Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Book Review: More Than This by Jay McLean (Spoiler Free!)

More Than This (More Than #1)  by Jay McLean
Publication Date:  July 10th, 2013
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports, Drama, Contemporary
Source: NetGalley 
*Mikayla* In one night my fairytale ended. Or it may have begun. This is my story of friendship and love, heartbreak and desire, and the strength to show weakness. *Jake* One night I met a girl. A sad and broken girl, but one more beautiful than any other. She laughed through her sadness, while I loved through her heartbreak. *This is our story of a maybe ever after.* He was right. It made no difference whether it was 6 months or 6 years. I couldn't undo what had been done. I couldn't change the future. I couldn't even predict it. It was one night. One night when everything changed. It was so much more than just the betrayal. It was the Tragedy. The Deaths. The Murders. But it was also that feeling. The feeling of falling.
More Than This  is an emotionally charged story revolving around a girl who has just lost everything she held dear to her in one fell swoop. From both main character's points of view we go through the hurt and the tragedy along with them. Mikayla loses a lot in a short space of time with one witness to it all; Jake Andrews. He's an almost stranger but he takes her under his wing in her time of need and builds up the shattered pieces of her once whole self. Through this forms a strong connection to each other but Kayla doesn't know if she can give herself to someone when she's only half-fixed. 

The prologue was what sucked me in. Everyone says that the beginning of a book is what matters because who's going to carry on reading if you're about .5 seconds away from dozing off? No one. This very first chapter was intense and for such a short piece of writing it did the job of keeping me interested. Betrayal? Death? Murder?! I definitely did not expect those last two from reading the synopsis.

For such an unhappy prologue the first chapter was such a contrast. I got to see Kayla pre-tragedy which I think was very important to include now that I've reached the end. Even though her family joked at her expense it was happy and joyful and I really felt what Kayla felt. There was lots of laughter and excitement and I found myself smiling to myself wondering how it can go from wanting to junk-punch her own dad for singing a rude version of Baby to life-altering tragedy. But I guess that's the thing; it can take only a second to lose everything. I knew pretty soon that something was up with Megan and I was right about it all too. The whole thing was pretty cliche but it happens. This is the turning point in the book. This was where things went from carefree to utter loss.

It's hard to write reviews for books where so  much happens because I'm now finding that there's so much I can't write about in case I spoil it for someone. So let's start with the characters.

The main character, Kayla (also known as Micky and Mikayla) was someone I grew to love. She was beautifully broken and I still cannot fathom how she got through each day. The things she went through are unfathomable to me and I can't say I'd be as strong as she was if I were in her position. I liked that she allowed herself to feel and didn't apologise for feeling sad or crying. Too often characters like her will try to act tough and hold their tears back but all that's doing is causing a dam and when it breaks, the story breaks with it. Kayla was emotional but she also grew to be head-strong. Who says you can't be both? I was super proud of her at the end for what she decided.

"I don't think you should let bad people dictate whether you have a good life. "

Now for Jake, the male main character. I liked him too, less so at some points throughout the story but generally his character was really well developed. He had a past, one he doesn't talk too freely about but through those experiences he became a much better person. He could be modest, shy and hesitant but he could also be loud and explosive when it mattered. He was constantly there for Kayla even when he thought she didn't want the comfort and I found myself wishing for a Jake Andrews. I wanted to knock him out at times though, I really did. He could be jealous and a complete caveman when it came to his relationship with Kayla. I understood it when she would speak to her ex boyfriend but sometimes things were so innocent it was hard to believe that Jake would blow his top like he did. It bothered me a lot when he would stress out about how she doesn't like him, how she just wants to be friends etcetc but I guess they were both like that. It was their own faults for guessing what the other wanted and not actually communicating out loud. So yes I liked Jake but sometimes he could be a pig. Typical neanderthal-knuckle-dragging boy.

