I am EXTREMELY torn.Somewhere between 4 and 5 starsI found myself stressed while reading this UGH.First off, don t go thinking that this is a book you shouldn t read, because it s a great book Suzanne DEFINITELY knows how to write She s VERY good at it, and that alone made me super happy I love getting a good read for review This book is a mega page turner.I guess we will start with the characters I will admit, they were the main source of my stress More than half the time I couldn t stand Toby but then the other half I was super annoyed with Claude There was no dang in between Don t get me wrong, I loved them too death Toby s humor is off the charts I can t count how many times I laughed aloud because of him And Claude is super bright and smart, and she made me happy a lot of the time I loved their chemistry I didn t really like that it was based entirely on sex I mean it was great that they connected that way and all, but I would of liked to see emotional attraction I guess I can say my wish was granted towards the end Toby s love for her, although very physical, is sweet and tore my heart to pieces His emotional state was absolutely heart breaking I almost didn t know what to think half of the time because he is such a WRECK I can t say I blame him, but holy cow I wasn t prepared for so many feels Claude was pissing me off the the high heavens towards the end All I m going to say is try to be in her shoes Try to look at it from her point of view but look at it from Toby s point of view too.The imagery in this book was HOLY HELL intense Like awesomely intense I m pretty sure I didn t just read a book, I watched a dang movie I love how beautiful both of the characters are I love how everything was described Every single character had their own physical traits and personalities listed even the minor ones It was friggen great The story line itself was good Like I said, it s a page turner Some parts moved fast, but the author made them flow nicely This is definitely NOT a short story though This one book alone covers like 2 years or so I really didn t have a problem with it I was kept on my toes and I always wanted to read I don t know how long I ll be able to wait for book 2 Yikes I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review The story of Claudia and Toby is so much than just your typical romance read It s intense It s deep It s emotional as hell but it s damn good at the same time.Claudia is a typical do gooder and she has her life mapped out exactly how she sees fit However, when Toby walks in to her life, everything she s every dreamed about suddenly shifts, for a moment Her plans to leave NY and head to LA for schooling, and to be closer to her mother, are forbidden by her father Toby is your typical, hard bodied, sexy man Although, he has had a hard upbringing Being the youngest in his family, he has had to suffer through the death of his father, the fists of his older brother, and the illness and tears of his mother He has traveled since graduating high school because he was looking for a place to fit in a place to feel welcomed Little did he know, all he was running from was exactly where he needs to be.Toby and Claudia s love story is met with beauty, heartache, death, heartache but eventually, beauty once again While each struggle to make their lives better, they truly never give up on the other It s a gentle read but packed full of emotions and intense moments where, yes, I admit, I even got teary eyed But it s definitely a good read I received a copy of this book for an honest review.I expected of it It s a story about bad boy Toby, who didn t had an easy life His father killed two people and himself while drunk driving, his bigger brother abused Toby and then ended in jail for killing someone and his mother is seriously ill Claudia lives with her dad, who is a cop She got a job, taking care of Toby s mother Toby and Claudia fall in love, but then bad stuff happens the break up and years later their still friends but they can t seem to express what they really feel for each other There are tons of books out there with the same concept And I did had high hopes for this book as it does have a lot of good reviews Unfortunately I was disappointed The last couple of weeks I tried reading the book but couldn t get in to it and put it down again The last couple of days I made myself read it, because I promised to review the book I found myself getting distracted and staring out of the window a couple of times during the book It just didn t interested me enough Although it does get better further in the book.I knew exactly what was gonna happen, nothing surprised me And I think that was my biggest issue with the book I read this story somewhere before Another thing was that I really disliked Toby He does turned out to be a better person, in the last 100 pages And I did feel bad for him because of all the stuff he went through But I didn t get to like him, I wanted to like him but then he did something that made me cringe Even at the end of the book, he still said something I really disliked I m glad Claudia liked him and he s happy at the end of the book But I would never would have come near Toby, he made me so angry a couple of times.I do have to say I do like Suzanne s writing style And I like that the chapters changed views between Toby and Claudia I m sorry for complaining so much but this book wasn t for me. Toby has had a crush on Claudia since he could remember, but seeing her again, in his house, taking care of his mom, brings all those feelings back to life After moving away to get away from his family and his past, Toby is back when his mom s cancer returns again It s all temporary though, he ll be leaving again as soon as he can He doesn t want to remember his dad, see his brother in prison, and certainly not get stuck in this town he wants nothing to do with Claudia is ready to try to be on her own, even if it means going behind her sheriff father s back She s applied to USC, working her first paying job, and