Gus (Bright Side, #2)
by Kim Holden
I am in awe right now. Riding the euphoric wave of epicness. I also have a newfound love for sticky notes. Gus, in all its raw, honest and emotional prose, is quite simply... Sensational! Kate would be so proud!
'Kate Sedgwick. That name holds so much power over me. The best kind of power: inspiring, encouraging and respectable. It's a name that I've always associated with badass bravery. It's a name that always meant anything was possible.' Gus Hawthorn
Gus is that sequel that can either make or break a series. I'm a true believer that Bright Side is one of the best books out there. It blew my mind. It hit every nerve, played on every conceivable emotion, and still lives with me today.
I fell for Gus, the aspiring and talented rock star best friend who harboured deep love and respect for the girl who was his world for a long time. Letting her walk away was the hardest thing he ever did. Watching her fall in love with Keller was difficult, but he accepted it. But being there, witnessing taking her last breath so young to cancer is not something he was ever going to accept. Losing Bright Side made Gus lose a part of himself, and that is where this book and Gus' character really come into its own. Yep... Kim Holden NAILED IT!
We are introduced to a few new characters in this book, while still reconnecting to some old faces. But our real heroine here is as lost, broken and scarred as Gus, and it wouldn't have worked any other way.
Scout MacKenzie is a dark horse and I loved how her character was almost a whisper, non-existant and elusive, fading into the background upon her staged entrance. Quiet yet professional, she is hard to read, but it's obvious being the new PA to a wayward rock star was the last thing she wanted, as they get off on some very wrong footing. But like anything, Scout, aka 'Impatient' has her reasons and looks can be deceiving...
As far as love stories go, this is a slow burner, because it is primarily one of healing and acceptance. There is no denying it, the first half of Gus is destructive, the theme grief...anger...grief...anger, and there isn't much let up. It's upsetting but necessary, because as time goes by, and new friendships are formed, you realise that Bright Side is still there, whispering in the shadows, still so fully alive in the hearts of all those she touched, that they have all become better people for knowing her. Honoring her memory is nothing short of uplifting. Inspiring.
I finished this book well contented, and euphorically happy. Gus, in all his bad ass rock star get up, really is a mirror image of the girl he called best friend. She would be so proud of him, as he breaks through and comes out stronger the other side, allowing his heart to be filled along the way.
The broken man becomes the saviour, hero and lover in this story, as you watch him grow, shine and rock the world of a broken girl and a lonely 17-year-old boy.
His heart is so big, he even has time for an 80-something year old woman with a love of Bingo and... Arsenal. Yeah, you really need to meet Mrs Randolph, she is THE BOMB!
I don't want to give too much away with regards to plot but it is written in double POV in diary form, so you can get a feel for timelines and how in the space of a year, the darkness can make way for light in the form of sticky notes, peanut butter saltines and grape juice, followed by a good dose of motherly love.
I loved Bright Side, but now my book loving beating heart feels complete after reading Gus.
Scout and Gus are unbreakable, undeniable, and I am so proud of Rook and the guys. Franco is a gem. I would love him to get his own book.
Another resounding success for Kim Holden. Emotional, raw, and uplifting; Gus is quite simply... EPIC, Dude!
'I've fallen in Love with epic. It's the only way to live.'
Kelly - 5 Crowns
The journey that began in top-rated, best-selling Bright Side, continues ...
This is the story of Gus.
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?”
Emma - 5 Crowns
This book is the sequel to the hugely successful Bright Side. Although this is essentially another characters story. The core of the story is very much a continuation. If you haven't read Bright Side, get 1-clicking now and stop reading this review immediately.
Gus, Gus, Gus... Where to start.
Bright Side was such a poignant story. I haven't met anyone who has read that book and not cried their hearts out. Yes it was most definitely a very sad book, but I also found it, in a twisted sort of way uplifting. Kate Sedgewick had this amazing effect on all those she came into contact with. None more so than her life-long best friend Gus. Gus loved Bright Side with his whole being and understandably her death hit him the hardest. This story is Gus's journey after Bright Side. It is emotional, it is heart breaking, it is Gus at his lowest. Can he "Do Epic" when his other half is gone forever?
I have been looking forward to reading this book for so long. I loved Gus in Bright Side. He was such a cool dude, and the love, friendship and support he gave Kate was just beautiful. I have to say that for some of this book he is unrecognisable from the easy going person I had come to love. He lost himself the day he lost Kate and for him it is an up hill struggle to find a purpose or meaning without her in his life; especially when every little thing reminds him of Kate and of course Gracie.
Enter Scout. Scout is taken on by Gus's band management to, for want of a better word, babysit Gus. They have a very detached relationship and Gus quickly gives her the nickname, Impatient. But Scout is also running from a past and has got her own shit to deal with, so she doesn't panda to Gus's self-pitying bull-shit. A relationship very slow evolves and their friendship, however tentative, becomes the saving grace that they both so badly need.
This is essentially a story of how you overcome grief. How you learn to live and carry-on when all you want to do is stop the world and get off. This isn't so much a love story. It's a slow burning friendship that becomes both Gus and Scout's salvation and the bright light at the end of the tunnels they are struggling through.
You also have a chance to catch up with other friends, and in particular Keller and Stella (just love them!). As I mentioned, Bright Side had such a postive influence on the people's lives she touched (I include myself in that). To see that her memory lives on with them is heartbreakingly poignant. Get the tissues ready, you will most certainly need them.
If you have read Bright Side then this is an absolute MUST READ!! You will come out satisfied, but above all you will be happy that Kate's "Do Epic" mantra lives on.
Elizabeth - 5 Crowns
Kim Holden is a writing Goddess!
The story of Gus.... the beautiful way she kept the memory of Bright Side front and center in this story is beyond EPIC!
THIS is how you respectfully carry on a story of a character we all loved and mourned, while still giving Gus his own personal story! Each chapter was perfection... each painful memory Gus suffered... each time he felt her presence, even when is hurt too much to breathe... Kim kept her with us.
As Gus and everyone who was ever fortunate enough to be graced by Katie's soul went through their transition of the devastating loss, while still giving them the growth they needed to heal from the hurt and remember the sun that was Bright Side! They were many moments where they were together, going through life, growing in love, along with new characters that made this family... Her family complete and whole!
Perfection, respectful, painful and full of love...
Showtime!! Do Epic.... Read this!