Narrated by Lidia Dornet & Sebastian York
As a small girl, Olive Taylor introduces herself to her older brother’s best friend, Jason. Once he smiles at her–showing his dimple–and calls her “Lil One”, she immediately develops a little girl crush. Their first meeting is cute and portrays Jason as a sweet boy and Olive as an adorable and determined little girl.
Jason spends a lot of time at the Taylors due to an alcoholic and neglectful mother, and he is loved and accepted as part of their family. As a teen, however, Jason is swept away to California by his absent father and soon loses touch with them.
The story picks up years later and we see Olive has written and independently published her first book, which is now a best seller and she is being courted by the film industry to turn over the rights to her story. As a selling point to prove how serious they are, they bring in the man they want to portray her hero in the film adaptation: none other than the world-famous movie star, Jason Thorn. HER Jason. THE Jason she modeled her hero after when writing the book. THE Jason she never got over and has loved since she was that precocious little girl asking him to marry her the first time they met.
Other than a “forced to…” trope which rarely works in contemporary stories and I wish wouldn’t have been used in this one as the friends-to-lovers plot device would have been enough, I found Olive and Jason’s romance to be well thought out and executed. Little moments from the beginning circle around later. Olive didn’t seem to change much–or need to change much–from the personality she evidenced as a child, but we did see growth in Jason after a lackluster reintroduction into his life as an adult. He started off rather jaded and self-absorbed, not really enjoying his life as a superstar. Once he met Olive, however, his old self slowly started resurfacing and we again saw the sweet boy we once knew.
I loved witnessing the interactions between Olive and her best friend, Lucy. Their friendship is one all women wish they had: to have a friend who is like a sister who can be trusted with anything and who totally understands you and loves you anyway.
There is a similarity between this book and others who use the same type of storyline, but the way in which it is written somehow rises above the others. I do like seeing characters when they were children and then seeing how the ensuing years were either good to them or traumatized them in some way, molding them into the adults they are now. Overall I ended the book with a feeling of really knowing and liking these characters and wanting to be part of their world.