Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

ARC Review: Tell Me When by Stina Lindenblatt

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Tell Me When
   by: Stina Lindenblatt

Publication Date: Jan. 20, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by InkSlingerPR in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 273 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Amber Scott should be enjoying life as a college freshman. She should be pursuing her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She should be working hard to make sense of her precalculus math class.

She shouldn’t be waking up her college roommate with screaming nightmares. She shouldn’t be flashing back, reliving the three weeks of hell she barely survived last year. And she definitely shouldn’t be spending time with sexy player Marcus Reid.

But engineering student Marcus is the only one keeping Amber from failing her math course, so she grudgingly lets him into her life. She never expects the king of hookups will share his painful past. Or that she’ll tell him her secrets in return, opening up and trusting him in a way she thought she’d never be able to again.

When their fragile future together is threatened by a stalker Amber thought was locked away for good, Marcus is determined to protect her. And Amber is determined to protect Marcus…even if that means pushing him away.

I've heard a lot of really positive buzz surrounding this book, so naturally I jumped at the chance to review it. I knew after reading the synopsis that this would be an emotional book with two very broken characters. I also like that the synopsis hinted at some suspense and intrigue!
We get both Amber and Marcus's POV's, which I am always fan of, as it always helps me connect with the characters on a deeper level. Both Amber and Marcus have painful pasts that still haunt them and in Amber's case especially, affects her daily life.
We have your classic case of bad boy player meets sweet, nice girl who ends up wanting to be the guy she needs in her life and changing his player ways in order to do so. As tried and true as this particular storyline is lately in NA, I found it did not bother me once I found out Marcus's reasons for being this way. It is quite heartbreaking and I can see why Marcus would use sex as an outlet, especially having been dealt the hand he was at way too young of an age. Having run into Amber a few times, he is interested in making the beautiful blonde his next conquest. However, unlike most girls, Amber doesn't fall at his feet and into his bed. She rebuffs him at every opportunity and even accuses him of stalking her. However, after failing Math, she has no choice but to ask the engineer major to tutor her. Tutoring becomes more than just tutoring and soon Amber finds herself asking Marcus to be her fake boyfriend so that she can go out with her persistent friend Jordan.
Because of what happened in her past, the last thing Amber needs is unwanted male attention. Marcus is a good buffer and even though he doesn't know her history, he knows something bad has happened to her and he finds himself wanting to step in to play the role of protector. He is kind to her and assures her she is safe with him. She is the first girl he's even considered more with, but feels unworthy of her. He doesn't think he is capable of being the right guy for her and I hate that he has let his own past screw with his head so much.
Amber has undergone things that no person should ever have to face and it's disgusting how one person has managed to take away so much from her at such a young age. Amber knows loss better than anyone and has never opened up and talked about what happened before. She doesn't want the pity or attention. She just wants to go to school and become a veterinarian like she's always wanted. However, Amber suffers from PTSD and is still tormented by nightmares, as well as flashbacks of what happened. Her nightmares disrupt her roommate and causes undesirable tension between them and her flashbacks occur at any time of day. They are triggered by external forces and there's no stopping them. Sometimes Amber is able to come out of them and act like nothing is wrong, but there are other times where she is literally curled up in the fetal position still fighting and trying to keep her demons at bay.
Marcus ends up being the person to get through to her and after sharing his past with her and realizing the two have some common ground (having both lost people they loved dearly), ends up opening up to him and telling him the sordid details of her own. Marcus still has his doubts of whether or not he's good enough for her, but wants to take a chance and start a real relationship with her. They both still live with the horrors of their past, but are stronger together. However, there are forces that want to keep them apart and will go to extremely drastic measures to do so, leaving Amber questioning if she can really subject Marcus to her past catching up with her and hurting him.
While the story is a heavier one, there are a lot of really great moments between not only Amber and Marcus, but also with their best friends Jordan and Chase. They are both great friends to the two and even though Jordan has a boyfriend, I found myself wishing that Stina would write a companion novel with her as the lead. I personally felt there was more than friendship between Chase and Jordan and I wouldn't mind a book about them!
Marcus and Amber's families do play an influential role in their story. Amber's mother is having a hard time dealing with her own grief and instead of being a loving, nurturing parent to her, she ends up coming across as cold and unfeeling- drowning her sorrows in alcohol. Amber's grandmother is the one who steps in for Amber's mom and I'm really glad she had her to lean on and take care of her cat (who has special meaning to Amber). Marcus on the other hand, really has no one to call his family. His mother has made it clear she chooses his worthless step-father Frank over him. Marcus volunteers at a youth center and has formed an attachment to a few of the troubled kids that spend time there, especially one named Alejandro. Alejandro is a good kid who Marcus fears has gotten in with the wrong crowd. Marcus's former neighborhood is a tough one and with gang activity being as prominent as it is, he has afraid Alejandro has been recruited. I definitely did not expect Alejandro's story to go in the direction that it did and I felt my heart splinter into pieces for Marcus at the revelations that were brought to light concerning his past.
There are a few other notable characters, Emma and Tammara. Emma was Amber's former best friend and hasn't been able to mend fences with her after what happened. She goes out of her way to avoid her and when they do run into each other, Emma is hurt and even angry. Tammara is one of Marcus's hookups who doesn't seem to get the hint that they will never have anything more than just sex. She is manipulative and catty and the lengths she goes to in order to keep Marcus are insane. This girl needs to be dealt with and I hope Marcus and Amber make the right decision regarding her future.
Overall, I really enjoyed the emotional depth to this one, as well as the suspense and mystery that surrounded it. Some things were quite typical of New Adult, but I thought Lindenblatt wrote her story well and I thought she did a good job with her characterization.

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  1. Fab review, Jessica! This sounds similar to Wait For You which I loved so I'll need to check this out! It sounds quite a bit darker than JLA's book so you've really piqued my interest! It's hard to pack a lot of emotion into a book that's under 300 pages so it's great news that it worked out well :D

    1. Thanks Rebekah! I agree- it was a little similar to Wait For You and like you I loved that one too! Yes! It can be difficult to really pack the emotional punch in shorter books so when it is well done I am always happy!

  2. "This book sounds super good. Just reading your review, I want to go read it right now! haha. I do think the reformed bad boy is getting a little old but it sounds like it's okay in this one.

    1. This one was definitely a surprise for me! I didn't think it would be as good as it was! I am glad I ended up getting it for review!

  3. Hmmm something about this intrigues me! It sounds similar to Wait For You and another one, was it a Genna Rulon one? I get mixed up but not a bad thing, Great review. Defo will keep an eye out on amazon for this! x

    1. Yes! I think it is a bit similar to one of Genna's books. This one definitely was a pleasant surprise for me. I am glad I read it!


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