Review: The Boy & His Ribbon by Pepper Winters

THE BOY AND HIS RIBBON
Genre: Coming of Age, Romance, Contemporary
Series: The Ribbon Duet #1
Author: Pepper Winters
Release Date: April 1, 2018

“What do you do when you meet your soul mate? No wait…that’s too easy. What do you do when you meet your soul mate and have to spend a lifetime loving him in secret?
I’ll tell you what you do.
You lie.”

REN

Ren was eight when he learned that love doesn’t exist—that the one person who was supposed to adore him only cared how much he was worth.
His mother sold him and for two years, he lived in terror.
But then…he ran.
He thought he’d run on his own. Turned out, he took something of theirs by accident and it became the one thing he never wanted and the only thing he ever needed.

DELLA

I was young when I fell in love with him, when he switched from my world to my everything.
My parents bought him for cheap labour, just like they had with many other kids, and he had the scars to prove it.
At the start, he hated me, and I could understand why.
For years he was my worst enemy, fiercest protector, and dearest friend.
But by the end…he loved me.
The only problem was, he loved me in an entirely different way to the way I loved him.
And slowly, my secret drove us apart.

AMAZON

He touched you deeper than any hand could reach. He affected you harder than any spoken word ever could.
He cared with his entire soul and committed with entire being.

Before I get into all the fantastic things about this book, I want to address the one negative piece. I’d like to get it out of the way with, because if I’m being perfectly honest, something that I thought could ruin the story for me actually ended up being nothing but a minor annoyance in the grand scheme of things. So confession time. I actually DNFd this book originally. Twice. Now, now, stow away those pitch forks and tomatoes and allow me to explain. See originally, I stopped reading at 20%. I felt compelled to push myself and ended up getting to 37%, only to stop again. As beautifully lyrical as the writing was and as unique as the story itself was, the amount of detail and the somewhat verbose nature of the first half of this book was difficult for this picky reader to get past. The story follows the main characters over the span of 18 years. And the reader is privy to every minute detail of their life. While it sets the stage and truly allows you to get to the heart of who these characters are, for this reader that has a penchant for instant gratification, it was a struggle. So what I’m telling you is, it’s definitely a me thing. If this level of detail and description doesn’t bother you, you won’t bat an eyelash at this. But for me, I felt like a good 20% of the overall book could have been trimmed and not lost anything in the process. But again, that’s a ME thing.

So getting to the good. For the first time in all of my reading history, I felt compelled to finish. There was just something so unique and gripping about this story, that I simply couldn’t bear not knowing how it all comes together. And I have never been more grateful for pushing myself through. Because that final 60%? It turned everything around. It made me fall in love with this captivating, emotional, and unforgettable story. It made me connect with this wonderfully unique, multi-layered characters. It had me eager to reveal layer after layer of detail that the story offered. And it had me riveted to the pages from that point on.

I was never lacking for love. I never felt unwanted or hurt or scared. He was my entire universe, and he treated me like I was his in return.

The author warned that this is completely different from her usual dark romance. And it totally was. Though I will say, it did have that touch of the signature dark undercurrent that Winters carries in her writing style.

You get introduced to the main characters as just children. With the heroine being just a baby at one years old, and the hero being a mere boy of ten. It takes them on an unforgettable journey of struggle and nightmares, wrapped in a unique sort of bond that ultimately shifts into a love unlike any other. Over the course of the next eighteen years, you get a peek inside adult Della’s head through a letter that she pens for her school. You get glimpses of how she saw their truth and the life they led. And you see a child’s bond that slowly, naturally, and surely begins to morph into a woman’s adoration and love.

I will always love you, Della Ribbon. Until the day I die and even past that.

This is not a romance, though it carries undercurrents of one. This is the set up of what’s truly looking to be one epic romance in the second part of the duet. But what this book does is set that stage. It builds the blocks of the foundation that their feelings are based one. It takes you into the dark underbelly of the horrors that these characters survived and came out stronger from. It spares no detail. It leaves no stone unturned. And it’s not afraid to give the gritty, emotional, and painful detail of the mistakes that both Della and Ren make along the way.

If you’re looking for something different, unique and compelling, this book is certainly that. Will I be reading the next one? Absolutely! And if you’re anything like me, don’t judge it but the somewhat slower pace of the beginning. Because the hook of this unique story is so unsuspecting, you’ll never see it coming. And before you know it, you’re glued to your kindle, incapable of setting it down until the very last page.

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