somewhere along the away found herself liking Toby Faye, the son of her client They aren t from the same world however and when bad things seem to be happening no matter where he goes, their short lived relationship doesn t stand a chance Toby doesn t know how to love and Claudia doesn t know how to keep loving someone who doesn t want to try It is hard to believe this book is Suzanne McKenna Link s debut novel it is incredibly well written and a real page turner Main characters, Toby and Claudia, come to life on the pages and their mannerisms are very realistic Claudia was exactly who I was in school good, driven, determined to succeed, but curious I really enjoyed her as a character, especially when she did things outside of her norm It s easy as a reader to say her mannerism don t make sense, but when I think back to being 18 21, the strange self preservation methods are totally true I love how she wanted so much for Toby, yet knew her own self worth as well I understood where she came from when she both wanted to be in Toby s life, but couldn t She was a perfectly written character, in my opinion Toby, on the other hand, is, well, stressful He s the kid who you tell no who does it any way, the one who jumps off a rock into the water without knowing how deep it is His emotions are all over the place and as a reader you re left wanting to throw a stop sign in front of him, to make him slow down and think I could easily picture him in my mind and felt all the emotions as he went through his life It was so hard to read about his feelings, but know he physically had no clue how to express them Both characters, as well as the minor characters of friends and family, are very well described The physical traits, from color of skin and eyes, clothing type, and even odd little facial expressions were so well detailed It was easy to picture the characters and the scene as the pages turned.The relationship between Claudia and Toby, while tumultuous, is beautiful I liked their approach of the unknown, I liked that it wasn t perfect, and I really liked how it was so very realistic The novel takes place over a long period of time, three years to be exact While it felt like a very long read at times, it really isn t, it s just filled with the kind of relationship that s consuming There s also some very heavy subjects dealt with through out the book, from family members in prison, overbearing parents, sexual relationships, cancer, and criminal activity It seems like a lot, but it s handled very well and written into the book over a length of time I have to commend Link for not smoothing out the hard to handle situations, I get so tired of YA NA books that have something happen that is okay in just a page or two, I like the depth and to feel the heartache with the characters Every moment I read this book, I ignored something in my own life I was completely immersed and when I finished the last page I had this feeling in my stomach that something was missing Saving Toby is a complex novel, not one you can just pick up and read on any old day, but one that will take over your life from the moment you start the first page The character development, descriptive writing, and amazing plot line are just a few parts of this book that I could go on and on about Suzanne McKenna Link has given a gift to readers in this New Adult Contemporary Romance and if I could have the second book in my hands right now, I absolutely would. Rating 4.5 Saving Toby was an incredibly amazing read After weeks searching for a decent book, I was starting to lose hope that talent had long since been lost, until I found Saving Toby it gave me faith that there were still authors in the literary world who are gifted and unique Suzanne McKenna Link is a very talented writer, she s a true author, and deserves a whole lot recognition It kind of frustrates me that authors who write poor quality books that are written atrociously, ones that have no unique plot, are bland and predictable, and have mediocre characters, are recognized and praised than authentic and original writers like Suzanne McKenna Link I don t know why people gravitate towards the former, it s completely beyond me, but I certainly do not follow that crowd Suzanne is incredible, she has a very special way with words that so easily evoke emotions out of you that you wouldn t normally feel, especially not from fiction And not only are her words special, but so is Suzanne herself the whole way through Saving Toby, you could just feel and see how much time and effort Suzanne puts into her writing soul and heart Her writing was so meticulous, but came across as effortless at the same time Her dedication shone though every sentence, and I was both impressed and moved by her commitment and devotion to her characters and the story I liked Saving Toby right from the beginning, and I honestly had no idea which way the plot was going to go usually it s quite obvious, but not with this book I knew I was in for an unexpected story, and once I started, I didn t want to stop reading I actually didn t even want the book to ever end, but I knew that, naturally, it had toand I was very restless as I was drawn closer and closer towards the ending of the book.The characters throughout Saving Toby were very well developed after several chapters, they had already started to feel like real people to me I kind of felt privileged to be reading, and following, Claudia and Toby on their journey through life They learnt so much, about life, about themselves, about each otheryou could feel their growth through the book, especially with Toby And Julia was a beautiful character, she was a huge part of Claudia and Toby and their life, together and apart I also loved Mr Chiatmetti despite his strong hold on Claudia he was seriously protective of his daughter, and at times I was frustrated with his decisions and his closed minded opinions, but I also understood him his daughter came first, and I think he was just scared to lose herlose his baby girl to the