Come Back to Me - Mila Gray (2014)

Jessa Kingsley has long held a torch for her brother Riley's best friend Kit Ryan but can't believe that her feelings will ever be returned. But for the past nine months Kit hasn't been able to get his mind off Jessa. Now the pair of Marines are home on leave for four weeks before their next deployment and it's Jessa's 18th birthday. Kit decides to throw caution to the wind and soon he and Jessa are enjoying a whirlwind romance that's been a long time coming. Their time though is inevitably cut short by Kit's posting to Afghanistan with Riley but Kit promises Jessa to come back to her. However, when Kit's father, the chaplain, turns up at Jessa's house, it can only mean one thing: either Kit or Riley is dead. But which one? This is young adult author Sarah Alderson's first foray into New Adult under the pseudonym Mila Gray and she hits all of the right notes. The way she constructs the story, with the prologue showing Kit's dad's arrival at Jessa's house before going back to the events of the summer when Jessa and Kit got together before finally revealing what happened in Afghanistan was brilliant. And whilst I liked the first two-thirds of the novel, I loved the final third, which is raw, unbidden emotion. The email exchanges between Jessa and Kit are simply beautiful and the heartbreak of the situation one that the author portrays so well. The focus on the Marines and military service created a great storyline, not only through the awful fact of having to be apart from those you love but also the possibility of the ultimate separation. The only thing I would have liked to have seen more of was the interference of Jessa's father - who is depicted as an overbearing, strict, unbending character - in Kit and Jessa's developing relationship but any niggles are completely swept aside in the last 100-odd pages. The author has created a powerful, authentic and vivid read that will have you fighting back the tears. I'm already looking forward to the next New Adult book from Mila Gray. (JC)

Back to Home