February 12, 2015

Title:  The End of Feeling

Author:  Cindy C. Bennett

Published:  March 2014

Benjamin Nefer seems to have it all. He’s the most popular guy in school, the star quarterback with college scouts looking at him, his grades are near the top of his class, he can get any girl he wants . . . but he hides behind his dream life to mask the nightmare of his reality.

Charlie Austin is the new girl. Forced to move in with a bitter aunt, she only wants to protect her fragile mom from the world’s cruelty. When Benjamin sets his sights on Charlie, she’s armored against his charm—friends warned her about Benjamin’s game of pursuing and then dumping a long line of girls, not caring about the broken hearts he leaves behind. She doesn’t count on how single-minded he can be when she refuses him, or how charismatic, easing into her life through what he claims is just friendship.

Benjamin thought he could keep Charlie in the same place he keeps all girls—something to be used and then discarded. But Charlie has as many secrets as he does, secrets he’s determined to discover while keeping his own hidden. He realizes she’s the perfect girlfriend candidate . . . someone he can use to keep up the façade of a perfect life. Now he just has to keep his frozen heart from softening toward this unique girl, because if he doesn’t, his carefully constructed lies might just come thundering down around him, crushing him beneath the burden of feeling.

***Note:  This book was provided to The Book Hookup by the publisher via Net Galley but that did not in any way influence this review!

Ana and Celeste will put The End of Feeling on their Top shelf!

Ana: 5 stars!  This is a story about secrets.  It’s a story about how we can make assumptions about people and what their lives might be like.  It’s a story about surviving all that life can throw at you.  And, ultimately, it’s a story about how even a messy life can have a bright spot…and even people who believe they’re too broken can experience happiness.  The emotion meter on this book is off the charts.

Both Charlie and Benjamin have baggage that other people their age don’t have.  Benjamin deals with an abusive father in the only way he knows how and, on the outside, closes himself off from feelings to keep from being more hurt than he already is.  He lives a life free of commitment and all the complications it brings.  But, he also lives without love.  The story of his life, both past and present, broke my heart slowly and completely.  I was amazed by his strength to carry on and his determination to move forward and grab more from life than he currently had.  Charlie, the new girl, deals with diabetes and tries desperately to keep a secret about her mom.  When these two meet, they discover that what they may truly need first and foremost is friendship.  But, lucky for us, what they get is love.  I really enjoyed watching their relationship grow, seeing them realize how much they could help each other, and absolutely loved hearing the story from both of their points of view.

Parts of this book were tough to read but other parts made my heart glow.  This story was treated with the utmost of care by the author. The characters were allowed to feel happiness, sadness, loneliness, shame and, ultimately, love.  And you may be thinking that that happens in all books but I believe that, sometimes, it feels forced.  Here it felt real and genuine.  It felt like like these two were part of my world even though my life is very different from theirs.  They needed each other and I needed them to find happiness.  This book was a win win!  So, would I recommend it?  Definitely!  I loved these characters and my heart enjoyed the roller coaster of the storyline and the wonderful ending.  So, go on…give it a try…I think you’ll love it  too!

Celeste5 huge puffy heart stars

I loved, loved, loved this story. I adored everything about it… yes, everything. The characters, the writing style, the romance, the sadness, the hope…every single page owned me. I read this from start to finish in one sitting.

I think the magic came from the beautiful way it was written. The words were so simple, yet I could feel each and every secret weighing the characters down. Without even realizing it, both Benjamin and Charlie became so so very real to me and I was embedding in their lives. Told in alternating POVs I truly knew the struggles both Benjamin and Charlie had to deal with…and wow, it was some very heavy stuff. These two were incredible strong people, total survivors with huge hearts, both just waiting to be truly loved. It turns out that was by each other.

Benjamin was all game at first glance, but in reality his life was far from perfect. He was still so positive, so confident, and so determined. I loved that about him. However, it was his realness that drew me to him. He let Charlie in even though it wasn’t his normal routine. He didn’t tell her his secrets right away, but he slowly opened his heart to her more than he had with anyone else. I could feel the trust building between them, even though it was fragile.

Charlie had so many things going on I don’t even know how she got up in the morning. She was so strong, so beautiful, but it turns out her beauty ran deeper than the surface and she was lovely inside and out. She too, kept her secrets from Benjamin, but step by step she let him in, and I loved how she was willing to put her heart on the line to find out if what they had was real.

Le sigh. I know…so romantic…

The ending was absolutely full of feels and I may have gotten a little misty eyed. I knew I’d get my HEA and my heart was warm all over when it happened. However, I do wish there had been a short epilogue. I know, I know…I’m so greedy…it’s just that I need to know everything turned out alright down the road.

Rec this? Yes, yes, yes! A sweet book that tugs at your heartstrings but makes you believe in love.

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