Four Point Five Stars.
Steal Me is book #1 of The Haunted Roads series, in the new adult genre, and a deeply emotional story of teenage friendship and resilience. There are subtle messages of respect, loyalty and safety, important themes for teenagers to read about, and this book was a joy to read.
So what is this story about? It’s split in half; firstly Maverick, then Tucker’s tale, the book is mainly set in a small town in Georgia. Maverick is sixteen and has it all: he’s a keen sportsman who has a college scholarship, a hot girlfriend and a great family. All this ends on the night his father is killed in a road accident. When his mother breaks down with grief, Maverick is forced to step into the parental role for his five year old sister, Bailey. He shuts down his own feelings and bravely takes over leadership of his family.
At school, Maverick’s friends don’t know how to support or talk to him, and he becomes an outcast as he focuses on making Bailey’s life normal. Then a decision to move away from the old memories offers hope, and Maverick steps up once again as he finds the family a new home and sets up monetary funds for the future.
It’s here, whilst putting Bailey’s needs first, that Maverick meets Hu and Cole. Instead of being in their own teenage bubble, they reach out to Maverick and invite him to meet their friends. This includes Bailey, and the pair are welcomed by a compelling, diverse crowd. Tucker is like Maverick, fiercely protective of his sister and determined to do the right thing for others too. Viola throws out sharp retorts but there’s also a soft side; she is wise beyond her years and was one of my favourite characters.
There’s much for Maverick to learn about his new friends, but they offer him support and the chance to just be a teenager. There’s pain too; Delilah is reeling from the death of her boyfriend, Viola’s had her own family losses and Tucker vowed to protect those he could. Maverick is drawn to Delilah and is determined to peel away her layers of hurt. He becomes the key to her recovery and the group of friends do all they can to bring the couple together. Their story takes them through the end of high-school, college and to their early twenties.
Part two is Tucker’s story: the loss of his own mother, the role he took in standing up for Delilah and Viola, his best friend Kenny’s tale and Tucker’s own sense of failure when he ran away from his perceived responsibilities. It’s about how events shaped, moulded and taught a hot-headed boy about life. Beginning when he was still a child, it takes us through to his life after college. I easily felt empathy for Tucker as I did for Maverick as each story unfolded; however, soon after Tucker began talking I lost Maverick from my head. I put this down to both of their dialogue styles being similar. They are both great characters, but I would have enjoyed a sharper distinction between the two.
Warning! There is a cliff-hanger ending, but I didn’t mind. Yes, I was itching to find out what happened next, but I can see that it was a good time to break from the intense story, allowing the reader to breathe and mull over all they have read. The characters and this story are here with me in my head as I write this. I was very taken with the themes of abuse, loss and suffering which these teenagers turned into strength, resilience and support. But don’t roll your eyes, thinking that the next book will give a happy ever after ending; these people feel too real for the standard, neat HEA. Instead, I think they’ll stay with you and haunt you for a little while.
View all my reviews On Goodreads
“Some relationships have hidden truths that few can survive. Only us strong ones can dare listen to, and have the balls to stay and bear witness to, the result of irrevocable damages. So tell me, Maverick, are you one of the strong?”
Maverick, unfortunately, is well aware of Tucker’s meaning. Mav has recently lost his father, his mother is slipping into a depression, and his little sister is in desperate need of a parental figure. But now he’s losing his heart to Tucker’s mysterious sister, Delilah. As Maverick squints into the sun, looking at the beauty standing in front of the lake, he wonders if his heart is crazy for begging him to take on yet another tragedy.
About The Author
India R. Adams is an author/singer/songwriter who has written YA and NA novels, and the music for the Forever series.
Being a survivor of abuse, has inspired India to let others know they have nothing to be ashamed of. She put her many years of professional theater background to the test and has written fictional stories with a shadow of her personal experiences. She says, “I’m simply finding ways to empower perfect imperfections.”
Another cause India feels needs change, is Sexual Slavery. She has joined forces with jewelers to design beautiful ways to raise money for non-profit organizations.
Even though India writes about serious subjects such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, and Human Trafficking, she has a magnificent sense of humor, as do the characters she creates. Perfectly balanced between laughter and tears, her readers see how to empower their own perfect imperfections.
For a limited time e-copies of all of India’s books can be downloaded between March 31st and April 2nd at the following event