Lila & Ethan: Always & Forever (The Secret, # 4.5)
By: Jessica Sorensen
Published: December 24th 2013 by Forever Yours (Hachette)
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Ella and Micha series comes a story of love, risks, and rewards . . .
Lila Summers just wants to know one thing for certain: that Ethan Gregory will be with her always. Once her friend, he's become so much more, melting the pain of her past away with each kiss. Now Lila is on a road trip with Ethan, in the wilderness under the stars, and she can't imagine her life without him. But when she talks about the future, something in Ethan changes . . .
Ethan has no doubts about his feelings for Lila. His life with her gets better every day-and that's the scary part. How can he walk into a future where he has everything to lose? With Lila, his whole heart is on the line for the very first time. But if Ethan can't give her the promise she needs, his greatest fear might come true: he'll lose Lila for good.
This was a really short novella so I’m not sure how much I’m going to have to say about it. The Temptation of Lila and Ethan has been probably my favorite Jessica Sorensen book to date. And so since I’ve enjoyed Lila and Ethan so much, I really wanted to read this to see how their relationship in the wilderness progresses. Overall, I enjoyed this read during the process. It was quick and easy to get through. But looking back on it, I don’t feel as if it has as much substance as I’d like.
I really related to Lila’s insecurities about her relationship with Ethan. She’s almost afraid that she feels more for him than he feels for her. When you feel that intensely for someone there’s always a lingering fear of getting hurt. The power of your emotions hurt already—you know the saying “I love you so much it hurts.” So if you feel that way already, you know that if you lose it your pain will be so much more. Lila isn’t asking for Ethan to propose like Micha did to Ella, but she does want to know that Ethan sees a future for them. That when he pictures the future, he sees them together. I’ve totally been there. I know what it feels like to have each moment colored with worry. You know you should be enjoying yourself in the moment, but you can’t seem to fully let go until you have some reassurances.
Ethan goes from cold to hot and back again. His part is the confusing part for me looking back on this novella. While he seems at first so unable to commit to a future with Lila, the switch flips so abruptly. His solution is in some ways common, yet almost feels entirely too intimate for him to have been having the hang ups he was having just before. It’s almost too extreme.
It felt to me like the pacing wasn’t quite right for a novella. That maybe Jessica Sorensen was in full-fledge novel mode so that Ethan’s resistance to the ideas Lila presents him would need time to wear him down and give him time to think through his own thoughts. Instead because of the length of this story, it’s like a switch is flipped, and all of a sudden, instead of the build-up and climax, we’ve skipped to the resolution entirely too quickly.
At the same time, I was reading an e-galley version of this novella, which means that while this story was 87 pages, I was at exactly the 50% mark whenever I finished the story. That means there was approximately 87ish pages of extra stuff after the story. You know what I mean. “Read the 1st chapter of X book” and then another “Read the first chapter of Y book” and then “You might also enjoy these other 97 novels” type of thing. While I definitely appreciate the marketing strategy behind this, it was a bit annoying to find that 50% of the ebook was advertisement for other books. I don’t mind some of that, as a matter of fact, often I find other books to add to my TBR list this way—which is why publishers do it for—but at the same time, because of the size of the novella, it was more annoying than anything. One or two “you might also like”s would have been fine, but again, too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing. Plus I don’t like to be too far off on how much to expect left in my book. So if you read the ebook version of this novella, you might want to keep this in mind.
All in all, Lila and Ethan: Always and Forever gets 3 Stars from me. Have you read it? What did you think? Let me know!