The group that started off as 'Jake's friends' were wonderful characters. I truly found myself wanting a group of friends like this. There was Heidi, Cam, Lucy, Logan and Dylan and every one of them made Kayla, a girl they'd known for a few minutes, feel totally at home within their company. It was the easy kind of friendship, no questions. The girls were my favourite, they went to extreme lengths to make Kayla feel welcome after what she'd gone through and whilst the boys did this too it was the girls who really came through for her. They offered clothes, personal items and comfort. Lucy even got a 'book best friend' through meeting Kayla and the friendship was instantaneous. Nothing like a good book to bring together two people. Jake's family was just an incredible addition. Once again they brought Kayla into their lives, no questions asked, they just did it. A second family. Truly good people. Here's a quote from Logan;

"Maybe you don't need to be a complete person, or maybe you do. But maybe he's it - maybe he's the other half of you."
This coming from the boy without the girlfriend!

Something I absolutely adored about this book? The guys cried. I know it's a minute part of the story but it really made me respect Jay McLean as an author. Boys don't cry. They're told it's wussy and girly to show emotions and to cry when sad or happy and I think that's why I was so surprised when it happened the first time. That doesn't happen often in books or real life. Guys are always portrayed as macho and nothing-can-touch-me but I really loved seeing the boys expressing such emotion. They weren't afraid to let others see them cry. BOYS YOU ARE ALLOWED TO CRY!!!! Always, always, always. Ultra-respect for Jay here!

There was definite instalove here but... I don't know why but I don't hate it. It just seemed different. I knew it was there but because they'd experienced all of these things together and formed a connection like they were each other's life support it just seemed normal and expected. Plus Jake was always such a good person even to a stranger so, hell, I'd fall for him in an instant too. It was lovely to watch him care so much for her and, relating to the above paragraph, how he didn't do the whole 'Nope, I can't be in love  with a girl  no way!' thing. It was just a fact to him. He knew how he felt and although he took his time in telling her he didn't fake indifference in any way. He actually grew so dependent on her, and vice versa, that it almost became unhealthy. 

One thing I did not like was how Kayla stayed even though I think she was right to want to move out even just for a little while to find herself. She wanted to find who she was without Jake who had become pretty much attached at the hip since 'that night'. I wish she had moved out, even if she went back a week later, she'd have known she could  be alone. I never got to see that and I really wish I had.

I had an idea about the twist at the end. I was going back and fourth between two possibilities and trying to work out HOW but I knew the gist of it and even though I did I wasn't disappointed. That whole chapter was major closure not just for Kayla but for me as the reader.

What I find the hardest about writing reviews for realistic fiction is that it could be real. Like this isn't just a story, this could easily be someone's life. Not word for word of course but this could happen to someone and I'm sure it has. As I said above I cannot imagine how that feels and for the author to write about it with such fierce emotion is incredible. It felt  real and it hurt when I put myself in Kayla's shoes but I doubt it hurt half as much as it actually would if any of this happened to me. Unfathomable.

More Than This  was an emotional rollercoaster with definite highs and lows. One second things were getting hot and heavy and the next they were screaming and crying. Some parts were hilarious, some were heart-shattering, some were pure happiness and truthfully I loved every second of Jake and Kayla's story. I guess you could say I "more-than-a-lot" liked this book! It is so hard for me to put into words how much this book truly meant to me, I'll never be able to explain it. All I can say is read this book and then tell me how you feel.

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely but only for 17+ years old simply because of the sex and language. If you're looking for a book to help you regain a little faith in humanity this one is for you.

Have you read this book? Tell me what you thought of it in the comments, NO SPOILERS PLEASE!

*I received this book free of charge for review purposes. I received no compensation for this review and all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

P.S. See how many times you can spot the title in the book ;)


  1. I have a much harder time writing reviews for books I love! Great review, dear!! I will prob start this next!

    1. As do I! Mainly because my mind is jam-packed with rants and love so it's hard to sort through it all haha. I hope you do, tell me what you think :)