The Closest Thing to OK
by Cristy Rey
At eighteen years-old, Sam DeCastro moved to Tallahassee to lend her recently widowed brother a hand in caring for his two small children. Five years later, Sam is their sole caregiver, and her troubled brother increasingly fades from their family picture. Not a mother to the children that she raises. Not a wife to the brother that she’s shackled to. Not a daughter to the parents that hardly loved her as a kid. Not a cookie-cutter example of the perky PTA parent—not with her tattoos and penchant for heavy music, twenty-three year-old Sam has practically no social life, no college degree, and no room for love in her life.
Jake Turner is the counselor at Canopy Hopes where Sam’s niece and nephew attend school. Jake had Sam once, and then he lost her. Six months later, when they reunite for a parent-teacher conference, sparks reignite. With Jake back in the picture, Sam must decide what she wants for her own life: Stay trapped in a platonic marriage with an absent husband of a brother? Strike out on her own, leave the kids behind, and never look back?
Jake isn’t sure that Sam sees a happy medium, but he wants her to. He knows that, if she doesn’t, there won’t be any room for him in her life.
Ok, I am telling you, this book surely gutted me. Cristy Rey conveys her seriousness and thought-provoking side with her latest book offering. The Closest Thing to OK is about a woman who carried the burden of her family at such an early age, depriving her of all the fun and innocence a youth was entitled to.
Sam had to be the mother to her absentee brother’s children, a feat that wasn’t easy to do, especially when she had a shitty childhood to begin with. Jake, her hero and had always had a place in her heart, but Sam wasn’t really 100% sure she’d want him to share her burdens.
Somehow, somewhere, there was a little piece of heaven waiting for Sam and Jake, they were just too blind and confused to see it. For all they know, they themselves together are the closest thing to OK.
Sam and Jake are unforgettable characters. They got this kind of attitude that draws and grabs readers’ attention. They made my heart swell and hurt and smile and ache. I’ve got watery eyes by the end of the story, and there was this knot in my throat I didn’t know how to untie from all the feelings I invested in this book.
In the end, Cristy Rey succeeded in making her readers cry (and an ugly cry, at that), laugh a bit, and think about the meaning and purpose of life. She is a gifted writer and she got me all choked up, but in a good way.
I’ll end this with a thoughtful quote from Jake:
“Love unselfishly – that’s it. That’s the how and the why. Love unselfishly and love without question. That is love.”
Cristy Rey is the author of the urban fantasy Incarnate series. She also writes and publishesunconventional romantic women’s fiction. She’d say she writes the books Jane Austen would have written if Jane had been a riot grrrl.
Cristy lives in Miami, FL where she spends most of her days in a library and most of her nights surrounded by cats.
Find Cristy Rey online at her website here.
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