Home > Mitch's Musings > Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin

Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin

Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin

Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin

By: Heidi McLaughlin

Release Date: December 26, 2012

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary: I was never supposed to be a rock star. I had my life all planned out for me. Play football in college. Go to the NFL. Marry my high school sweetheart and live happily ever after.I broke both our hearts that day when I told her I was leaving. I was young. I made the right decision for me, but the wrong decision for us. I’ve poured my soul into my music, but I’ve never forgotten her. Her smell, her smile.And now I’m going back.

After ten years.

I hope I can explain that after all this time.

I still want her to be my forever girl.

Oh man, I didn’t think I’d be reading a book about a lifetime of regret – or that I’d actually enjoy it, but Forever My Girl is just so raw and intense I couldn’t help but get sucked into the story. It’s a book that’s really a reminder that everyone makes mistakes, we all agonize over the stupid decisions, but no matter how much it hurts us, we want that second chance. Sure, the story’s not perfect, the ending’s a bit too convenient and it’s a fine line between overly emotional and melodramatic, but for the most part the emotions are spot on, perfect, absolutely real.

I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t so sure I’d love this book as much as I do now, but Heidi McLaughlin wastes no time pulling her punches. Not all of them are hits – Liam’s initially written pretty much as the typical rocker who feels the emptiness of his life and pines for his first and only love – and I wasn’t instantly drawn to his story, but that quickly changes as he and I realize the depth of his remorse. Yeah, it’s ultimately about one girl, but it’s also about way more than that, and I was absolutely floored by the way McLaughlin uses the sudden death of Liam’s best friend Mason as the catalyst that sets the events of the rest of the book in motion. It’s powerful writing when the death of a character who’s never even been introduced in the story packs as much punch as Mason’s, and the way his funeral and its aftermath finally knocks some sense into Liam about just how much of an asshole he’s been for years and sets up some bittersweet if incredibly hard reconciliations is something that’ll stay with me even after many books to come.

Sure I didn’t like Liam and his assholeish ways at first, but Josie had me right away as the girl left behind to pick up the pieces. She impressed me because she wasn’t one of those girls who drop everything when an old flame shows back up in town again – instead, she’s guarded, she knows she’s been hurt, she knows where she is, and that’s what makes this story of second chances actually mean something. The chapters alternate between Liam’s and Josie’s points of view, and another of the many things McLaughlin does right is fully utilize both points of view to flesh out both sides of this emotional story. Liam obviously regrets what he’s done, but he also believes that it was the right thing to do at the time, so seeing from Josie just what his decision has cost everyone else puts what he did in start relief. And it’s all reinforced by some very sweet flashback sequences.

But the best part of this by far is Liam and Josie’s son Noah. Even if the rest of the story hadn’t gotten to me like it did, gah the story of this one little boy and his deadbeat dad is just so utterly moving and compelling it did a number on me. Of course I expected there’d be a kid involved, but like much of this book, Noah’s story is so masterfully handled with so many heartwarming scenes I just wanted the kid to know everything was going to be alright. Because an asshole wouldn’t be good with a little kid, right? Only someone who genuinely feels remorse about what he’s done would do what Liam does, and it’s like the perfect way to start Liam on his path to redemption. But more importantly, after all the heartache and remorse and recrimination, when everything is alright again, Noah’s stake in the outcome makes sure the ending doesn’t feel too cheesy or trite despite its obviousness, because how can you say no to a little kid like that?

That said, I do have a few issues here and there that bothered me. Josie has a girl from the wrong side of the tracks back story, which was supposed to partly explain why Liam left her, but I didn’t think it was necessary to the plot or worked all that well. Liam’s written as the stereotypical golden turned bad boy, down to the motorcycle, leather jacket, and tattoos, probably a nod to this book’s intended audience, but I really could’ve done without. And most importantly, the ending is just a bit tooconvenient. Josie starts the book in a stable relationship and while I’d say the way McLaughlin handles the progression of that relationship over the course of the story is mostly realistic, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with what is obviously the correct ending, particularly with what happened with Josie’s fiance Nick. Maybe that’s something for the sequel?

Still, Forever My Girl is a stunning emotional read that completely caught me off guard. I’m just gonna go reread it now so I can appreciate Heidi McLaughlin’s writing some more.

Go to Mitch’s review on Goodreads.

Categories: Mitch's Musings Tags:
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: