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Toxic by Rachel Van Dyken
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Note that this review discusses both Ruin and Toxic. No spoilers.

As I have stated there is something about these heartbreaking stories that has become an addiction to me. Is this book for everyone? Likely not. Is the writing perfect? No but it is beautiful. Are there slight moments where a cringe slightly with a cheesy statement... a few times, yes. But with all that said, I loved these stories and particularly the men in this series. These are heartbreaking stories of 2 men and their struggle with the life they have been handed. Whether this be physical or emotional losses, they are found in a downward free fall. One questions the need to fight to live while the other struggles with hiding behind alternate selves of his own creation, only to fall further and further into the darkness. It is not until they bump into or knock over the true loves of their lives that they start to question everything.

These stories are full of hope, full of emotional and full of beautiful passages and beliefs that we are all on a path and while bad things may happen to us, there is a plan and just when you think all is lost, a person can enter your life and make you want to fight the demons to live another day so that you can hold this love in your arms another minute, even if that is all the time you have left.

I love the quotes and insight at the start of each chapter...each by itself a story...

“Sometimes I wonder if we ever truly let anyone completely in. The desire for another human being to know you, all of you, all the pieces, even the ones you're ashamed of — is huge. But too often, we sit down and sort through the pieces only picking out the pretty ones, leaving the ugly ones behind, not realizing that choosing not to share with someone else is like committing a crime against our very soul — for how can we ever be free? When we purposefully place what we struggle with the most — in the dark? —Wes M.

I love how the characters in this series become intertwined and how their love grows for each other. I was thrilled to see plenty of Wes' character in Toxic. He is the heart and soul of this series. I look forward to more!

While this book does many things well, I have to say that my favorite book of this type would still be Making Faces, by Amy Harmon. Read them both with plenty of Kleenex on hand! ( )
  JulieCovington | May 29, 2016 |
Fantastic! I was really looking forward to Gabe's story and Ms. Van Dyken did not disappoint. Another wonderfully written story that stays with you long after the last page. Highly recommended! ( )
  Bette_Hansen | Nov 3, 2015 |
  Heelgirl77 | May 16, 2015 |
  Heelgirl77 | May 16, 2015 |
Honestly I loved Ruin, but Toxic totally brought me to my knees! Ms VanDyken captures so many emotions and most especially so much love with this book that I couldn't put it down. I read the entire thing in two sittings and that is only because I had to get food for my kids. It's almost 1am and I would have kept going longer if necessary. I love that Gave had such a passion for life and no one really knew about it. I love that his best friend Wes helps him thru just like they did in Ruin. I love that this book made me cry happy tears as well as dad tears. Whatever else you read this year, make sure that you read Toxic. It is truly amazing!!! ( )
  lornajarkin | Aug 22, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0991127390, Paperback)

Everyone has a secret... Gabe Hyde is on borrowed time. He's been hiding his identity for over four years-hidden from the world that used to adore him--obsess over him--driven to the edge of insanity by one poor choice. But that one choice, altered the course of his life forever. Pretending isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when pretending means hiding your real self from the people that care about you the most. But if anyone ever discovered the truth it wouldn't just be his life at risk--but hers. Saylor doesn't hate men. Just Gabe. Only Gabe. He's a reckless, happy-go-lucky, silver spoon fed pain in her ass. Everything about him makes her more and more confused. Unfortunately they both donate time at the same Group Home. If she wasn't afraid of flunking, she'd be long gone. She hates that she's attracted to him almost as much as he hates that he's attracted to her--and she can tell, especially since their first encounter ended up making her knees so weak she couldn't form coherent sentences for weeks afterwards. But the closer she gets to him, the more confused she becomes. He isn't who he says he is, and he's hiding something big. What happen when two worlds collide? Two worlds that never should have met in the first place? Some secrets are too big to be hidden forever--the only question? Will his destroy everyone he loves? Or finally bring about the redemption he's been craving for the past four years? Everyone has a secret...What's yours?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:58 -0400)

Gabe Hyde is on borrowed time. Keeping his identity a secret isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when he meets Saylor. A girl who reminds him of one he used to love--a girl who has the power to break down every wall he's ever built.

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