Series: Preston Brothers #3
on August 11, 2020
Genres: New Adult, Coming of Age
Tropes: Mental Health Issues, Friends to Lovers, Slow Burn
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One single summer changed them forever, and one moment of devastating silence destroyed it all.
Growing up with six siblings, Leo Preston has always struggled to find his voice.
While his brothers are loud, greedy, and somewhat obnoxious, Leo is forever the quiet one.
He watches his life pass by as an outsider in his own world, absent and alone.
Until he finds her.
For Leo, Mia Kovács is like a prize, a gift wrapped in passion and devotion.
And she’s his—his very own secret he doesn’t have to share.
Together, they can overcome anything…
heartache and destruction, guilt and regret.
Mia gives Leo everything he didn’t know he needed,
including her fragile heart.
The only thing she doesn’t give him...
are secrets of her own.
It’s been so long since I read a story by Jay McLean and, boy, did I miss the Preston Clan. I loved Logan and Lucas (although they are punks in Leo’s story) but Leo? No. Words. I will never do the beauty of this book justice and it’s hard to put the multitude of feelings it evoked into words.
Leo is the quiet Preston brother, the one the whole family relies on. He listens in a way not many do. He only speaks when he has something important to say and when he speaks people listen. But sometimes his words get jumbled in his mind he is unable to speak up when it’s important which drives away the girl he has been in love with since I first saw her as a kid. I loved Leo. So much. This young man was everything parents want in a son. He was kind, so kind, and his love for Mia so fierce it almost hurt. I want to sing his praises and write love songs and books about him. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime guy. Once you’re in love with him there is no one who will measure up.
“I’ve known you for ten years, Mia, and you still do crazy things to my heart.”
And Mia knows that. From the day they met they were lost to one another and no one else ever stood a chance. Mia’s tender heart got stomped on since she was just a toddler. Her mom left her with her grandfather when she was three years old, her dad not very interested in raising his daughter. The result: Mia has ABANDONMENT ISSUES. Yes, in caps because that’s how bad they are. And Leo is the best to take care of her heart but, you know, life is a mothereffin’ bitch. Mia’s issues lead to more issues and I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and help her. This girl had all my love throughout the story and thank God she had people like her Papa and Holden, her best friend, and Tammy, his mom, in her life. They were vital to her life.
Did Leo and Mia make good life choices? Not always, both of them fumbled and failed at life at some point but these are young, inexperienced people. What’s important is how you react to these poor choices and make up for them and both of them grew throughout the story.
Mia and I—together—we deserve more than just one moment. We deserve a lifetime.
When I saw the length of this book I was a little intimidated. It’s BIG but I was so totally enthralled and captivated by the words, it didn’t feel long. And A LOT of things happen, you don’t have the time to get bored. The story spans a decade and we get to watch Mia and Leo grow up from the time they first meet until they are in their twenties. We witness how they fall in love and never fall out of it. We are there when they struggle, when they battle their demons and in the end come out stronger for it. It was sheer beauty.
Jay McLean has writing angst down pat. LEO is a slow burn romance that made me rage, laugh, and the author made it hurt so good and I teared up more times than I want to admit. But Jay McLean also made the pain worth it because at the end of the book I just wanted more despite the beautiful epilogue that was the cherry on top. Jay gets better with each book, her talent shines brightly from the pages, her words are powerful and beautiful. She writes about important, timeless issues that we need to talk about, in a way that they are relatable even if your life isn’t affected by them. I really wouldn’t mind getting the next book soon. LEO goes straight on my favorites shelf.
“I’m going to spend my entire existence proving that you have, are, and will always be perfect to me.”