Never say never people, because after reading 'Being Julia' and a snippet of 'Lie Next to me', I could become a Sandi Lynn fan. It is tentative but possible :)
This book was mostly what I expected and it was tastefully done. There was the right amount of drama, comedy and life changes. The right scenes to highlight important moments were chosen. By the end, I find that I would have preferred a novel for Julia, because I loved her story and I wanted the opportunity to know Jake better. I feel a better connection with him than I do Connor.
I love the relationship between Julia and Collin, especially with she being the eldest and female. It doesn't matter for these two and I like that he went to his sister for advice and provided a shoulder when she need one. I wished London could have stayed to be Julia's Peyton, but I think it also helped transition Julia from teenager to young adult.
Her interactions with different family members and friends gave us updates on all the characters we loved from the 'Forever Black' series. It even allowed us that precursor for the next novel in the series, without making it as blatant as past novels.
Yes, It is 23 years later, but every one seems to be alive and some holding on by a thread to see the Black family conquer the barriers life throw their way.
Julia and Collin find their own path and we see both of them lose their virginity and the events after. Collin is currently sweet, loving, caring and quite the opposite of Connor Black when we first met him. I can't wait to see where it all went wrong for him. Julia matured from a materialistic, hormonal teenager in love to a wife. She was witty, funny and fierce, which I find important if you are the child of Ellery and Connor Black.
Recollections of Ellery and Connor's life together was done tastefully and at just the right moments. I was surprisedto see Ellery and Connor handle the issues of a teenager with such finesse, as oppose to their chaotic beginnings when Julia was a baby. The man still has anger issues and I am surprised he still has a liver.
There is growth and progress in this series with the introduction of this novella. It's more than just the kids growing up, as we get to see Julia at some of the most important stages in a girl's life. Sixteen and hormonal; eighteen and going off to college; getting married and having kids in your twenties.
The development and progression was timed and even though we still lacked a proper sense of time, I didn't mind. I enjoyed spending time with the Black/Jensen clan and I couldn't have asked for a better representation of Julia. All I wanted, was a full novel to experience life with this crazy, fierce girl that we got to see from birth to motherhood.