by Sibyl Eisley
Series: Bright Park #1
Published by the Author (Self-Published) on June 14, 2016
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, New Adult
Source: The Author
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Fifer Parry has had a crush on Cecil Hatchfeld for months, ever since Cecil started working as her stepdad’s assistant. Cecil’s tall, handsome, and slightly mysterious—and once Fifer actually talks to him, it turns out they really click.
But even though she might have found the right guy, it’s neither the right time nor the right place for Cecil. He’s leaving for the opposite side of the country in a matter of weeks, and he’s certain that he doesn’t want to come back. Fifer can’t let a potential Mr. Right disappear so soon…
So, she packs her bags and joins him on a cross-country road trip.
It would be the perfect solution, except Fifer has a life waiting for her back home, over two thousand miles away. Cecil’s convinced a long distance relationship wouldn’t work out. But Fifer can’t ignore their deep connection, both emotional and physical, and she’ll do whatever it takes to prove him wrong.
If You Run is book #1 is Sibyl Eisley’s Bright Park new adult series. While it started out promising, ultimately the characters fell flat for me. As I read the book, I was struck by the feeling that the story felt more like a YA/teen novel rather than NA.
Fifer is trying to find her place in the world. Her previous retail job was a bust and she’s currently unemployed. Her stepfather is a professor at the local college and Fifer has a huge crush on his assistant, Cecil. Cecil seems interested in Fifer too, but they haven’t really spent time together alone.
Growing up, Fifer always got along with her stepsister Jo, but now that Jo is engaged, she and Fifer have drifted apart. Fifer’s mom is showering Jo with attention and wedding plans. Fifer’s lack of direction for the future just adds to the feeling that she’s being diminished in their family.
Fifer ends up scoring the job of her dreams: a sales position at the local independent music store. She’s really into indie rock, so the job is a perfect fit for her. Come to find out that Cecil loves the same type of music, so the two of them bond over that mutual interest. (Coincidentally, they’re both into obscure, Canadian indie bands.)
Where the story takes a huge turn for me, though, is when Cecil announces that he’s leaving Bright Park and Fifer basically invites herself along for the trip. Keep in mind, at this point they’re still not dating–they’re not a couple. Yet Fifer quits her brand-new dream job in order to drive across the country with her crush. Even though she’s only leaving for the duration of the trip and intends to return to Bright Park, I thought that was very impulsive and more reflective of something that someone in high school would do.
Also, Cecil has a big secret about why he wanted to run away and move across the country in the first place. When the secret is revealed, I thought it was anti-climactic and–as with Fifer–gave me the impression that Cecil wasn’t very mature for someone in his mid-20s.
I think that the story could have worked for me if Fifer and Cecil decided to go on a fun road trip, rather than one borne out of drama, and they had fallen in love along the way. As I mentioned, when Fifer chucks her job and takes off to be with Cecil, they’re not even dating, so I found the circumstances of their romance not very believable. Additionally, when the relationship turns sexual, it did not feel natural to me at all. Their physical relationship is glossed over quite quickly and I didn’t understand the context for how they were attracted to each other beyond friendship.
Unfortunately, although this book did not work for me, I will say that I appreciate that it’s not like typical NA novels that play up the angst factor. This is not a dark romance–there’s no sexual assault or extreme trauma. So if you’re looking for something that’s a change of pace from the typical NA novel, you might enjoy If You Run.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my review.
Rating: 2.5 stars