In any book, story, or even in real life, BLAME has always been a very poisonous word that could drive a person’s life to wreck. But sometimes, it could also be something that could drive two person to be together and this happened when Hayden and Alex met. Two people who have been living in guilt and regret and runs away from people who cares for them.
It isn’t everyday that you get to have a hot, sexy, new neighbor who comes inside the building only bringing a big suitcase and has nonstop tears on her eyes. Ever since Alex Montgomery has moved into their apartment, Hayden had always been interested with her. What made her cry for four days, what is she running away from, where did she come from with her BMW and her seemingly fragile self. Hayden Martin wasn’t used to caring for other people’s business, but there was something about Alex that made him curious. Made him drawn. He wasn’t a relationship guy and he never keeps anyone around, until Alex.
I could say Until Alex is pretty much the same with other NA books I have read, but what makes this different is how J. Nathan managed to keep readers interested with what will happen to the story. Sure, it had the similar story frame, alpha-male vs interesting-stubborn female, and a secret neither of the characters want to spill. Aside from that, it was obvious that Alex and Hayden were both broken characters that were immediately drawn to each other upon first meeting, but surprisingly, they were both unpredictable characters and this was what made me continue to read.
Alex is this new girl in the neighborhood who brought a lot of surprises in her bag, especially to Hayden. She was not a stuck up rich kid he assumed. Instead, she was this sad, broken, soul who has been blaming herself for everything that has happened to her old life back in Austin. What was once a carefree and happy girl is now a person who’d rather be alone than trust anyone with her company again, until Hayden. What I liked about her despite of her being an emotional character is that she learned to fight for herself. Her character development and her actions showing her will of not being dependent on a person was what charmed me. Yes, she might have been head over heels after seeing Hayden, but she showed there was a thin line between dependency and need, and I saw that. Moving to a new place and suddenly living with an aunt, Katherine, you barely knew is hard, but she wasn’t whiny. She had her moments of weakness which were understandable if you knew what happened to her, and I can say she might be one of the bravest female characters I have seen.
Hayden, on the other hand, is this “every girl’s living fantasy”. He loses himself in alcohol and girls, and keeps this facade to keep anyone away from him. He had me at prologue. If Alex’s reasons were understandable for her very emotional character, then Hayden’s past is a very legit reason why he became what he was. He wasn’t the best at making brilliant decisions, but what can he do? There was never a person in his life that took a fall for him aside from his dead mother and his bestfriend Remy, or maybe a bad bestfriend. If there is one decision he regrets the most, it would be to lead a life of a person similar to the one who destroyed his. I honestly think Hayden was a character that should have seen a therapist first before having his happy ending. Why? His past was so disturbing I don’t think anyone’s strong enough to surpass it. His character already showed signs of panic attacks and PTSD, I hoped this was addressed to just to make his happy ending more gratifying. Yes, Alex might have been a big factor in the way his character developed in the story, but I wish there was more satisfying reasons why he is okay now, and what made his ending a happy one. But aside from those reasons, I did like Hayden. His past and whatever he has gone through actually convinced me how fast he fell for Alex. He was like a fish in the sand desperately wishing for a strong wave to carry him away and back to the waters.
The story wasn’t new at all, just two broken people being drawn to each other who can’t seem to get over their past suddenly finds liberation from each other. But what makes this hard to put down are the unpredictable scenes and unexpected actions and decisions the characters do in the story. This may not be one of my favorites but I definitely liked how J. Nathan executed the story. The relationship and romance was okay, which I think is okay since the story mostly focused on how Hayden and Alex will recover from their past, in my opinion. Obviously I wasn’t convinced with the romance, but I did like the way how they got together in the end and I wish there would be a follow up novella for this one because I want more happy times with these two people. Aside from that, everything was quite satisfying especially the conflict. I did a lot of guessing of what trials will come to these two, and honestly, I liked that feeling of not guessing right what will happen.
Overall, I have to say this book was not bad and was satisfactory. I may not consider this as one of my favorites but I will surely wait for other books J. Nathan will come up with because this debut showed a lot of potential. The story captivated me and it kept me interested along the way. I liked it and I do recommend this to contemporary junkies who loves good character development and a plot that will keep you on guessing.