The Stealing by S.A. Sutila
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book surprised me at every turn and I never got my "sea legs" (get it? she's the captain's daughter) under me.
Sarah is a troubled young girl. She's been made fun of all throughout high school because of her father's profession, her ability to be part of a ship's crew, and, it turns out, because she's secretly coveted by the guys. As graduation looms, she's excited to escape her small town and start fresh. The neighbor boys have been a particular thorn in her side for her whole life, always bullying her and making fun. Grant, however, decides that now is the time to ask for forgiveness and pursue her. While there are some sparks, she quickly ends up in a suicidal tailspin when her dad says she can no longer go away to school.
There are some very dark themes in this book and I found myself cringing at times to get through Sarah's morbid thoughts. One such trauma ends with her adrift in a spirit world, where a narcissist ends up taking her life as punishment and/or a learning exercise (still a little unclear there). Max, this mystical being, transforms her into something more and sends her back to earth, leaving her hoping it was all just a dream and she doesn't have a ticking clock on her life.
Grant and Sarah as a couple was a combination of awkward high school romance and borderline stalker-ish. With all the other stuff going on in her life, though, his family seemed like a nice place for her to discover her true self worth. That's the ultimate HEA for me in this book, and the overall romance is secondary. I'd warn that if you are easily triggered by the darker types of paranormal storylines, this book may not be for you, but otherwise, it was definitely unexpected.
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