Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.
Cade…oh boy, I didn’t realize that he was so swoon worthy! He is tall, with dark hair, and eyes, a muscular body, and looks like he stepped out of a GAP add. Cade is smart, and witty, he has a great personality appears to be perfect.
“You’re Golden Boy. You’re good at everything. You’re sweet, gorgeous, and probably stop to help little old ladies cross the street.”
“You’re wrong. You couldn’t ruin me, because everything about you makes me better. You make me take chances and make bolder choices. You make me less concerned with being perfect and more concerned with being real. You make me want to be fearless.”
Max comes from a wealthy conservative family that has high expectations of their daughter, and who have all been affected by a family tragedy that leaves them with broken relationships. Max is desperate to forge her own way as a musician, rather then following the path that her parent’s desire, but she cant come clean and risk losing the financial support that they provide to her. Unbeknown to her family, she is covered in tattoos, has brightly colored hair, and works at a tattoo parlor and as a go go dancer at a club.
“Max was honest. Unafraid. She was so comfortable in her skin. And it was sexy as hell.”
“You are the most vibrant, beautiful thing I have ever seen.”
So when Max’s parents unexpectedly pop into town for Thanksgiving and she has only minutes to prepare, she must come up with the boyfriend that they have heard about. In a moment of desperation, she begs the handsome “golden boy”, sitting alone in the coffee shop, to pretend to be her boyfriend. Lucky for Max, she has stumbled upon Cade, who is an actor, and who is intrigued by her feisty beauty. Max and Cade connect, by all accounts, they are opposites, but they make each other feel alive and happy. Max struggles to accept that what started out as fake, could actually be real. She feels that she doesn’t deserve such a great guy, and she sabotages the relationship leaving Cade once again heart broken. These two eventually find their way back to one another, and Cade helps her and her family to finally accept who she is.
“Max swept into my life like a hurricane, and I never stood a chance.”
“I’ll remind you every day how amazing it feels when your body touches mine. I’ll remind you of the good times, and help you forget the bad. I’ll remind you who you are when life has beaten you down and made you doubt it. I’ll bust down your door in the middle of the night and kiss you until you remember that your fears are just that, and they cant control you. I’ll take my chances against your fickle heart if it means it’s mine.”
This book deals with heavier issues; it’s really about self-acceptance, about embracing who you are and not hiding your true self. There is heart brake, and tragedy, and doubt, and conflict, and at times I wanted to strangle Max for being so dense. In the end it all works out for Cade and Max. I was so happy with this story; Cora infused a dose of reality into the personalities of her characters. They had issues and they had baggage, but it was on a very relatable level. They were struggling with the realities of life that everyone is faced with…death, broken hearts, family dynamics, and the fear of being who they were.
“Oh, come on. It’s an act, a crutch, a mask, take your pick. I project fearless, and you project perfection. It doesn’t mean either of us actually are those things.”
Keeping It is kicked up a few notches from Losing It, Cora dove deeper and got a little dirtier with the second installment of her series. It was a fantastic coming of age story with depth and emotion. If you have not yet read this series, then you are missing out.