If being in love means thinking about someone every second of every day… then I am endlessly in love with you – Estelle Maskame.
First thing’s first: I’m a sucker for teenage love stories. One of my favourite writers is Sarah Dessen, author of bestseller Saint Anything. There is something about finding love for the first time, the sweetness and excitement of it, finding out about yourself throughout it all and getting through teenage hardships with all that strained emotion within yourself and those around you. That is what draws me in, and the fact that love experienced for the first time, any time in fact, can be as scary as it is exhilarating.
Eden and Tyler’s love for each other is no different. It’s exciting, dramatic, all-consuming, secretive, desperate and everything in between. It reminds me of my own relationship which makes me connect more to the characters, apart from the fact my boyfriend and I are definitely not stepsiblings.
The rouse of unrequited love. We are all a sucker for it. Shakespeare had to go and write the greatest love story of all time in which everything and everyone were against lovers Romeo and Juliet. The rest of time has had their share of different stories and characters yes, but a common theme of judgement, anger, secrets, lies. I love the thrill of it.
Eden and Tyler first meet during the summer Eden visits her dad, three years since he walked out on her and her mother. He’s now living in L.A. with his new family: a wife and her three sons. Eden is sceptical about going; how can she have a relationship with a father who walked out on her? That is the least of her worries. From the get go, Tyler is a whirlwind of drugs, profanities, self loathing and cynicism. He is the eldest of the three, a seventeen year old senior. They barge past each other daily. Eden has an instant dislike towards him and his bratty ways, that is until a third of the way through the first book of the trilogy.
Once Eden does something out of her reserved character, she sets the whole game in motion, one that changes both of their teenage years forever. She is reckless around him, a complete stranger to herself in those moments. She gets arrested, drinks copious amounts of alcohol, stands up for herself, and makes a decision that not only breaks both of their hearts, but creates a barrier of protection around herself.
As much as I love her giving in to her love for Tyler, I also love the way Eden grows as a strong young woman. She always does what she feels is right for her, or right for the both of them. At first she succumbs to it, then she builds her walls up, before tearing them back down again, and building them back up with a barbed wire surrounding the brick walls. She epitomises girl power at some stages of their three year “relationship” by not just forgiving and forgetting, but having to understand why Tyler made the choices he did before letting him in again. Eden is reckless but mature at the same time: she has the perfect balance.
Tyler as a character is a complicated one with a heartbreaking past, crazy drug-filled teenage years, until he finally turns himself around for the better. He has his guard up and lets it down more so than Eden. He is reckless in his love for her and he doesn’t think of the consequences of them being together because he just thinks of her. He is one of those characters you will see time and again, but in different variations. He is the twenty-first century Romeo with a few years on the twelve year old original.
Family is central to this, as are friends, but family more so. Eden and her father’s relationship is in turmoil throughout the entire trilogy, questioning whether he is actually her father the way he treats her sometimes. I loved the last conversation we read between the two of them. It opens up so many doors and answers a lot of questions that have been seeping through the words lashed out between them in earlier scenes. The author ties that up in a neat bow.
Ella is one of my favourite characters: Eden’s stepmum; Tyler’s mum. She grows into her own and changes throughout the course of the trilogy too. We find out a lot about her personality, and more importantly, her undeniable love for her children. She accepts, fights for what she believes in, and proves to be a second mother to Eden. Eden’s mum has her complications too but ultimately loves her daughter and respects her decisions and her choices.
As for the rest if the teenagers, I love Rachel. She is the kind of best friend any girl would want, and is apparent in all three books showing her importance in Eden’s life. Emily is a breath of fresh air. Snake brings all the humour in an otherwise awkward situation. Dean is lovely. Tiffani is a bitch, and Megan is wrapped up in her own little world. Amelia is also a cooky and loveable person. Chase is adorable and Jamie is someone you understand.
I didn’t realise how many important characters there were in this story until I listed them all. Each have their own input on the lives and relationship of Eden and Tyler. Some are more significant than others but they are all there; all the feelings and heightened emotions of what the two protagonists do, who they are.
Estelle Maskame is, as she should be, considered an exceptionally talented young woman. At just eighteen, last year, she was a published author with this series. She has created a couple who people cannot get enough of; I’ve seen her retweets of fans raving about finally reading the second and third instalments, of people swooning over Tyler Bruce. She is a credit to the world of young adult novels, bringing together the love and hardships of relationships, whilst throwing amazing locations of L.A., New York and Portland. It’s hard to believe she hasn’t set foot in these cities that she writes about with passion.
The words will compel you to want more of Eden and Tyler’s love story.
Love, Faye x