Tuesday 18 March 2014

Blog Tour - Reclaiming the Sand by A Meredith Walters

 Title: Reclaiming the Sand
Author: A Meredith Walters
Release Date: March 17, 2014

Bully and victim.
Tormenter and tormented.
Villain and hero.

Ellie McCallum was a bully. No connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable.

Particularly Freaky Flynn.

Flynn Hendrick lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger's. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down.

But then Flynn and Ellie grew up.

And moved on.

Until years later when their paths unexpectedly cross again and the bully and the freak are face to face once more.

When labels come to define you, finding yourself feels impossible. Particularly for two people disconnected from the world who inexplicably find a connection in each other.

And out of the wreckage of their tragic beginnings, an unlikely love story unfolds.

But a painful past doesn’t always want to let go. And old wounds are never truly healed…and sometimes the further you try to run from yourself the closer you come to who you really are.


*****5 Frustratingly Beautiful Devastatingly Inspirational Stars*****
As soon I saw Meredith Walters had a new book coming out, I jumped at the chance to read it. If you are like myself and fell in love with this author’s writing in the Find You in the Dark series, then be prepared, the ride she takes you on in Reclaiming the Sand does not even compare. Where Maggie + Clay’s story had it’s ups and downs, the emotions were split pretty evenly. You either felt high in love for those two or low in despair. Yet, Ellie and Flynn’s story will captivate you, plucking every heart string until you feel like you can’t take anymore. Advice allow the emotions to wash over you.

This story is unlike any other I have read. You as the reader become broken down as the characters, and progressively over the course of the story Ms. Walters, offer you bits of glue to piece your heart back together.  Reclaiming The Sand revolves around two individuals completely vulnerable to the cruelties of bullying. While the synopsis may state bully and victim, I will not discredit the fact that poor beautiful pure Flynn is without a doubt the victim. I would argue the line of defining Ellie as a bully becomes blurred, as you gain more of an insight into this lost broken girl’s past. Following unfortunate events, these are separated until six years later fate brings them back together.
From the get go, Ellie will not make a fan of you. She is one helluva complex character. She’s bitchy and a pushover but she is also determined to make something of herself and is loyal. Her backdrop is tragic, foster home to foster home and none taught her what it was like to be loved. As a result she became this closed off, insensitive, bitter girl. A girl who caved under peer pressure in high school, joining in the torment of Flynn with her friends. Reading about the bullying Flynn struggled with broke my heart. Bullying is a serious problem plaguing our society, no age group is exempt from it, however a very popular act practiced in the younger school system. Meredith Walters does an exceptional job highlighting this matter. In no shape or form does this story portray bullying as acceptable, rather Ms. Walters exposes the real, raw, ugly and tragic surrounding bullying. Flynn or as he is referred to as “Freaky Flynn” has Asperger's; leaving him at a disadvantage over the others in his class for he doesn’t recognize nor express emotions like others.
Majority of the story is told from Ellie’s POV, but we also get some flashbacks from high school told from Flynn’s POV. When Ellie recants high school it’s frustrating, my blood pressure spikes yet at the same time you can tell how torn this girl is; her and Flynn have a friendship hidden from the rest of the school. Where she longs for a relationship with a parent like Flynn has with his mother, she can’t fathom how it would feel. This makes her green with envy and she retreats back to the thrill she feels when putting Flynn down with her friends. On the other hand, flashbacks described by Flynn had me ready to put my boxing gloves on to shield him from the cruelty he endured and also had me reaching for my tissues to tend to my sniffles L Needless to say I had to push through the first 25% of the book because I wanted to throw my kindle and slap Ellie and her despicable acquaintances she refers to as “friends”.
Then like a ray of sunshine beaming through the rain clouds, we start to see glimpses of both a shiny new Ellie and Flynn. A skittish boy who always kept his head down, avoided eye contact and threw tantrums at a drop of a feather, now has grown into a man who displays a greater sense of self control and confidence. Similarly, a girl who strived off other’s humiliation now offered her voice and started to stand up for Flynn. It was still hard to fully respect Ellie when she continued to associate herself with the likes of Stu, the hot headed prick, Reggie, the skank without brain cells, Shane, the perverted walking STD and last but not least Dania, the best friend who shared a foster home with Ellie. Dania is the secondary character you don’t have to waste an ounce of energy thinking about disliking. It is just as simple as reading, it comes naturally. Just when your pom poms are on ready to cheer on the progression Ellie is making with her life, she is suckered into tending to Dania. Of course I have a heart but I could not bring myself to show any compassion towards this chick, she is a virus always looking for antibodies to breakdown or in this case, any opportunity to control Ellie. Granted the events Dania faces in this story are devastating but self-inflicted thus could have been avoided.
When you want to be disappointed in Ellie for always catering to Dania, you can’t help but 1. Give some credit to the loyalty Ellie shows and 2. Admire how level headed (for the most part) Ellie is able to maintain considering all the obstacles she battles. Ellie doesn’t manage this herself though, thankfully, our hero Flynn, without intent continues to influence Ellie to become a better person.
Reclaiming The Sand
Flynn Hendrick is not your typical hero and he shouldn’t be because he is the epitome of something special; he is an inspiration. This is a man who has battled bullying, misunderstanding and staring throughout his life. A man who shouldn’t understand love nor desire affection, yet communicates his feelings and forgiveness. Even after finishing this book I remain in a constant state of awe and confusion. How does a man so wronged in his life by the common denominator = Ellie, look past all the ache and pain…… How does a girl who's incapable of empathizing and fearful of love, both take an enormous chance on one another.  Go on the journey with them, the growth these two characters portray is devastatingly inspirational. You won’t just read this story, you will feel every emotion the characters experience.
This is definitely not my best review as I am still in a haze from reading this book. I am frustrated yet my heart is swelling to the brink. I am broken yet feel a sense of hope. This is a story that will stick with you long after you read it. Ms. Walters continues to make a fan girl out of me. She has the ability to not only captivate you with her words but her characters leave their mark on your heart and mind!

~ Review by Tori


The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary and Paranormal romance including The Find You in the Dark and Bad Rep series as well as the upcoming stand alone romance, Reclaiming the Sand, and a dark new adult series for Gallery Books.

A. Meredith spent ten years as a counselor for at risk teens and children. First working at a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program and then later a program for children with severe emotional and mental health issues. Her former clients and their stories continue to influence every aspect of her writing.

When not writing (or being tortured with all manner of beauty products at the hand of her very imaginative and extremely girly daughter), she is eating chocolate, watching reality television that could rot your brain and reading a smutty novel or two.

A. Meredith is represented by Michelle Johnson with the Inklings Literary Agency.


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