5+++ REVIEW: Gus (Bright Side #2) By Kim Holden

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~ Synopsis ~

The journey that began in top-rated, best-selling Bright Side, continues …

This is the story of Gus.
Losing himself.
Finding himself.
And healing along the way.

“ … but the honest-to-God truth is I don’t even know how to function anymore. Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half … the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”

***

***SPOILERS AHEAD: If you haven’t read Bright Side yet (and why haven’t you? It’s AMAZING!) read further with caution – there are spoilers. Gus is a continuation of the most epic story and my Top Favorite Read of 2014! You can check out my review of Bright Side…… HERE….***

REVIEW
“There is something epic that happens every day if you look hard enough for it.”

This is the epitome of Gus by, Kim Holden. We pick up right where we left off in Bright Side; one of THE most beautiful and gut wrenching stories I’ve ever experienced. The relationship between Gus & Katie is a thing of beauty – true love for one another and a friendship that requires zero work. These two, cut from the same cloth should be the goal of every friendship. Gus, now on tour with his band Rook is faced with the reality that he has to go on without his , Bright Side. Katie was more than just his friend – she was his first and only love. Gus loves fully – like every person should, with open uninhibited arms. He and Katie were soul mates, lovers and she pushed him to be the best person he could be. He’s just not sure how he’s supposed to go on stage every night and sing the songs she helped create.

“Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half… the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”

When the pressures of rock stardom come knocking on his door things start to slowly unravel. But when the alcohol flows freely and girls are throwing themselves at you left and right, it’s inevitable that Gus finds himself over indulging; too much, too fast. Not only is Gus running away from the pressure of being on tour, and shouldering the success his managers are banking on – he’s also running away in an effort to cope with the giant gaping hole Katie’s death has left in his life.

“I can’t stop thinking about her. Nothing specific, nothing I can visualize or recall. It’s just pain and emptiness. Darkness. The light, the bright light is gone.”

When things start to really veer off track Gus starts to feel himself falling into the pit of cliche rock stars. The decisions is made and his manager hires him a personal assistant/babysitter named Scout. But when Scout moves onto the tour bus, Gus learns very fast that she’s not going to be batting her eye lashes at him, or swooning over the band. She barely utters two words to him. She’s there to do a job and could careless about what she assumes is just another spoiled, over indulgent rock star. She’s there to make sure Gus knows what state they’re in that day, if he looses his cell phone? She replaces it and leaves it on his bed without a word. Most of their conversations are back and forth on post-it-notes. Scout is getting ready to graduate from college – this job will afford her a paid adventure, a favor to her uncle and a much needed geography gap between she and her ex-boyfriend. Gus & Scout; what is there to say? They get off to a rocky start, but Gus being Gus? He’s all for a challenge – a challenge that will leave their lives to intertwine in the best possible ways.

“I knew I wasn’t alone. I haven’t written like that since Bright Side was around. I always feel her in my heart these days, because that’s where she lives. I walk around with her inside me every day. And it doesn’t hurt anymore. But the presence I felt tonight wasn’t internal. It was physical. Tangible. Like someone was in the room with me, feeding me. Little did I know, she was just on the other side of the door. Filling my soul.”

Gus absolutely melts me – any bitterness I have lingering in me about me – he melts right away, seriously. He has a heart the size of the state of California – always going above and beyond the call of duty for his friends and family. He’s Epic like that.

This book is FULL of everything I adored about Gus in Bright Side and then some. I started Gus about a week into one the WORST reading slumps I’ve ever suffered since starting this blog two years ago. I didn’t read or pick up my Kindle for about 2 to 3 months. There was something seriously off – so I shelved it until my husband and I went on vacation for three weeks to visit his family & friends in Wales. This I’m hoping would rejuvenate my love for the written word, 10 hour plane rides – train rides – patio in the garden SCREAMING for me to lounge in all day with my Kindle – and I was right.

I started Gus from the beginning again- sitting on the train on our way to Cardiff, I figured I would read it start to finish in the three hours it would take us to reach Cardiff, because I didn’t just read Bright Side, I practically devoured it in one sitting. I apologize to all the passengers on that rail car, as I started blubbering 5 pages in. Everything from Bright Side came flooding back and there were times I had to stop myself from full-on-sobbing. My husband giving me weird looks and shaking his head at me knows – this is what I do. Because one of my absolute favorite things in this world is reading a story that makes you feel. And that’s exactly what Gus did. I could give you a laundry list of emotions I felt while reading this story. I had tears streaming down my face from sadness, happiness and of course laughter. But I’m glad I shelved it when I did, so I could give it 100% of my full attention that it deserved. And it was sooooooooooooo worth the wait.

You will fall in love all over again with Gus & Scout. Katie may be gone – but her spirit is VERY much intact – in every single page of this book.

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