Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting

By 11:48 AM , , , , ,

Clipped Wings (Clipped Wings #1)
   by: Helena Hunting

Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 400 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars

An emotional love story that follows the touch-and-go relationship of Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.

As Hayden and Tenley navigate their newfound but slightly unstable relationship, they want to trust each other, but Hayden is hiding a dark and shameful past that he doesn't ever want Tenley to find out about. And Tenley has secrets of her own that could make Hayden run away forever. When Tenley asks Hayden to put a beautifully elaborate tattoo across her back, the two form what they thought was an unshakeable bond. But when Tenley's past shows up on her doorstep, will Hayden stand by her side...or run?

I decided to read Cupcakes and Ink, the prequel novella to Clipped Wings first and while it was not necessary to understand the latter, I'm glad I did because it really set the stage and gave me an idea of who these characters are and their initial thoughts of one another.
I will say this: these books pack an emotional punch. Lately, I have tended to stay away from those really heavy reads, but I could not pass this one up and I'm glad I didn't! It is a slower developing/ slower paced novel, so I will make that known first. That did not detract from my reading experience, though. If anything, I don't think Hunting could have accelerated those things without taking away from the story overall.
Tenley and Hayden are such beautifully broken characters and my heart absolutely ached for the both of them. They have known pain, suffering, and loss in their lives and are now slowly trying to move past that which has kept them shattered and broken for so long. They are drawn to one another, but don't jump right into anything. Both are interested, but Tenley's past is more recent than Hayden's, so she is more withdrawn and skittish than him.
I can't even imagine what Tenley's life must be like carrying both the physical and emotional scars she does from her past. She has moved to Chicago to escape the reminders and the crushing weight the past holds. She moves into an apartment that is across the street from Inked Armor, a tattoo parlor where a beautiful, dark-haired man works. He represents freedom by not conforming to society's norms, but rather expresses his individuality through his ink and piercings.
"Hayden was, in part, responsible for my inability to find solace. No matter how many times I spoke to him, the intensity of my reaction didn't wane. From a single glance it was clear that he was fearless, unchained, and unfettered by the confines of what society deemed acceptable; Hayden embodied everything I wasn't but wanted to be. I spent my entire life trying to color inside the lines, only to wind up restrained by them. Hayden obliterated social constructs. His presence alone made a statement. I found him captivating, which was why I attempted to keep a safe distance."
I feel this quote hits the nail on the head for what this book is about. Tenley longs for that reckless abandon, but is also living with the nightmare of what happened to her. She is afraid of what Hayden will make her feel and she is even more afraid that he will take her apart piece by piece and she isn't emotionally ready to be laid bare for all to see. She is also afraid to let him in for fear of losing him- and she can't deal with any more loss in her life.
Hayden, on the other hand, has his own share of ghosts and demons that he has had to overcome. His ink may now represent his freedom and individuality, but that's not what it started as. Hayden sought the pain and the numbness the needle provided. He has not lived a perfect life and had made a lot of mistakes in his past that he is still trying to stay on top of even to this day. Luckily, he has a great support system in his friends that work at Inked Armor with him.
Hayden and Tenley's relationship is a very fragile one. Both teeter on the edge of this great precipice, where one tiny thing could send them toppling over the edge and that upped the intensity of this book alone. I do love Hayden's persistence though. Tenley gets under his skin and for the first time in a long time he wants to explore this avenue and see where it takes him. There is this constant push and pull when it comes to Hayden. He has to be careful with Tenley, as she is already so skittish and has a hard time being around him because he is so intense. I loved when he pushed the boundaries though. A kiss on the cheek, a simple touch.... such small actions do not go unnoticed by her and while it makes her uncomfortable, she revels in those moments. The moment these two finally give in to what they have been denying themselves for months is explosive and I loved seeing these two come unraveled around one another.
Both are terrified of losing the other and fear their pasts will push them away, not realizing that by prolonging the inevitable, it will make things much worse. The book ends with a punch to the gut and I am dying to read Inked Armor. Tenley and Hayden have quite a bit to figure out and their pasts have been brought to the forefront of their lives and they can't just continue to push it away- they must deal with it.
I liked the side characters in this novel also. Lisa, Jamie, Cassie, and Sarah were great for both Hayden and Tenley. Chris is one of those characters that I felt torn over. Hayden and Chris are good friends and have been through a lot of shit together, but Chris angered me a bit. I thought it was wrong of him to bring Hayden back into the bear's den. I know Hayden is stronger than he once was, but bringing him face to face with a past he wants to let go of seemed unfair to me. Sarah ended up being great for Tenley and I loved how protective she was of her friend, especially towards Hayden.
How would I describe this book overall? Intense. Passionate. Emotional. RAW. Hunting has done a brilliant job of writing such a story and I was wrecked by what happened to both Hayden and Tenley. Yet, even after all of that there is such beauty to be found in the blackness. Tenley and Hayden have something special and their connection isn't one that can just be cast aside.

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  1. This is the second review I have seen for this book and both of you loved it. I'm definitely going to have to check this book out. You know how I love my emotional reads. Great review.

    1. Yes! I think you need to check it out too! This was SO emotional!

  2. I love stories that pack an emotional punch, and this story sounds early good. Tenley and Hayden sound like intriguing characters. My heart would break for both of them, and the intense fear that they have of losing the other. This book sounds like it really impacted your emotions. Excellent Review Jess!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

    1. Yes! I think you'd really enjoy this one Lindy! And your heart will break. It was hard to watch them go through what they did!


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