The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG *deep breaths*
Holy shit....that was THE BEST EFFING BOOK I've EVER read....hands down!!!! TWENTY stars. Omg I have a headache and my eyes are sore from the fifty million full on sobs I did.
I shall have a full review soon....
BEFORE I GO INTO THIS REVIEW.....EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK! EVERYONE! READ THIS BOOK! I MEAN IT! READ. THIS. BOOK. Thank you!
If I could give this book EVERY star in the world, I certianly would. My emotions are still raw after finishing this book at 5 this morning. So a decent review is not feasible right now. But make no mistake, this book is UNFORGETTABLE, EPIC, GUT WRENCHINGLY BEAUTIFUL novel I've EVER read and I can't think straight for the life of me. But I will have a long throrough review when I can function correctly.
Oh Lord, where do I begin?? This book is still so fresh on my mind that I could see every bit of the story through my eyes. It was simply, simply amazing, wonderful, unforgettable. Oh my God, I just love this book so damn much. I want to read it all over again just to be with the characters once again!
I am recommending this book to EVERYONE! It is truly my absolute FAVORITE book of ALL TIME. And though I may say quite often how a book is my favorite blah blah blah....nope....not like this one is! This book and Take This Regret are my TWO favorite books EVER! They are so unique and heartbreaking and gutwrenching and insides twisting....GAH! I'm getting emotional all over again. Dammit!
So first of all, I didn't realize this book is 7 years old. I'll admit when I first saw this book on GR, I was a little deterred from reading it because the cover did look kind of old school. I guess the cover doesn't attract many people. But honestly, once you read it, you totally understand what the cover symbolizes which okay it's not the greatest cover but it makes a Hell of alot more sense! I just hope Katherine will update it and make it more eye catching to get more people to read it because IT DESERVES MORE RECOGNITION. But to me, I do love it now that I know what the book is about. So, okay the cover....check.
Ummm, I normally know what I want to cover on my reviews but I am so scatterbrained with this book that I have no idea how to really get into the review itself. This book simply took my breath away. Thanks to Erin, my greatest and wonderful ally and sidekick....she introduced me to the most poetic, captivating, heartbreaking, sweet and fun book I've EVER read! I read her review and saw her updates and it became more and more intriguing....and she was recommending this book like crazy. So as I saw more people reading it and having the same reaction I figured it was time to jump on this book and see what the hype was about.
HOLY SHITBALLS! HOLY SHITBALLS! MY God. Holy Hell. Dammit.
When I started this I was instantly swept away by not only the characters but the descriptions. They were so vivid that I could picture every bit of this amazing place that Katherine painted for us. It was like seeing it firsthand. I felt like I was inside the story and watching it, feeling all the emotions the characters felt. Not one character did I end up not liking and for the life of me, it started out that way. But by the end, I called them all my family. My friends. I cried when I finished because not only is the ending bittersweet, but I didn't want to leave them. Oh my God, I loved them so much! I've read plenty of contemporary romance novels, but by far this is the BEST!
The Sweet Gum Tree takes place within 26 years. Alix, the town's rich kid and Nick, son of start as friends at the age of 8 and 10. Alix(8) befriends Nick(10), saving him from his horrible life. His father is a real asshole and he's abbusive and I wanted to beat the fuck out of him for everything he did. Holy shit, that man is the epitome of a sick fuck! And when you read this, you'll understand my hatred for him. So Nick being scared and worried about what others think, since he is the son of a drunk and white trash, living in a salvage junk yard....he's very skittish. He loves to read but his father thinks reading is a waste of time, but yet he spends all his time drunk off his ass instead of being a father to his son. Slowly, Nick lets his guard down and he and Alix get closer. Their friendship is absolutely captivating and beautiful. He becomes a protector of her, and as they get older and she starts asking him hilarious questions about babies and marriage, I can't help but laugh and feel so much love for them. Alix is so smart and she's very inquisitive, leaving Nick to answer odd questions. But he doesn't mind. When night when he is so beat up by his dad, Alix puts him up in a room in their barn next to their house and her grandfather who lives with them and happens to be the judge of town, helps him with his wounds. Then he goes to Nick's house and tells his father that is he ever hurts Nick again, he'll be thrown in jail.
