⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 Stars)
Dear Ava is a difficult book. Without skirting around the first chapter opens with the heroine waking up after being drugged and abused at a keg party. And even though there’s no description of the abuse on the page, it is tense enough to read about it. And it’s a very complicated place for a book to start.
Then we cut to 9 months later, due to many circumstances Ava is going back to the same school where the possible abuser is from. He was never caught, and a lot of victim-blaming happened. But Ava has always had a tough life, and she wants to 1. show that they can’t break her and 2. find out who the guy was and get some revenge.
In the midst of this very serious plot, she finds a letter in her locker from a secret admirer. Enter Knox, a brooding quarterback with a huge scar on his face, that despite his scary looks has a tormented but sweet heart.
This book kind of gave me 13 reasons why vibes, in the sense of going under the layers of what can happen in the worst scenarios of high school, and the dangers of parents and teachers turning a blind eye. But, it was very carefully written and ended up being a story of how two broken people can help each other. Knox was the perfect hero, he was kind and respectful and slowly he could let Ava trust another person.
I think it’s so hard to have such a serious plot and weave a romance into it but Ilsa Madden-Mills pulled it off, an the overall result was great and the ending made perfect sense. Ava was such a strong heroine, and while I hurt so much for her I was so proud of her bravery.
Beware of trigger warnings if this is a difficult subject for you.
Thank you Social Butterfly PR and Ilsa Madden-Mills for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.