The Past Crashes with the Present

Always: A Novel - Sarah Jio

Imagine: You are on a date with your fiance' at a fine restaurant when you exit you see your first love outside, the one who disappeared years earlier with no word. He's homeless, thin, dressed in rags and doesn't seem to know you. What would go through your head ? What a horrendous thing to even imagine right ? Well this is just the tip of the giant iceberg. The troubles go so much deeper and more complicated. The ties to the past are strong but the present is perfect.
The story was so well written I felt like a fly on the wall of these relationships. The old and the new crashing together, was heartbreaking, no matter what someone was going to hurt. Kailey, is living the dream, a wonderful loving fiance', good friends, great job and her wedding just around the corner. Ryan, the successful steady man who loves her, and is to be her husband in days . Cade, the man who was her first love, who was creative and lived life to the fullest, now an empty broken shell, that may never return to himself. Kailey, could not turn her back on Cade, she must try to save him as he once saved her. Heartbreaking, and beautiful.
Mental illness, brain damage, the homeless plight and people responses to the homeless are all represented here. There was some social awareness in bits throughout the story but never overdone to take me out of the drama.
This was my first Jio book and it will not be my last. I enjoyed the character centered story and loved how they were developed. I felt like I was there, like I knew them.