Sunday, October 16, 2016

She Runs Away (Sheridan Hall #2)

27150209After tragedy strikes New Jersey University's Sheridan Hall, freshman quarterback Ben Riley’s stable, normal life is turned upside down. Sidelined from playing the game he loves and on the verge of losing his scholarship, Ben wants nothing more than to escape the chaos of college and return home to rural Pennsylvania and his family.

Yet, there is something that keeps him from running. Or someone. A cute blonde he had a chance with but blew off for all the wrong reasons.

Megan Smith has secrets. Secrets that have burned her in the past. Secrets she’s unwilling to share with anyone at Sheridan Hall—especially Ben, her sexy, rough around the edges floormate who broke her heart in a matter of days after moving into Sheridan. Meg decided early on that it’s easier to live life on her own than to share her secrets and let people in.

Meg runs and Ben follows, but sooner or later the clock on their chance at love will expire. With inner demons dragging them both down, they must find a way to stop running and trust one another, or risk losing their perfectly-matched love forever.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Jessica Calla shares a contemporary college-aged romance with readers in She Runs Away, the second book in the Sheridan Hall series. I haven't read the first installment, but from the details of book two it seems that there was a shooting in a dorm at NJU and Frank, a friend of many, was killed and Ben was shot in the shoulder. This book takes place a few months later, when the students of Sheridan Hall are trying to rebuild their lives. 

Megan and Ben are the main characters of this book and share the title of first-person narrator. As they switch back and forth, readers get an inside look at what each character is thinking and feeling. 

Megan has liked Ben since she met him, but he broke her trust instantly when he dumped Megan on their first date. When Ben comes up with a sex contract, Meg believes that she can have physical intimacy without putting her heart at risk again. Of course... she is terribly mistaken. Megan's life shifts into chaotic mode when Ben starts wanting more than just sex and her presumably dead mother turns out to be alive which means her father has been lying to her. Readers will connect with Megan on her uncertainty and hesitant nature, but even readers will get a little tired of her running away all the time. Megan needs to take a chance on life, and readers will hope she can get there before it's too late. As readers watch Megan grow and open herself up, it's amazing how the negative aspects in her life seem to want to work themselves out. It's also great to witness a girl who feels so alone be supported by so many people. 

Ben is the protector of Sheridan Hall. He's seen as a hero since the shooting, but that doesn't make him feel like one. Ben wants to keep everyone safe because he blames himself for Frank's death. He especially wants to keep Megan safe and take back everything that happened on their first date - specifically the part where he blew it. Ben is a nice guy who people can depend on and trust. He's always worried about others and wondering what he could do to help. However, putting that much focus on other people has caused him to slide into a bit of a depression. He doesn't know what to do about football, he grows a beard so he can hide behind it, and he feels like giving up and going home. But then there's Megan, giving him a reason to keep trying as he tries to gain back her trust and earn her love. She makes him incredibly happy and it's enjoyable to read their battles and banter. Readers will emotionally connect with Ben based on his history with the shooting, but they'll also see that he's a kind-hearted man who is in need of some guidance. 

The plot of She Runs Away is focused on Megan and Ben's relationship. However, there are a few side plots that also move the story forward. Other character relationships show up and bring a little drama with them, like Juliet and Chase who are the main lovebirds of the basement dorms in Sheridan, and the break-up between Winston and Mags. There's also a very interesting storyline with Megan's dad who was a Pro-football player. Though, the main suspense includes Megan's mother who suddenly shows up in Megan's life. Megan's dad tells her to stay away because her mother's a bad person, but Megan is willing to take that chance. She Runs Away is a book about healing and opening up. It does have quite a bit of cursing and sex, but I think it works well for the college aged characters. 

The ending also has a little hint of something coming next... perhaps a third installment with Maggie as the main character?

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

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