Fortunate Son by Jay Crownover Review


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Ry Archer and Bowe Keller are as different as night and day. But that doesn’t stop the childhood frenemies from reconnecting whenever one of them needs some help tackling any of life’s major puzzles, like figuring out why getting what you always thought you wanted isn’t living up to all the hype. They might constantly rub each other the wrong way (except for the times when they rub each other the really-really right way), but there is no denying they’ve always made one hell of a great team. They manage to balance each other out… when they aren’t driving each other crazy.

For Ry, he thought he had the perfect girl, the one who was going to run headfirst into a methodically planned future. He was going to marry young and have the same kind of legendary, life-long romance his parents did… or so he believed. His girl was going to stand by his side as he chased his dream of being a professional football player all the way to the NFL.

He was wrong.

Now, Ry’s gotta figure out the difference between a bruised heart and a broken one, and the only person who can teach him the difference is Bowe.

Bowe always felt like she had to run before she learned to walk to keep up with her father’s musical legacy. He’s her hero, and she wants nothing more than to make him proud. Bowe’s about to figure out that maybe she wasn’t meant to be in a rock and roll band and that it is possible she let her father’s success cloud her idea of what making music should be. Bowe needs to find her own path to fame, and there’s a good chance she wouldn’t be brave enough or bold enough to start over if Ry Archer hadn’t charmed his way back into her life when she least expected it.

Some days they’re enemies. Other days they’re lovers. For a while, they were strangers. But now, it feels more like they might have always been soulmates.

Eventually, Ry and Bowe realize that letting go of an old dream and creating a new one is much easier to do with the right person by your side.

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I’m a huge Jay Crownover fan, and her Marked Men series is where that adoration began. I love Jay’s writing style, I love her characters and their stories, and I really love how she makes me feel and think. She never fails to draw me into her stories with her characters’ struggles and their edgy, gritty, deeply emotional tales entwined in steamy, hard-fought romances. Her stories consume me, her characters stay with me, and I look forward to a new story from Crownover with night before Christmas levels of anticipation. Jay Crownover wrecks me in the best possible ways, and while I may not walk away from the experience unscathed, I am always satisfied and sated and starving for more.

Fortunate Son kicks off a second generation of stories rooted in Crownover’s iconic Marked Men and Saints of Denver series. She launches the Forever Marked series with the love story of the children of two of her most beloved couples – Shaw & Rule’s son, Ry, and Ayden & Jet’s daughter, Bowe. This group of friends is more like an extended family, tight-knight and close, and Ry and Bowe grew up within that dynamic. Two vastly different personalities, they’ve often been confused by the overwhelmingly big emotions they drew from each other. Unsurprisingly, they have been dancing around each other for years. As it often goes, that angsty teenage emotion overtakes them, and they wind up acting on those feelings. Instead of being the start of something beautiful, though, it’s a teenage crash and burn of epic proportions that results in years of estrangement between these frenemies.

Ry is a very emotionally mature young man. Outwardly, he’s got his act together, and he’s the solid one, the guy all the other kids in their big extended family look up to and lean on, but inwardly, it’s another story. Ry is struggling, and he’s not exactly sure why—something is missing and isn’t quite right with his life. He was settled in a comfortable but bland relationship, but when it suddenly ended, he was sent reeling. The next thing he knows, he’s 13 hours away from home, at Bowe’s in the middle of the night. Bowe isn’t exactly thrilled to find a heartbroken Ry on her doorstep given that’s she’s severely limited contact with him over years after she was left devastated the last time she entrusted her heart to him. She was just as surprised as Ry that he chose to turn to her after having his heartbroken, but she didn’t turn him away. A talented musician, Bowe was plugging along, chasing her dream of being a rockstar and following in her rockstar father’s footsteps. One of the most unnerving things that they both admit about the other was their uncanny abilities to see through whatever façade they presented to everyone else. There is a lot of self-discovery and realization going on during Ry’s post-breakup stay with Bowe, on both of their parts, and the personal growth they both experienced served to shore up their previously shaky foundation.  

A story about learning to recognize what you have, what you truly need and finding the courage to take those big, scary risks when it really matters, Fortunate Son was a fresh take on a classic, fan-favorite Crownover series. Jay did an incredible job catching readers up on some of the OG Marked Men characters while introducing them to this next generation. I love a good opposites attract connection, and no one writes them quite like Jay Crownover. On the surface Ry and Bowe were an unlikely pairing, but as their story evolves, it’s easy to see just how and why they fit together so well. Rich with chemistry and angsty emotion, this story about two childhood friends navigating major life changes and the beginning of an important relationship. A contradiction in every way, I reveled in both the emerging new world and the nostalgic roots from which it was born. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and I devoured this addictive, unputdownable story in a day. Five stars from me for Fortunate Son by Jay Crownover.

~Danielle Palumbo




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