big world, to independence where Claudia would go off and find a life of her own.The side characters, such as April, Dario, Abe, and even Ray and Dev were all widely different characters, and the characterisation was superb Each character had a role, separate personalities and views, and Suzanne pulled each one off exceptionally well.I will be honest and say that I liked Toby than Claudia Claudia started off as quite naive, but I had understood it and even related to that side of her Along with that, she was strong willed, independent, intelligent, and had a natural way with helping people However, she was also a little selfish at times, and a little too focused on being independent that it kind of clouded everything else in her life She pushed Toby away a lot, especially when he needed her the most Part of that I had understood, her drive and fight to pursue her dreams, but it wasn t very balanced everything, for a while, was all about her and her need to move and work towards a career, that she kind of put everyone and everything else on the backburner It was just a little bit too much, and not always fair to the people in her life By half way through the book and towards the end, some of her choices and her reasoning s where a little frustrating, and sometimes her point of view became a little repetitive andboring She was a bit uptight at times, and I just wanted her to loosen up a bit, to relax, to not be so serious Also, even though I understood her not forgiving Toby so easily quickly for the things he had done and said, Claudia took it to a new extreme she couldn t seem to ever let it go, and held it against Toby even two years later She was always telling Toby that she never believed she was too good for him, or that she was better than him, however her actions spoke very differently She was a pro at avoiding and dragging things on longer than necessary I felt sorry for Toby, like she was leading him on, making him suffer than he needed to, than he deserved In a way, I felt Toby was better off without Claudia, but in the end you just can t ignore their undeniable chemistry Toby was short tempered, had an anger simmering under the surface at all times, and he was defensive and sometimes a little too reactive But I loved him, because deep down, he had a beautiful soul He was incredibly hilarious, whenever there was a moment I laughed during the story, it was always because of him I loved his journey than Claudia s his growth was obvious, intense, admirable, and he eventually became well deserved of everything good in life I was on his side, even when he did or said something questionable the thing with Toby is, he eventually realised his mistakes, and he made the effort to fix them His attraction to Claudia was intense when reading from his point of view Toby is your typical male in the sense of sexuality, and he was quite arrogant with what he could do with for Claudia in that aspect he was definitely confident in that regard, and even though it wasn t my favourite trait of his, it was still interesting to witness I felt a lot of emotions when inside his head, than when I was in Claudia s Even though there was often an intensity and an aggressiveness to him, there was also something really warm and secure about him comfortable For the right things, he was strong and compassionate, and when he was finally on the discovery and transformation of who he was without all the baggage of his past and his mistakes, as he started making something of himself, it was impossible not to be proud of his character I loved him at the beginning of the story, but that love constantly grew, never faltering, and by the end of the book, he had officially became one of my favourite characters not just from Saving Toby, but out of every book I ve read Toby was pretty incredible I would have been beyond satisfied even if the whole book was just in his point of view.Suzanne McKenna Link has a strong talent with adding realism to her work 98% of this book, the characterisation, the events, the emotions, the thoughts from the characters, the genre, the suspense, was realistic There was a believability to her writing style, she made most things in the book feel natural and real I will say that, at some points, I did find a couple of scenes questionable I remember one of them was when Claudia s father let her go out when Dev, an evil, sadistic asshole who was out for blood and Claudia was no doubt one of his targets, was still on the loose Mr Chiatmetti, despite being a cop and a strict and over protective Dad, seemed all too quick to agree to let Claudia leave when there was a high chance of her being in danger it was like he thought, because the police were already patrolling and on the look out for Dev, that Claudia would be safe Not very good cop logic, or Dad logic, to me Which, in turn, didn t feel realistic to me There were also just a couple of short scenes spread out in the book that could have been revised and re written in a realistic way, however even in saying that, there was realism than not I ve read some reviews from people who took away points because they were worried that the discrimination racist crime violence could possibly be the authors own views I, personally, think that s ridiculous Characterisation and world building are two of Suzanne s best traits in writing, and in the real world there is hate, and there is crime, and there are people who are racist and cruel and discriminating, and to make Saving Toby realistic, she had to show that in her book She added to her book what happens in everyday life it may not be pretty, it may be sickening and hard to read, but unfortunately things in life aren t always perfect or good there are bad people in this world, and I actually loved that she was brave enough to add some of that to her book The readers don t have to like or agree with those parts of the book, but at least appreciate the realism of it, that it s necessary to add to the book as part of the plot A lot of the bad things in Saving Toby actually ended up changing Toby s life, for the better made him realise things and turn his life around I definitely didn t like the racism or the cruelty, however I m mature enough to understand that it was necessary for the eventual direction of the storyline Adding to the realism, I loved that Saving Toby was not fast paced Some people would probably think it s too slow, too dragged out, but I actually believed that it was the perfect, most natural pace, for both the plot and the characters Sure, there were a couple of moments where not a whole lot was happening, but that s like in life sometimes things come to a standstill for a short time, sometimes things in life aren t always entertaining, sometimes things are just slow Again, it was realistic There was a good balance of suspense Reading and watching and feeling Claudia and Toby experience all the ups and downs, trials and tribulations, loss and love, pain and happiness, both as individuals and together, was amazing I caught myself smiling, a lot Several times, my heart and stomach were doing all kinds of funny things There were even moments when I had tears in my eyes I was completely immersed into this story, both emotionally and mentally, and I never wanted to step out of Toby and Claudia s lives Saving Toby was a character driven book, and I loved that the characters were prominent than the actual drama going on around them the characters were front and centre, there wasn t a mix up or a back and forthness with drama development and character development, like a tug of war of which was important you knew what was important about this book right from the get go, and it was consistent all throughout I love coming of age stories when done right, and Suzanne McKenna Link done it right I loved how it was emphasised how different Toby and Claudia were from each other, and the genuine and legitimate struggles and triumphs in their relationship I adored the sweetness and the roughness, the angst and the calmness This book was believable, frustrating, adorable, intense, unexpected and beautiful I absolutely cannot wait for the second book, Keeping Claudia, and only hope both Toby and Claudia s growth continues to happen To be honest, I have a lot of expectations for book two after reading Saving Toby, and I can t wait to see what Suzanne has in store for these characters I won t be forgetting Saving Toby anytime soon it s one of those books where it makes you think and feel so much that you couldn t forget it even if you wanted to. I received a copy of the ePub from the Goodreads group Never Too Old for Y.A N A in exchange for an honest review.Suzanne McKenna Link has written a heart warning New Adult Romance Saving Toby draws the reader in immediately The novel is character driven The characters are well defined with strong and distinct voices Claudia is the good girl She is driven to achieve her goals and has the support of her police officer father Toby presents himself as the bad boy The reader learns so much about these character via their individual points of view Their feelings, fears and goals are revealed through their words and actions.Claudia accepts a part time job as Toby s ailing mother s caregiver Claudia s relationship with Toby is a slow burn They had not seen each other since elementary school and the bad boy does not want to scare her off Will choices that Toby has made define him Do people really change This emotional read moves quickly The author explores many important issues including but not limited to divorce, abuse, addiction, and bereavement Claudia and Toby s journey is far from over Looking forward to the next book in this series. When Claudia accepts a job caring for the frail Mrs Fray, she isn t sure what to expect other than her father s disapproval After all, she s got one son in prison for murder, a late husband who killed a couple while driving drunk, and another son who isn t exactly known for staying out of trouble But she definitely doesn t expect to fall in love with him.Toby hasn t had it easy The father his mother adored is the one he remembers as drunk and violent, and the older brother who should have protected him wasn t much better In fact, if his mother wasn t sick, he d probably still be a thousand miles away, far from the memories of a broken upbringing and the judgmental looks from everyone in town But for all his problems, he can t leave his mother alone And he can t take his eyes off the beautiful girl taking care of her, even if she s way too good for someone like him.With our book review schedule so filled up, it took me a while to get to this one, and within the first chapter, I was kicking myself for waiting On the surface, the characters and setting are so unfamiliar to me that I shouldn t have been able to fall into the story so easily Life north of the Red River is a foreign concept for me, with characters whose lives are altogether different than anything I ve known Their usual way of speaking is like another language, and there s a culture there that I simply don t understand These characters definitely aren t on a farm in Texas But damned if I didn t get so hooked that it was impossible to put the book down.Claudia is good and responsible, planning out every step of her life and beginning to push back against the overprotective father who s reluctant to let her make her own decisions She s got her career plans mapped out, her application in to USC, and a new job to carry her over until she packs up to get her degree in California.Toby is the kind of boy her father always warned her about More than just your romance novel bad boy, he s got an ugly past and a future that doesn t look much better He s not just a heart of gold wrapped up in bad decisions Toby has a mean streak, an itch to brawl, and the kind of friends that make enemies look pleasant But Claudia piques his interest in a way no other girl has, and he finds himself doing everything he can to make her give him a chance.There were so many times Saving Toby could