Blog Tour: Song of the Fireflies by JA Redmerski, Review

Released On: February 4, 2014
Song of the Fireflies
by JA Redmerski
Book 3 of the Edge of Never Series

5.... 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 freaking stars!

I should warn you, there might be plenty of gushing in this review. It's not just because my love for this author is supreme. I'm not biased, I assure you! In fact... ok, let me dish out exactly what went down when I read this book

At the beginning I actually couldn't get into it. The first chapter was amazing.We get to see the main characters, Elias and Bray, first meet as children. There is a fairy tale-like feel of those scenes. Nothing is wrong in the world, the only things kids worry about is them being occasionally obnoxious and annoying to each other. In those early scenes, everything was perfect. 
Bray and I spent the whole night in the field chasing the fireflies and laying on the grass, staring up the stars.

Then we fast forward to the future. They are no longer as innocent. They are still incredibly close best friends, but they are also exploring and doing other things that young people today are into. Drinking, parties, boyfriends, girlfriends, intimacies. Most importantly, they are starting to acknowledge their growing attraction to each other. Unfortunately, Bray doesn't want to jeopardize their friendship. Every relationship she's been in ended, and all those guys left. Elias leaving is her worst fear, so he reluctantly agrees to stay platonic.. at least until they both couldn't deny their attraction anymore. 

You'd think that's it, the happy ending, but no. That was only 6% in. That dreamy, perfect aura I was talking about earlier starts to fade... then it disappears completely in the next chapters.

This was the part when I started to dislike where the story was going. The main characters go through very "real" situations and do things that real, young people do, as I said earlier. I no longer found them as likable as before, especially Bray. She makes poor decisions and one of them leads to something very tragic. Because of that, Elias takes her away to a trip to nowhere, anywhere as long as its away from their town. They meet and decide to stay with a group of people who are... let's just say I didn't like them too.

To be honest, at this point I was afraid I won't be able to finish it (I don't know if you fellow readers, ever felt the same: afraid that you won't like a book by your favorite author..?). I put Song of the Fireflies on hold. I got the ARC in December, read it mid-January, and it's only yesterday that I picked it up again for my blog tour review. And since I was losing interest in it, I thought, "I need to look for inspiration!" I checked out the reviews at Amazon, and lo! There were glowing, raving reviews from some of the biggest book bloggers I follow.

So I picked up my kindle and proceeded where I stopped. Later, I realized it was stupid of me to have given up where I did. Just a little more onward and I would've already found that spark I was looking for! The story picks up at around 40%. That unlikable buildup begins to make sense. Readers needed to be in that rut, in that existence where Elias and Bray attempted to escape. It wasn't pleasant or safe, and it sure as hell couldn't last forever. Those raving reviews started to make a lot of sense to me. 

I think Song of the Fireflies spotlights three very important key points. 

1. Mental illness. As I was nearing the end of the book, I felt sorry because I behaved as Bray's parents did. I almost gave up on their story. I was getting tired of her mood swings. I was getting tired of seeing this young lady with bipolar disorder make poor decisions and drag the man she loves down with her.
Crazy, fucked-up mood swings. Highs and lows that give me whiplash... I couldn't have known that there was something wrong with me when I was a little girl. I was just me. I didn't know I was any different from anybody else. Who knows stuff like that when they're kids?

2. Unconditional love. This is definitely Elias. The thing is, he knows Bray is dragging him down but he refuses to leave her side. In fact he wants to help and save her. In my Q&A with JA Redmerski, she says the same thing: I think Elias’ love for Brayelle is the epitome of unconditional.
It's always been you, Bray. I could never love another girl the way that I've loved you since we were kids. Never.

3. Love blinds. It cripples, but it also heals. Song of the Fireflies shows the contradicting effects of love. When people love, they do stupid things. This doesn't just apply to Bray and Elias, but also to many of the secondary characters. But it's also thanks to that love that they are able to recover and live a happier life.
...but love isn't always roses and rainbows and butterflies in your stomach. It's equally cruel and painful and the world's worst villain.
I guess sometimes people do bad things, almost always in the name of love. But after all is said and done, is what we do really 'bad' or just necessary?

So, I went from disliking the book to giving it 10 stars. You must think this is unbelievable, haha, and it truly is! But it did happen. I did a complete 180 and ended up completely loving it! From 69% onwards, I did nothing but cry. Truly, a continuous ugly cry, to the extent that it would take me ten minutes to go through one page because I kept crying. Each next line, each next piece of dialogue, they were hitting me deep because by then I already was sooo into the story. I no longer looked at Bray as an annoying person. I began to sympathize with her and what she's suffering. I felt incredibly grateful for Elias all the time too!
"I love you more than you will ever know."
"How is that?" she asked in a quiet voice.
"Because I would do anything for you," I said. "You just don't realize what 'anything' truly means."
"Maybe I will someday," she whispered, and I shut my eyes softly, holding in the tears. "I love you, too, Elias. More than you could possibly ever know."
How is that?" I asked.
I felt her lips against my hair. "Because I'd never ask you to prove your 'anything."

Kudos to the author for writing this epic, epic love story! Her talent really shines through in this book. She got much better in "painting" scenes in the readers' minds. Even when I wanted to rush my reading, I found myself slowing down so I could savor every word, every description, and as a result lush images formed  in my mind's eye. I could almost feel the grass. I pictured fireflies surrounding me as I read, and I splashed in the lake with them. After finishing it I was jumping in my seat, fist-pumping to no one and with a shit-eating grin plastered on my face. I would have pounded the heck out of the dining room table if it wasn't 2:30 in the morning!

So yes, I didn't love Bray at the beginning, which is a shame because she's the heroine. There were times I wanted to hit Elias, too. But you know what? I realized that with JA Redmerski I don't have to love her characters at all in order to love their story. THIS story, Song of the Fireflies , is quite far from my usual cup of tea. It doesn't follow any convention. What it is, though, is a gem, and I love it!
Always the fireflies.

Time-lapse photography of fireflies. This is so cool! 

Buy links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes


New York Times bestselling author J.A. Redmerski brings us a stunning and heart-wrenching new novel about a couple who find each other in their darkest moment. 

Since they were kids, Elias Kline and Brayelle Bates have been inseparable. When Bray moves to South Carolina, separating the two for the first time, they both at last realize that their innocent childhood friendship has developed into something much more. So when Bray finally returns to Georgia—and to Elias—things between them couldn’t be more perfect…until one fateful night changes everything.

Desperate not to go to prison for a terrible accident, Elias and Bray decide to run. As they try to make the most of their freedom, the two find themselves relying on a rebellious group of people who tempt the duo into a wild and daring new life. But they can’t run from their troubles forever.

As the consequences of their past catch up to them, the couple must finally face reality. Even if they can make it through the unimaginable, Elias knows the truth about Bray’s painful history, and in the end he may not be able to save Bray from herself…

New Adult Contemporary Romance - Standalone Novel



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About the Author:

J.A. Redmerski, New York TimesUSA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children, two cats and a Maltese. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC's The Walking Dead.



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