Ｓｅｒｉｅｓ：Goodreads has this as #0.5
Ｒａｔｉｎｇ：★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
＊Ｎｏｔｅ：I received an ARC from the Author in exchange for an honest review.
ROMANCE. SECRETS. LIES.
Seventeen-year-old Aster Redd is convinced her mother is hiding a gun. But no one–neither her love interest Joshua Cooper, nor her twin sister Ivy–believes her.
Until her mother fires a gun one dark night.
A gun she claims Aster planted on her to make her look evil.
With Joshua’s help, Aster sets out to prove her innocence, but how can she when the gun is registered in her name?
✩ Aster was more observant than I think people gave her credit for. She was also kind of insecure and quiet, but she seemed really nice.
✩ Ivy was more outgoing and confident, but I also think she seemed more… gullible in a way.
✩ Josh was really supportive and protective of both girls, which I really enjoyed. He was kind of like a big brother figure.
❝ Pensive, I pick up my fork and dig into the gloppy red mess that feels like my life. This mess, though, I can make disappear. The turmoil inside me, that won’t go away until Mom does.
Or until I do.❞
First, thank you so much to Olivia Wildenstein for this ARC! I really enjoyed starting this new series ❤
Because I’d started out reading her fantasy/paranormal series, The Lost Clan, I wasn’t really sure what to expect of a more contemporary series. I’m glad I decided to request the ARC because the story was well-written and it had me glued to my nook just waiting to read where it was going.
That being said, I was a little confused at first. I wasn’t exactly sure what the plot of the story was. It was focused on building the family relationships at the beginning–mainly the dysfunctional and abusive relationship between Aster and her mother. However, it did become more clear later on after a particularly shocking incident with Aster, Ivy, and their mother.
❝ The key she wears around her neck swings against her shapeless white blouse. It’s the key to all her secrets. Sometimes, I think it’s the key to her heart, but then I remember she doesn’t have one.❞
I sometimes had a hard time liking Ivy because of how oblivious she could be. Her mother was really her blind spot because she seemed unable (or unwilling) to recognize how dangerous her mother could be to Aster. She was very placating, always trying to defuse the situation but never doing much to prevent it from happening later on. At the same time, however, I felt a little sympathetic because of the way she was constantly caught between her sister and mother.
Besides the family relationships, I also enjoyed seeing the way that things developed between Aster and Josh. He was always protective of both sisters, but I think more so of Aster. It was partly because of how Aster’s mother would pick on her so much, but also because Aster was dealing with her own mental and emotional problems.
Overall, I think this was a great start to the series. It really set the history and relationships up well, and I’m looking forward to continuing and seeing where it goes.
The Masterkey was just released on October 16th, so go check it out!