Jan 08

Release by Aly Martinez Review



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Growing up, Ramsey Stewart branded my soul in ways time could never heal.

At twelve, he asked me to be his girlfriend.
At thirteen, he gave me my first kiss.
By sixteen, we’d fallen in love, planned a future together, and had our eyes set on the horizon.

Love never fails, right?
But for Ramsey, it did.
Love failed him.
I failed him.
The entire world failed him.

At seventeen, Ramsey was convicted of killing the boy who assaulted me.

Move on,he wrote in his first and only letter from prison.
Start a new life, he urged.
I don’t love you anymore, he lied.

There was no such thing as giving up on Ramsey. Love may have been our curse, but he was mine—then, now, and forever.

So here I am, twelve long years later, waiting for a man I don’t even know to emerge from between the chain link gates.

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Aly Martinez absolutely wrecked me with her heartbreakingly beautiful coming-of-age, second-chance love story, RELEASE. Rooted in this couple’s history, Thea and Ramsey’s story was moving, poignant and, at times, painful. But as devastating as Ramsey and Thea’s history was, there was a lot of beauty intermingled within that pain.

Martinez starts this story at the very beginning, where the adolescent versions of Thea and Ramsey meet for the first time amid personal tragedies in their young lives. She takes readers into their teen years as their friendship morphs into first love. Everything changes for them on a night where a sweet, tender moment turned into a nightmare with far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. Two already broken, damaged teens who have nothing but each other are ripped apart, and there begins Thea and Ramsey’s heart-wrenching journey back to each other.

Full of twists, turns, trauma and tumultuous emotion, RELEASE was an incredible story of love and forgiveness. Martinez’s brilliant and captivating portrayal of young love reignited amid a painful past captured my attention from the first page and held it the whole way through.  Gripping and genuine, I couldn’t turn the pages of this unputdownable love story fast enough. My heart ached for this couple and all they went through, but it’s these kinds of bittersweet stories that make second-chance reunions so rewarding. Five smooches from me for RELEASE by Aly Martinez!

~Danielle Palumbo




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