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By Kit Hindmarsh

IR Rating:
Kit Hindmarsh’s ENDS & STARTS is a fast-paced romance that could use more world-building and on-the-page action to set the scene.
A heartrending New Adult romance that tests the love of high school sweethearts whose relationship buckles under the pressures of reality.

ENDS & STARTS is the sequel to Kit Hindmarsh’s Firsts & Lasts, and while it is recommended to read the first book in the series to better understand the characters and their history, this novel is fairly easy to read as a standalone. The book starts off with high school sweethearts Logan and Ducky, who are getting ready to start a new chapter in their lives: Ducky’s going to college with their friends, and Logan’s starting his new job at a tattoo parlor. Even though they promise to spend as much time together as possible, eventually their insecurities start to surface. Logan is jealous of a new guy on Ducky’s campus who tries to get close to her every chance he gets. And when Logan invites Ducky out with his coworkers and boss, an unexpected incident involving someone in Logan’s circle leaves her traumatized and unable to confide in Logan (to protect him). But when her self-preservation forces them apart and leaves them both miserable, they must figure out a way to move forward without losing each other for good.

ENDS & STARTS is an emotional story about first love and the pain that follows when life pulls you in different directions. Though Ducky and Logan are suggested to have a solid foundation even as they’re pursuing different interests, their promise to stay together quickly dissolves because Logan has trust issues. He cares for Ducky, but doesn’t attempt to fight for her when she pushes him away (or even investigate why she’s upset), and part of this has to do with the steady miscommunication between them. It also has to do with how important parts of the story tend to occur off the page, which affects conflict and character development. Readers only gradually learn that Ducky’s hurt, so they’re not as privy to the aftermath and her recovery as prominently as they could be. And Logan’s assumption that Ducky’s being distant because of another guy doesn’t make for much of a conflict when the guy in question is barely around in any significant way. When they finally break up, readers are told they’re miserable without each other, but the story abruptly jumps five months into the future and doesn’t flesh out their mutual pining. The voice of the story initially captures the angst of young love, but it weakens under the lack of scenes with the couple.

It’s evident in Ducky and Logan’s first encounter post-break-up—when they decide to spend the day together—that they still have strong feelings for each other. Their chemistry bounces off the page in that one day because readers finally getting a deeper look into their dynamic and fun rapport. However, their relationship throughout the story lacks the nuance needed to better understand why they’re so good together beyond physical attraction.

Kit Hindmarsh’s ENDS & STARTS is a fast-paced romance that could use more world-building and on-the-page action to set the scene.

Trigger warnings: There are some sensitive topics addressed in the book that readers should be aware of, such as assault, alcohol, and substance abuse. 

~K. Nesa for IndieReader

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