Genre: New-Adult, Romance, Suspense
Misha and Ryen were set up as pen-pals in 5th grade, both their teachers believing they were the same gender. Growing up, Ryen gave Misha the best version of herself, as she tried to be better for his sake. Ryen was the only girl that Misha ever cared about. She wrote him letters, nearly 3 for every one he replied to, but she knew he needed her. Her words kept him focused. They don't follow each other online, so to keep that distance in their lives and certain anonymity. But when Misha believes he has met Ryen in real life, he goes above and beyond to meet her. Ryen is unaware Misha has been right in front of her all along.
I've been waiting to read this for so long and I wasn't disappointed. From the beginning I was hooked as we delve into Misha and Ryen's story, told from dual POV.
Ryen: I really liked her because she truly wasn't perfect, possibly even not a nice character. For once we got a character that wasn't completely naive, innocent, oblivious to their good looks etc. Ryen was a bitch at times, allowing weaker characters to be bullied if it saved herself. Misha didn't like the real Ryen he saw in person, and so chose to torture her instead. I think there was wonderful character development for Ryen, as she yearned to be the best version of herself that she wrote on paper to Misha and as she grew in real confidence to commit to her moral high ground and defend those in need and put the real bullies back in their place.
Misha: He was a total ass, but mostly for the right reasons. Misha is a musician and Ryen's letters and words act as a huge muse for his work. He meets Ryen on a night out, both unaware of who each other is, but he instantly learns that she is the Ryen behind all of his music. After numerous life changing events, Misha joins the same school as Ryen under the false name of Masen, shielding his identity from Ryen and gradually becoming a staple person in her life. He battles with admitting his real name, but he has other reasons to be in the same town and can't let his true identity be known. As Masen, he treats her like shit, trying to charm her into submission and crack her icy exterior and queen status. All the while Ryen can't help but fall for him as Masen, while feeling guilt about Misha.
There was a great sub-plot propelling this story all along. We got the main hype about Misha and Ryen's online vs real relationship, but there was also a lot going on in Misha's life that kept the pace tumbling along nicely with a lot of suspense. There's quite a bit revealed about Ryen as she develops along with the story line, and it makes for a very surprising read.
This was a highly addictive read, full of drama and emotion, with an original plot. One of the best books I have read this year as the battle of choosing between who you are and who you want to be is explored in depth.