes is told from dual POVs with flashbacks from both Sam and Reilly providing their backstory. Sam and Reilly’s HEA comes after exorcising their individual ghosts that haunt them. They must move on from their loss and regret in order to find peace and happiness. They’ve experienced a lot in in their young lives, and they can’t possibly be good for one another until they are good with themselves. Whatever It Takes is the first in a trilogy planned by Lindsey Pogue; the remaining books will focus on Sam’s friends, Mac and Nick, respectively.