A Place Without You by Jewel E. Ann

Disclaimers: while my blog post itself does not contain any sexual content, this book does. This is a review for a book that is meant for mature audiences, and therefore is unsuitable for minors.

This book was provided to me for free by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thoughts at a glance: ***** (It was amazing!)

Summary: (as provided by the publisher)

The Law of Henna and Bodhi: 
When love breaks, fall inward, fall together, and fall hard. Then let time pick up the pieces.

Everything feels temporary when you’ve experienced tragedy—until Henna Lane meets Bodhi at a music festival.

Young and spontaneous, they have a lust for seizing the moment, falling hard and fast.

When Bodhi is forced to leave without a goodbye, Henna thinks she’ll never get over him. But then she meets Mr. Malone, her sexy, new guidance counselor.

They are reckless.
They are forbidden.

When their secret is discovered, Henna has to choose between finishing school—banned from seeing Mr. Malone—or dropping out to follow her nomad dreams.

Henna chooses her dreams.

Over time, she learns that life is not a destination or a journey, some things are more than temporary, and the forbidden can never be ignored. But if she returns for him, will he still be hers?

A Place Without You is an emotional story of young love, shattered dreams, and impossible decisions.

Thoughts: This is the 8th book I've had the privilege of reviewing as a member of JEA's blogger team, and I want to say, first of all, that she is now the only author for whom I am a team member anymore, and that means something. Being on a blogger team involves deadlines and obligations, and if I didn't think her books were worth it, then I wouldn't be doing it, as this blog is a hobby for me and not a job. (Basically: I'm here because I want to be; I don't HAVE to do this.)

So, it should shock no one that I thought this one was beautiful and thought-provoking. As always, JEA tackles a couple tricky and taboo subjects with grace, complexity, and poetry.

First is the teacher-student relationship thing. (Well, he's a counselor, not a teacher.) This trope is a significant one for me because I am actually a high school teacher, so on the one hand I'm like, "NO NO THIS IS SO WRONG," but on the other hand, as a reader/fan, I'm like, "I SHIP IT!" There are extenuating circumstances that make their relationship Not So Bad, but I found my insides warring over it. (Spoiler alert: I still shipped it.)

Second is... well, a topic that I did NOT see coming (I'm finding that tends to happen in JEA books),  and I don't want to spoil it for you, but let's just say that this was about love of a completely different kind, and in typical JEA fashion, it's a subject that is extremely emotional and never simple for any party involved.

What I loved best, though, about A Place Without You is that it's a story about being young and the sort of decisions you make when you're young, and how they might affect you later. Henna is the young one in this book, and so we're seeing her go through the process and make the decisions, but the older characters in this story (her parents, for example) have a past to reckon with as well, and I love the myriad of ways that their lives have resolved. They didn't all do the right thing, and they didn't all end up happy.

This is a story about love, but it's a story about all the things that either get in the way of love or that need to happen in order to strengthen that love, because as we all know, life isn't a fairy tale where the hero and heroine fall in love at first sight are perfect together forever. They both need to grow, they both need to make hard decisions, and they both need to make sure that that love is actually what's best for them. And I LOVE that that's the direction this story took.

So yeah, here's another book with JEA doing what she does best, and after eight books, I'm still not tired of it because it feels fresh every time. Some of her books are more standout to me than others (we all have our favorites, right?), but it's a unique experience every time, and that's why it is such a pleasure to be one of her bloggers and fans.