Review: Harder by Robin York

by Robin York
Book 2 of Caroline & West Series
4 stars

This book surprised me halfway through my reading. At first I was honestly quite bored. The tone of the writing, the scenes and the very characters themselves were all very melancholic, my own mood was dragged down. Halfway through though, I had noticed that as I was highlighting more, internally nodding more, and finally cheering on the characters as they slowly overcame the challenges and personal issues they were facing.

HARDER is an emotional read, surely. I'd go as far as saying it is more emotional and sentimental than the first one, but then again I haven't read book one. =P It's just that the few references to events in the first book felt worlds away from the atmosphere in this one. For instance, Caroline reminisces about West's smiles and strong, carefree, F-the-world attitude in the first book. That description sounded like an entirely different character since, as I mentioned already, West is very introverted, and even a bit cruel (emotionally, to Caroline). It sounded like things were getting perfect in DEEPER; but at the beginning of HARDER, everything was just wrong.

That's why I recommend reading book one first before picking up this one. Story-wise, this book can stand on its own; but, I think readers will appreciate the ending of HARDER a lot more if they have started Caroline and West's story from the very beginning during DEEPER.

It is also apparent that the characters have had a 180 since book 1. Caroline is now stronger and more sure of herself. From what I gathered, West had been her rock during the tumultuous time that her ex posted graphic videos and images of her online. This time, it's Caroline who needed to offer support. West is emotionally traumatized and he carried the burden of supporting and raising his younger sister. Thank God for Caroline, otherwise he would have done a marvelous job of fucking everything up! Honestly!

What I liked the most about the story is that Caroline and West are both very mature even if they are only in their early 20's. They acknowledged the problems in their romantic relationship and the relationships they had with their families. With each other's help, they figured out solutions and carried them out.

I especially loved how Robin York used that popular story about a poor couple to demonstrate the nuances in Caroline and West's relationship. Remember that story, how the wife cut off her hair and sold it to buy a chain for her husband's watch, and how her husband sold his watch to buy combs for his wife? It was incorporated beautifully into HARDER. :)

To wrap things up, I'd certainly recommend this book, along with the first one. Ooh, I just checked.. the first book ends in a cliffhanger. SO that explains it! LOL. Robin York is obviously a talented writer and storyteller. I am looking forward to her future books!


In Robin York's provocative new novel, two young ex-lovers find themselves together again in the shadow of tragedy--and an intense, undeniable attraction. 

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. And 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.

They're together again, but 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.

Here is the first book in Caroline & West series:

Book 1: Deeper

In Robin York's sizzling debut, a college student is attacked online and must restore her name--and stay clear of a guy who's wrong for her, but feels so right. 

When Caroline Piasecki's ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn't look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.

West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he's shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger--even after promising her dad she'll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.

They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they're “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself--and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.

When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.

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