Author: S. Walden
Series: Too Good (#2)
Publication Date: 11-19-13
Genre: New Adult
Source: ARC provided by author in exchange for honest review
Their relationship has been exposed, and now their lives are changed forever.
For Cadence Miller, the fast track to adulthood proves intimidating and frustrating. She’s a little girl lost—abandoned by her family and uncertain of her future. She doesn’t think she “fits” anywhere. She’s eighteen. She wants to be older. And the result is both comical and heartbreaking.
Mark Connelly will do anything to provide Cadence a stable, loving home—to be her protector. But he’s just as broken and lost, and his heart won’t let go of his past so easily. He knows he should share his secret with Cadence. He should trust that she’ll understand. But what if she doesn’t? What if their love doesn’t grow stronger?
What if it doesn’t get better?
This series is crazy good. After reading the amazing first book, Good, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Better, and it didn’t disappoint. Walden’s writing is incredible, and there really is nothing else like this out there in the New Adult genre.
After reading the first book in this series, Good, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. I love that this series is a duology instead of the more traditional trilogy, and Cadence’s and Mark’s story fits perfectly within these two books. I really liked getting to experience more of Mark’s perspective in this novel, as it’s told in a 3rd-person narration, which switches focus between the two main characters. There were also a few flashbacks of scenes in the first book that were originally in Cadence’s perspective, but then are now told through Mark’s, which were really great additions to the story.
The first book left me with a really bizarre feeling about Mark. I really, really wanted to trust him, and I wanted to root for his and Cadence’s relationship so badly, but I also had this bad taste in the back of my mouth about him…like he was hiding something or had ulterior motives for wanting to date a younger girl. I wasn’t sure where Walden was going to go with this part of the plot, and was nervous that I wasn’t going to like it or that it would be cheesy, but it ended up being my favorite part of the book.
There are times in Better were I implicitly trust Mark, and then two seconds later am totally doubting everything that he’s thinking or saying. This book kind of screws with your mind a little bit, and leaves you wondering who the hell this guy really is. I was fascinated by how incredibly ambiguous Walden was able to make Mark’s character, and I loved how it ended up being resolved. I have so much respect for Walden as an author now, after seeing how dexterously she handled the different aspects of his character and how easily I was constantly flip-flopping on whether I thought he was bad or good. Some of the scenes written in his perspective were just ingeniously approached, and you almost don’t even realized how deliciously you’re being manipulated.
I also thought that Walden did a great job with Cadence’s character as well. I loved how realistically annoying and immature she was in the first book, and how that transferred into the second book. Cadence deals with many challenges and experiences throughout the series, which help to shape her as a person, and she truly comes into her own in Better. This awkward time in everybody’s life, after high school graduation, was so accurately portrayed. I really understood where Cadence was coming from and enjoyed watching her discover her own adulthood.
The only part that I didn’t like about this book was that it dragged for me a little bit in some places. A huge part of this book takes place after a fight that Cadence and Mark have, and the resolution to the fight takes weeks and weeks to be accomplished. This time in the story is a really important one, but there were parts of it that got really aggravating and almost boring. I started to get sick of Cadence’s attitude and really didn’t like her very much during that time. But we were supposed to be annoyed with her — I just wish that that period of aggravation hadn’t lasted quite so long.
Finally, while I normally dislike epilogues with a passion, I adored the epilogue to Cadence’s and Mark’s story. I was very pleased with how everything played out, and I thought that it was very well done. I loved how this series teetered on the fence between being inappropriate and being unacceptable, and I liked where the author decided to go with it…as it could definitely have gone in another direction. The story is very unique in this way, and is so interesting and completely captivating to read. This series is something that I could see myself reading again and again. There is a lot of intricacy and depth to this story, and it’s definitely not like anything else in this genre.