Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: July 1st, 2014
Caroline still dreams about West. His warm skin, his taut muscles, his hand sliding down her stomach. Then she wakes up and she's back to reality: West is gone. Before he left, he broke her heart. Then, out of the blue, West calls in crisis. A tragedy has hit his family-a family that's already a fractured mess. Caroline knows what she has to do. Without discussion, without stopping to think, she's on a plane, flying to his side to support him in any way he needs. Though they are together once more, things are totally different. West looks edgy, angry at the world. Caroline doesn't fit in. She should be back in Iowa, finalizing her civil suit against the ex-boyfriend who posted their explicit pictures on a revenge porn website. But here she is. Deeply into West, wrapped up in him, in love with him. Still. They fought the odds once. Losing each other was hard. But finding their way back to each other couldn't be harder.
I enjoyed Deeper, the first Caroline and West book, but I think Harder is even better. I had trouble putting this one down and really got caught up in Caroline and West's world, especially as their relationship intensifies and new challenges arise. I loved the relationships in this book, whether they be romantic or familial, and everything just seemed more real. Robin York has somehow managed to exceed my expectations!
Harder shows a different side to West, delving further into his past and focusing more on his role as his little sister's guardian. Frankie has always grown up with West being there for her as a father figure, and that's a part of him that isn't as prevalent in Deeper. Whereas the first book is all about Caroline and West saving each other and falling in love, this book moves their relationship forward and shows that there are other responsibilities that accompany being an adult. I really enjoyed this aspect of Harder, mainly because I too have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders and have to think about things other than myself. Unfortunately it's part of life, and Robin York does a great job of portraying it.
Although I liked Caroline and West in Deeper, I prefer them in Harder. There's less focus on the sexual part of their relationship and more time dedicated to them growing as individuals, taking on new roles and becoming the people they're going to be for the rest of their lives. Obviously things are never easy for them, but they do their best and always do what they think is right. West grows up a lot in this book and Caroline makes choices that will affect her forever - they're more realistic and all the better for it.
Harder has really changed my mind about this series and I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Deeper had slightly put me off because of all its explicit content, but Harder had less of that and didn't suffer because of it. Overall this is a great read and another top-notch NA book making its way on to UK shelves. I hope there's more on the way from Caroline and West and I hope it's just as good as this!
Please note: this book is not suitable for younger readers.