A year spent getting her life together. No more crazy parents looking over her shoulder, no more self-destructive behavior or secrets. Now, she and Ben share everything— including a tiny apartment, and a beautiful love.
Since he met Quinn, Ben’s life has been full of change. After finally standing up to his mom, he’s cut ties with his family and moved across the country with the only girl he’s ever wanted. But there’s something to be said for feeling needed, and he’s not sure that he is anymore.
When Quinn’s accepted into a month long culinary program in Italy, she’s ecstatic. But while she’s in a gorgeous country learning gnocchi and pesto, Ben’s blowing off her calls and pulling back.
But someone from Ben’s past walks back into his life, and he finally feels like he has a purpose again. Someone to take care of… Someone to save.
When Quinn returns, and the who’s and why’s of Ben’s behavior are revealed, how does she have any choice but to walk away from the only guy she’s ever loved?
And how can Ben ever learn to let her go?
In this follow-up to the 2011 release, GROUNDING QUINN, love and loss take on new meanings when roles are reversed, and the lengths that we go to to protect our hearts are challenged in new ways.
I’ve read all of Steph Campbell’s books, as well as most books I see her recommend. She captures the New Adult genre perfectly, and can write dysfunction and angst and troubles in love for young 20somethings. When we first meet Ben and Quinn, it’s in Grounding Quinn. As you can assume from the title, Quinn, a high school senior at the time, is a mess. It’s not until she meets Ben, and their relationship is tested time and time again, that she becomes even remotely “grounded.”
In Beautiful Things Never Last, a year has passed, and Ben and Quinn have followed their dreams out to California. Leaving Georgia meant leaving their families behind, both of which were less than thrilled about their relationship with one another and their career choice. That doesn’t matter, though. They have each other – Ben has his budding photography career, and Quinn’s excelling at culinary school – what else could they need? When Quinn gets a great opportunity to study in Italy for a month, suddenly the dynamic shifts for Ben and Quinn…add to that, the fact that Ben’s ex-girlfriend is suddenly calling all the time, and there’s plenty of drama, misunderstandings and secrets.
I love Ben. I loved him so much in Grounding Quinn, and my love for him grew in this second book – but this time, rather than Quinn pissing me off, that was up to Ben. I understood his caretaker nature, and his desire to have Quinn still need him, all while Caroline “Linney” was needing him, as well; however, he was making all kinds of bone-head decisions. First off, omission. It’s a bad idea. Always. He didn’t give Quinn enough credit to NOT freak out over Caroline needing him, and in doing so, he basically lied and ignored her for almost the entire month she was away.
I was proud of Quinn for NOT having the freak-out that she was known for before. I guess a year does change things, and she is certainly more confident in herself and her strength. That being said, I appreciated the fact that she made Ben work for it. She felt betrayed, and she stood her ground. I loved that about her. I think it would’ve been easy for her to just say “okay, you’re forgiven” because she finally found someone that “got” her and she didn’t want to be alone; rather, she made sure that she let him know that she was strong, and hurt and could survive without him — but more importantly, she didn’t want to. She wanted a life with Ben, as long as he didn’t screw it up.
The drama wasn’t quite as intense as I thought it would be, but that’s fine. The writing was great, and I loved seeing the evolution of the relationships – and that includes Quinn’s brother, Carter and his girlfriend, Shayna. Shayna could be so ridiculous, but I can’t fault her for how she supported both Ben and Quinn and helped them both see their mistakes. As for the other supporting characters, anytime Ben’s mother came into play, I wanted to punch her in the jaw. Ick. And Caroline – well she just can’t get over the past – or take a hint, obviously.
This story is great for lovers of New Adult romance, but make sure to read Grounding Quinn first, so you can see how Ben and Quinn became Ben and Quinn. And while you’re at it, there’s a spin off of Quinn’s best friend, Sydney, and that story is awesome, as well. I can’t wait to see what Steph gives us next! She captures perfectly problems that many young couples face, with a wonderful side of romance, but plenty of realistic angst!