have easily turned into just another star crossed lovers story Toby could have quickly become a better man for Claudia She could have given him a chance too soon They could have worked through everything too easily, and their problems could have simply been erased with some perfectly timed twist of fate Instead, they took the realistic route, the one that had him screwing up and her holding him off and them both dealing with the kind of angst that makes people say awful things It honestly had me wondering if they were ever going to get through it and find some kind of happily ever after, and that s what I loved about it There was no way of easily guessing what would happen next, even if I was hoping for it I couldn t even bring myself to skip to the end for fear of ruining the journey.Saving Toby is a heartfelt coming of age story about two very different people finding a relationship they never expected and trying to hold onto it through everything life at that age brings It s sweet and angsty and frustrating and believable, and I can t wait to get my hands on the next book FicCentral received this book from the author for free in exchange for an honest review Even so, we re far too opinionated to let a freebie influence our thoughts or the contents of the reviews we post here. She Knows His Family History But In Her Heart, She S Convinced He S No Killer Claudia Longs To Escape The Control Of Her Dad, The Lawman To Prove She S Independent Enough To Leave For College, She Becomes A Caregiver For The Widow Of An Infamous Local Family But When The Sickly Woman S Bad Boy Son Moves Back In, Claudia Is Unprepared For His Transformation From Moody, High School Loser To Drop Dead Gorgeous HunkToby Thought He D Left His Notorious Family S Reputation And His Small Hometown In The Rearview Reluctantly Returning To Care For His Dying Mother, The Only Silver Lining Is That His Old Crush Claudia Will Be Nearby But When He S Accused Of A Despicable Hate Crime, He S Shocked When The Policeman S Daughter Is The Only Person In Town To Stand Up For HimDespite The Evidence Against Him And Her Father S Persecution, Claudia Can T Resist Her Blossoming Feelings But The Awful Secret Toby Refuses To Disclose Could Endanger The Only Woman He Can T Live WithoutCan Toby And Claudia Trust Their Hearts, Clear His Name, And Find Their Way To Passion Saving Toby Is The First Standalone Novel In The Stirring Toby Claudia New Adult Romance Series If You Like Deeply Drawn Characters, Emotional Roller Coasters, And Fierce Devotion, Then You Ll Adore Suzanne McKenna Link S Story Of Star Crossed Lovers Contains Strong Language And Explicit Scenes Ages Recommended Great For Colleen Hoover And Tammara Webber Fans Alternate Cover Edition For BEVKAC 5 IGotThis Stars I was on a new path Maybe she was what I d been searching for the piece that would finally make it all come true TobyWhat an amazing read I ve had this on my TBR for months, and when I finally dove in, there was no stepping away from it It s simply one of the best NYA novels that I ve ever read, and I ve read my fair share Saving Toby follows two young adults, acquaintances since childhood, as their opposing life paths converge Claudia Chiametti is a smart young women, sensitive, driven and giving When she accepts a summer job working for Julia Faye, she will influence the lives of the Faye family far beyond all expectations In return, her own life is affected and Claudia undergoes very dramatic growth Her gifts teaching others how to be friends, how to love, and how to forgive I simply adored Claudia and how she held true to herself and her genuineness.The other central character is one Toby Faye Toby comes to the story with a mass of young adult male attitude that cannot be solely blamed on his raging hormones Toby has led a life wrought with insecurity, abuse, and typical street punk clashes He has no ambition except to once again leave the small town in Long Island that he spent is life in His erstwhile play for Claudia is one that forever changes both of their lives and the lives of everyone they are surrounded by.Saving Toby has a complex plot that invokes a gamut of emotions rage and fear, heartbreak and isolation, and also love and hope Every character brings some deep seated emotional baggage to the story, and oh what a story it is Both Claudia and Toby narrate the story giving us a balanced view of the summer they are re acquainted at the Faye residence They are both profoundly impacted by the events of the summer, by their friendships and families and by the lifestyle typical of the small Long Island community that they live in As we follow their lives past the young love affair, past the confines of home we come to know the genuine love they have for each other Ultimately, the story and the characters and the emotions elicited by it actually charged me it s a book hangover in a new form or maybe I just haven t had a reaction like this in along while Every moment I spent reading this book, I was thoroughly absorbed in the characters and the outcome of the situations they were put in I felt every emotion as though it was my own, the emotion of newly discovered love, newly discovered friendships, that moment of wanting a person you feel you can t or won t have, and the deep sense of loss when things go utterly and completely wrong.Suzanne McKenna Link does an amazing job giving us all the necessary moments to make us feel the story I NEED to know what happens next and this is the mark of a truly great read So, I highly recommend this novel There are so many wonderful qualities to it starting with the amazing plot and character development, but most importantly, its the descriptive and stellar writing style of Suzanne McKenna Link Her words flow together to create feeling, not just events on a paper, and these feelings just move through the reader giving us a true reading experience.
- Kindle Edition
- 350 pages
- Saving Toby (Toby & Claudia Book 1)
- Suzanne McKenna Link
- 08 March 2019 Suzanne McKenna Link