Introvert, Worrier, Owner of the blog "Caught in a FAB Romance", and resident Romance Guru on Parajunkee's View. I've been blogging about books for four years - if it's got romance in it, I'll read it! You can also find me on twitter, tweeting about books, my family, and sometimes, The Saints: @TheLoveJunkee Find me on Instagram:
I don’t know why I picked Fading to review – on the one hand, it’s an amazing book and I want to tell everyone to READ IT!! On the other hand, it’s hard to put into words my feelings and reactions; Fading ripped my emotions apart and then put them back together again, one page at a time.
Candace Parker is starting her senior year of college, hoping/planning for a career in ballet. She spends most of her time working at an indie coffee shop, studying, or practicing ballet. She does not have a good relationship with her wealthy parents, who view her ballet dreams as a fanciful whim and regularly ask when she’s going to get married. They’re constantly comparing her to their friends’ children and she doesn’t feel like she measures up. Candace decides maybe she’s been too serious and standoffish and decides to accept a date from Jack, a friend she knows through her parents. Although she’s not really ‘feeling it’, she accepts a second date with Jack in the hopes that she’s just not giving him enough of a chance. She ends the night in the Emergency room, brutally raped, beaten and unconscious. Fading is the story of After.
After… Candace takes refuge with her BFF Jace and his boyfriend Mark. She’s trying to forget her attack; some days she succeeds, but most days she fails miserably. She’s withdrawn from her friends and is having trouble with ballet. Then she meets Ryan (a friend of Jace and Mark) and slowly gets to know him over a period of months. He’s patient with her (she has a lot of PTSD), and she likes him, but she knows if he ever finds out what happened to her won’t want her. As Ryan’s feelings grow into more than friendship, he knows she’s got secrets and he’s patient because he knows she’s worth it. The problem is, does Candace know she’s worth it?
I can’t remember how I stumbled across Fading. I think I was just in the mood for a dark read and it caught my eye. At first I was all, “Nah – not another New Adult book with this same theme”, but I took a chance and am so glad I did. It’s an amazing story of pain and fear and the long, difficult road to achieving a new normal.
I’m not going to lie – the beginning of the book is brutal. It’s painful to read. But the way Ms. Blair writes, I found myself unable to turn away. While I have never been in her situation, I still found Candace relatable and fell right into her story. I can’t say I felt her pain, because again, I have not had been in her situation, but I can say it was portrayed in a way that made me believe it was real. Did I find myself frustrated with her character? Absolutely – I wish she would have made some different choices than the ones she did, but I thought the author did a good job of explaining why she made the choices she did.
I loved Ryan. Loved him. We’re talking book boyfriend material here. He was patient and kind and the sort of man any parent would choose for their daughter. (Except, of course, Candace’s parents.) Candace’s friends Jace and Mark were also marvelous characters. I thought they were three-dimensional and written as supporting characters who just happened to be gay, their sexuality did not define their characters. They were fiercely protective of Candace and I loved them for that.
There may have been a loose end that was tied up little too neatly, and sometimes I thought to myself, “she’s crying AGAIN?”, but other than that I have no complaints. I had so many feels while reading Fading: horror, sadness, hope, and happiness, and the ending made the journey so very worth it.
Fading would be a good pick for someone who enjoys dark reads, new adult, and sensitive, emotional romance. If reading about sexual violence is a trigger for you, however, you might want to skip this one.