After that, you don't see him making that mistake....but that doesn't mean he doesn't do some other shit. But still, Nick comes over and sleeps in that room that becomes his own for whenever he wants to get away from his dad, especially after he’s been drinking. He’s made a promise to the Judge that he would, to avoid getting abused again. It works well for Alix and Nick. As their friendship blossoms and gets more intense, you see how much their love for one another is so strong and its beautiful. Though he’s still afraid of what others will say, they don’t tell anyone. As they are in middle school and she goes through changes, so does he. And of course she notices and it’s quite funny. Their banter and conversations between one another is so awesome! Some of his quotes are unforgettable.
“You’re not old enough to have a real boyfriend,” he muttered.
“If I’m old enough to have babies, then I’m damn well old enough to have a boyfriend,” I ground out. “And just as soon as I decide on who it’s going to be, I’ll let you know.”
Once they became a couple, their relationship was so consuming. You were so in love with both of them. He was the perfect gentleman and very gentle with her. It was really neat that they were both virgins so the first time they have sex was hot but also funny because she wasn’t sure if they were doing it right. I couldn’t help but laugh. I loved it though! He never made her do anything she was uncomfortable with which is why it took them awhile to get it on….I kept hoping early on that they would do it already. But Nick was chivalrous and I loved that about him. Oh there was a scene between them….him thrusting her up against his car while making out was HOT HOT HOT! Ahhhhh, he’s one sexy beast!!
In the meantime, we meet the Judge, Aunt Darla, Aunt Jane, Jenna (Alix’s best friend), Hugh and many more characters that I will never forget.
Once things get good for Nick and Alix, they finally make it a point to tell the family that they are together. But I guess not everything goes your way. Something bad happens, something so life changing your heart starts racing rapidly in your chest and Nick has to leave Alix and his life behind. She is so heartbroken, so beside herself….only to discover something worse-she’s pregnant, with his child and he’s gone. It’s right before graduation and she is dating Hugh, another childhood friend who has liked her since they were kids. Both of their families want them to get married and since she is pregnant and he agrees to father Nick’s child…that’s what they do. Get married.
They go through life unhappy; they don’t really love each other. Alix still wants Nick in her life and Hugh starts looking elsewhere. It’s a disaster. They divorce and her mother becomes angry with her and doesn’t talk to her for a while. It’s one thing after another. Alix’s life if so screwed up with another tragedy that hits her square in the gut……..
But the day Nick comes back, her life is turned upside down. Questions, many unanswered questions remains in the forefront of her mind. Can they mend what was broken? Can they surpass 15 years of agony and pain they both suffered being apart? Can Alix forgive Nick for leaving her, especially when she needed him most?? Can love really conquer all?
“Do you want to know the real reason I came back, Alix?” It was because of you. You’re my roots. Wherever you are would be home to me.”
Nick, oh Nick…oh GOD NICK my heart breaks for you all over again, just remembering everything!!! I don’t want to give much else away since I basically told the story(there are some secrets I left out and they are HUGE). I couldn’t help myself….I want to read this book again…NOW! It’s so emotional. They go through the most raw, painful, agonizing, torture, tragic events that I could bear to watch. Just when you think things are going so well for them…..BAM! Another bomb drops and the floor from under you is pulled so forcefully and it’s so unfortunate for them. I love these characters more than most. I loved Nick with all my heart but also I loved Alix a great deal. She faced more tragedy in her life than most in real life and she really became the strongest young lady because of it. I admire her and put her at the top of my FAVORITE HEROINE OF ALL TIME. As much as I love the whole book, the last half was the best. It does have an HEA but don’t be fooled…you need like 10 boxes of tissues and beware; you probably won’t be able to breathe through most of it. But, you HAVE to read this. I encourage ALL ROMANCE LOVERS to read this! You won’t regret it! It will stay with you the rest of your life!
“He always was someone. Because the core of the sweet gum tree never changes. Like Nick, the deep red wood stays true to its nature. Strong, and steady, and pure.” ~Alix~
“I promise you this. I’ll love you until the day I die even if I have to live without you. And if it’s fifty years from now, you come home, Nick Anderson. Do you hear me? I’ll be waiting on you.” ~Alix~
Those that have read this......we need to form a petition for Katherine to write a novella in Nick's POV. I want to read it sooooooo bad!!!! I want to be in his sexy amazing head and see what he was feeling during this story. We'll all be an emotional wreck for days but I'm already a wreck as it is, so it won't be any different! Ahhh, Nick Anderson...where have you been all my life?
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