Dear Ava by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Dear AvaGenres: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: February 2nd 2020
Source: Author
Format: ARC

WSJ bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills delivers a gripping enemies-to-lovers, secret admirer, high school romance.

The rich and popular Sharks rule at prestigious, ivy-covered Camden Prep. Once upon a time, I wanted to be part of their world–until they destroyed me.

The last thing I expected was an anonymous love letter from one of them.

Please. I hate every one of those rich jerks for what they did to me. The question is, which Shark is my secret admirer?

Knox, the scarred quarterback.
Dane, his twin brother.
Or Chance, the ex who dumped me. . .

Dear Ava,
Your eyes are the color of the Caribbean Sea.
Wait. That’s stupid.
What I really mean is, you look at me and I feel something REAL.

It’s been ten months since you were here, but I can’t forget you.
I’ve missed seeing you walk down the hall.
I’ve missed you cheering at my football games.
I’ve missed the smell of your hair.

And then everything fell apart the night of the kegger.

Don’t hate me because I’m a Shark.
I just want to make you mine.

Goodreads Amazon

ARC provided by Author in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review

My thoughts

“Kissing him is like free falling into a hot fire, and maybe I should be afraid of this, but I crave the way his chest burns against mine, the way it ignites every atom inside me.”

I have been waiting for this for almost half a year and Ilsa Madden-Mills did not come out to play. She completely dominated. I first read this story in it’s short story form for the Team 2 Anthology (You can read my review for that precious bean here!) and I was instantly hooked and enchanted by this heart breaking but beautiful story. When I got wind that Mills was going to be turning it into a full length novel–well, my heart gave out and I basically threw myself into getting my hands on an ARC of this bad boy.

I was not disappointed.

This book was even better than what I remembered and then some. Breathtaking and swoon worthy, I fell for these characters as I connected with them each on a deep and personal level. I saw myself in every character—main and supporting. The relationship development between Ava and Knox was well done and I found myself rooting for them from the moment the book began.

I do need to mention that this book is heavy. It deals with a lot of hard topics, such as drug use, mental illness, and rape. The book starts off with a flashback of our heroine waking up after being assaulted and drugged, and references her assault throughout the entirety of the novel as that moment is what pushes the story forward. I think Mills handled these topics beautifully and showed the struggles of coping and seeking justice after sexual assault well. At times this book was hard to read, but the author did give warning before hand on the contents of this book, so I was prepared for what I encountered (which I am unbelievably thankful for).

If you are looking for a deep, angsty, and beautifully written contemporary romance, I highly recommend giving this (or really any of Mill’s work) a chance.5 popcorn stars

Huge thank you to Ilsa Madden-Mills for sending me an ARC for my honest review! Quotations taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon final publication. Graphics used with permission and are not my own.


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