Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to send a big thank you to NetGalley for this book, and also to everyone at Streetlight GraphicsPublishing, as well as T.L.Haddix herself.
When Eli Campbell is discharged after an accident ends his career in the Army, he isn’t sure what kind of homecoming to expect. Shoot, he’s not even sure what kind of homecoming he deserves. He did a lot of stupid things as a teenager, and he made a lot of rash decisions that hurt several people. Regardless, he’s determined to set things right with his family, particularly his brother Noah.
When he meets Haley Buchanan, his physical therapist, he’s turned head-over-heels. With a heart-stopping smile, a kind nature that’s like a balm for his soul, and enough sass and backbone to enchant him, she represents another example of a second chance he’d never thought to have—a second chance at love.
Haley wasn’t expecting anyone like Eli to come along, particularly not as one of her patients. She’s not prepared for the longing and need he stirs up inside her, as her life is nothing approaching simple and uncomplicated at the moment. With the weight of her elderly, invalid grandfather’s care resting on her shoulders alone, she barely has time to breathe, much less fall in love.
Once the professional complications are out of the way, though, she finds herself drawn more and more to Eli, coming to rely on his stability and warmth in a way she’d never expected.
This is the first book I’ve read written by T.L. Haddix. I’ve noticed that Snapdragon Way is part of a series, since it’s numbered as book 8. However, it is not a traditional series, most of them can be read as a stand alone novels. Every book is focused on different characters. In order to understand all the character, it might be a good idea to read the books in order, but the main plot and characters are separate, and clear.
This is contemporary adult fiction, but I think it can be read by young adults as well. At least this particular book, not sure about the rest of the series.
Snapdragon Way is about family, second chances, redemption, friendship, and love.
I would say that the main plot is about Eli making amends with his family, especially with his brother Noah. It is also about Eli accommodating to his new body, and life.
Eli is a veteran, even though he is only 28 years old. He was badly injured, and he ended up being an amputee. As a result, he goes back to US. His accident was what causes him to think to what he has done to his family, and instead of being a tragedy, it became a new beginning. He lost a limb, but he regained his family, and he also found a nice girl.
In regards to Eli and his lost limb. I liked the fact that he didn’t have an instant recovery. It was described realistically, which is great. We see Eli suffering, moaning, having nightmares, having low self-esteem, and so on. In other words, his recovery was not auger-coated.
At first it read a little bit slow. It took me a few chapters to get completely into the story. It does pick up the pace towards the middle of the book. It might be just me, not the book itself.
The story is told from different points of view. We read from Eli, Noah, and Haley’s perspective, but we also get a few scenes from other minor characters. I thought it was a nice way to get to know, and understand the main characters better. However, I don’t think it was necessarily to add the minor character’s point of view. It can get a little bit confusing. It is not a major problem.
I liked the fact that the first few chapters (8 of them, I believe) were focused only on Eli. This way we got to know him and his family a little bit, before the romance starts. It was a nice introduction. Haley is introduced in Chapter 9, right before she and Eli met.
I think everybody knows some novels where the main characters fall in love instantly, even though they only know each other for 5 minutes. And then they cannot be together for some reason, either is forbidden, or they’re children who cannot communicate, and keep secrets. Well, Snapdragon Way is not like that; it’s realistic.
The romance between Eli and Haley was not instant. Sure, there was some physical attraction when they saw each other for the first time, but nobody proclaimed their loved right away. They became friends, they met each others families, they had conversations, and then, towards the end of the book, they finally became an item. I think it took them around 3 months to get together (and not because of silly drama between them).
There was a problem between Eli and Haley at some point, after they started dating. However, it is resolved in a couple of chapters, and it is not the main conflict between them. They took some time apart (around a week), and then they sat down like adults, and discussed their problem. Bonus point.
It was nice to see how Eli and Noah’s fragile relationship evolved, and strengthened. The moments between them were my favorites. ❤
I also liked the fact that Eli has a nice family, instead of being from a broken home, like it seems to be the new trend. Haley has a good relationship with her grandfather as well. I loved her for taking care of him, even though he was old and sick. It speaks volumes about her character.
I think the relationship between Eli and Erica was a little bit exaggerated. Sure, Erica was manipulative, and mean. She’s not in the picture anymore, but she’s still haunting Eli and his family. Eli and the others cannot blame her for his/their actions. Eli chose her over his family. He took her back repeatedly. He chose to close his eyes, and so on. And yes, Eli is sorry for what he’s done, but he still blames his ex-wife for most of the problems. I also think it would’ve help him to go to therapy.
I also think Noah was a little bit immature, especially for his age. Not just because the way he reacted towards Eli when he was younger, but also because the way he judged Eli’s best friend. At least he matures a little bit at the end of the novel.
There is some paranormal in this book. I didn’t expect it. It is not the main plot, is more like a minor sub-plot. The book is not focused on it. It is more like how a characters deals with “normal” people, and life while being paranormal, as oppose to how s/he deals with the paranormal in general. I liked it.
There are some technical problems, like grammar and badly phrased sentences. Maybe they were already dealt with, since the book comes out tomorrow (Sept. 29th, 2015).
In general, it was a nice read. Snapdragon Way is the kind of book you read while is rainy outside, and you sit in a chair with a hot tea. It is an easy and relaxing read. I recommend it to everyone who likes romance.
Speaking of veterans, and amputees. Check out this photographs. Michael Stokes took pictures of veterans who have lost limbs, with and without their prosthetics. The photo-shoot is called Always Loyal, and it can be bought as a book on Amazon, Book-depository, and other places. Personally, I love Michael’s idea, and his photos. ❤