Always by Sarah Jio
Genre: Women’s Fiction
I’ve read and enjoyed several books by Sarah Jio before, so I was excited when I saw she was releasing a book this month. Her books are always fairly light and quick, and they’re great after reading heavier things as a way to relax a little. That said, I didn’t find this as enjoyable as I’d hoped, and I ended up giving it three stars.
Always is the story of Kailey Crane and Cade McAllister, sort of. It switches between their time together in the 90s and her life today, where she’s engaged to a man named Ryan and where Cade, it turns out, is homeless and can’t remember who he is. This seems like an interesting plot element, and it is, but it’s not as exciting as you’d hope. I think this is in part because we get bogged down with Cade and Kailey’s unnecessary backstory.
Throughout the book, I sort of skimmed through the sections that happened in the past. Normally, in a split timeframe book, those parts are my favorite, as I love seeing how the past and present intersect. In this book, though, I found the sections in the past to be boring. It would have been just as easy to insert a paragraph talking about how they were in a relationship, and then Cade had some kind of breakdown and disappeared. It just didn’t add much to the book to continue switching between the past and the much more interesting present.
I really enjoyed the parts of the book set more recently. I liked seeing that Kailey stuck to her values and beliefs to help Cade, regardless of how it might affect her relationship with Ryan. I liked the suspense of wondering whether Cade would regain his memory, and if so, would we ever find out what caused his memory loss to begin with. These bits were interesting and enjoyable, and they reminded me why I liked Sarah Jio in the first place. I just wish she’d stuck with the more compelling story and ignored the parts that didn’t matter.
Always is a light, quick read, and I did enjoy it, even with its faults. If you’re looking for something like this, go ahead and give it a try, and don’t feel too bad if you skim through the less exciting parts. If that would seriously detract from your enjoyment, though, I’d skip this one. I gave it three stars.
*ARC from Ballantine Books via NetGalley