From New York Times bestselling author J.C. Cervantes comes a sparkling, unforgettable YA romance, perfect for fans of You’ve Reached Sam.
Best friends and soul mates since they were kids, Hart Augusto and Ruby Armenta were poised to take on senior year together when Hart tragically drowns in a boating accident. Absolutely shattered, Ruby struggles to move on from the person she knows was her forever love.
Hart can’t let go of Ruby either…. Due to some divine intervention, he’s offered a second chance. Only it won’t be as simple as bringing him back to life–instead, Hart’s soul is transferred to the body of local bad boy.
When Hart returns to town as Jameson, he realizes that winning Ruby back will be more challenging than he’d imagined. For one, he’s forbidden from telling Ruby the truth. And with each day he spends as Jameson, memories of his life as Hart begin to fade away.
Though Ruby still mourns Hart, she can’t deny that something is drawing her to Jameson. As much as she doesn’t understand the sudden pull, it can’t be ignored. And why does he remind her so much of Hart? Desperate to see if the connection she feels is real, Ruby begins to open her heart to Jameson–but will their love be enough to bridge the distance between them?
Bring your tissues because Always Isn’t Forever will tug at your heartstrings while you’re screaming at yourself to not let your heart beat with hope for Ruby and Hart. Reminiscent of You’ve Reached Sam, an unexpected early death throws a wrench in their plans for their forever future, but these two lovebirds find a way to connect with each other again even after death. Except Hart can’t tell Ruby he doesn’t appear as he used to! I loved the dual POV that gave insight into their love that defies the passing of time and their age. Their journey for even one more moment together had me hogging the tissues in a corner as I gobbled their story in one sitting. 100% worth the read!
**Always Isn’t Forever comes out June 6, 2023**
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for this copy in exchange for an honest review
It’s not a joke when the synopsis compares Always Isn’t Forever to You’ve Reached Sam. The cover gives even the same vibes. But where You’ve Reached Sam hit a little bit of a roadblock for me, this book blew past my expectations and opened my heart (and the floodgates) to Ruby and Hart’s story.
I’m a sucker for romances that hit you deep in the heart and this one is no exception. For a story about death and getting a divine second chance to potentially reconnect, whether you love the book or not hinges on how well you love the two protagonists. I’d say I’m sometimes pretty jaded when it comes to romance stories – I’ve definitely read a lot – but these two teenagers had such a woven and realistic story of love from childhood friends to something more.
The dual POV from Hart (in Jameson’s body) and Ruby gave so much insight to who they each were, but also who the other meant to them. Hart was a songwriter, and his soul was entwined with music and melody that dreamt of their love. While his memories were slowly disappearing, he held on desperately for his memory of Ruby and the music he was in the midst of writing for her at the time of his death. Ruby, on the other hand, loved the water, practically lived in it. After Hart’s drowning, she had to reconcile her love for the water and its hand in taking away the only boy she ever loved.
My heart is still beating rapidly just thinking of their story. The prose and flow had everything to do with it too. Cervantes carved their love story through quick chapters, little memories engraved in their souls, and raw emotions that aren’t always easy to deal with in the face of goodbyes.
If there’s one thing that both Hart and Ruby learned, it was this quote. Oh, my poor heart suffered with Hart as he desperately tried to tell the people he loved, especially Ruby, that he was back. But regardless if she didn’t fully know who he was inside a new body, he knew. And love doesn’t require more than one heart.
Aside from these two whom I fell in love with, there were a few secondary characters making an impact. Ruby’s sister, Gabi, is exactly what I would want in a sister if I were to have one. She pushed Ruby when others may have given up when she went into a sad spiral. They bickered and they disagreed on things but you can tell love was the underlying motive for everything Gabi did for Ruby. And on Hart’s side, let’s just say there’s a fun divine being he befriends who ended up being a nice, more lighthearted character to throw into their mix.
Who surprised me most was Jameson. We can’t forget the boy whose body Hart took. This is NOT like The Host (aka my favourite book ever) where two souls vie for one body. The divine rules for body recycling is interesting, but a body can hold memories so getting to know pieces of Jameson was also amazing. Cervantes has a way of making each character feel real with their emotions and how they grapple with things like grief and guilt and joy.
All this to say, Always Isn’t Forever blew past my expectations. Did I think I would cry? Yes. Did I actually cry? 100 times yes. But it held such a good balance of hope, love, and grief that I could only ever hope to find in a book. If you liked You’ve Reached Sam, I’d say you’d LOVE this one.