Shattered Ties (Ties, #1) by K.A. Robinson
With a former supermodel mother and a rock-and-roll legend father, Emma Preston has the best of everything. Nothing is as perfect as it seems though. After her parents divorce, she’s forced to live with her mother in a private Santa Monica community. Ignoring their parental roles, her mother becomes more focused on climbing the social ladder while her father is off on tour.
Growing up in a trailer park with his mother, Jesse is used to people looking down on him. When his mother begs him to submit an application for a scholarship to one of Santa Monica’s top private schools, he never expects to actually get it. When he does, he is forced to attend school with a bunch of rich kids. He ignores their stares as they judge him for having tattoos and a less than impressive car. As long as he has his surfboard and the guys at the tattoo shop, he knows he can make it through.
When Jesse shows up on the first day of school, Emma can’t help but be intrigued. Her mother would never approve of Emma talking to someone so poor, but she doesn’t care because something about Jesse draws her to him. Jesse tries to hate Emma, but he discovers that he can’t resist her. Forced to hide their relationship from Emma’s mother and everyone else around them, things start to fall apart. When Jesse’s friend, Ally, decides to interfere, things go from bad to worse.
Can they survive their first love? Or will they be left with nothing more than shattered ties?
Kelly - 4 Crowns
”All I wanted was a Princess Castle…" - Emma Preston – 6yrs old.
Shattered Ties is a complicated yet heart-warming first-love story told between two young adults from the opposite side of the tracks. Their love is nurtured through mutual attraction and selfless hearts as their worlds collide not once, but twice. Fate throws these two young souls together in a sandbox at the tender age of six, only then to play its final hand eleven years later.
Emma is the Daughter of a world-renowned rock star who enjoys international success, spending most of his time touring the world with his band; he has never been a full-time parental figure in her life. Her Mother is a supermodel socialite with a pretty smile for anyone with a hefty wallet and a ‘respectful’ position within the Santa Monica community - anything less is unworthy of her attentions, and that goes for her Daughter too!
Jesse has never forgotten that day in the sandbox, when the beautiful little girl told him he didn’t belong in her park because he was trash. All he wanted to do was help her build a castle. Watching her being dragged away by an angry woman in expensive clothes resonated strongly within him, changing his outlook on life from such an early age. Always believing he was never good enough even though his scholarship to the most respected private school in Santa Monica was accepted due to his ‘academic achievements.’ He may drive a crap car, come from a trailer park and be covered in tattoos but Jesse knows who he is, more importantly he knows he is NOTHING like them!
Walking down millionaire row was never his idea of fun; he’s only attending to appease his hard-working Mother as she struggles to work all the hours god sends as a waitress to keep their ‘trailer’ roof over their heads.
Emma cannot help but notice the new guy. With his tattoos and killer looks, he is nothing like the elite of brats she has had to contend with for most of her life. At seventeen she is well reversed of what is ‘expected’ of her, but unlike her conceited Mother, she is willing to take people at face value.
When ‘he’ asks Emma and her best friend Lucy for directions around the school, Emma is more than happy to help out. Their conversation grows when Emma sits next to Jesse in class and realises that there is more to this young man then meets the eye. He isn’t just beautiful, he is smart, talented and brutally honest; a rarity in her world and one that appeals to her greatly.
She likes him…really likes him, but her upbringing is putting a dark-cloud over this fact, as she tries desperately hard to separate herself from the scholarship boy, even though it becomes almost impossible when it appears the feelings are mutual. They come from two very different worlds, and if they continue to collide, it could prove catastrophic for them both.
“I was trying my hardest to avoid her, but for some reason, she kept pulling me back in. I didn’t belong in her world, but she didn’t seem to care about that. She was the one bright spot I’d found at my new school even if I didn’t act like it.” - Jesse
”My breath caught as I stared at him. Whatever was happening between us, I didn’t want it to stop. I knew what we were doing was wrong, but I’d never felt anything so right in my life.”- Emma
When the idea of being separated becomes too painful to bear, Jesse and Emma make a decision that changes everything…
Their connection forged, their tie impenetrable as they both learn what it is to fall in-love for the first time. Jesse throws all his preconceived misconceptions to the wind and embraces ‘his rich girl’ as he invites her into his world at the ‘other’ end of town. Emma meets his friends, his tattooing buddies at work and even goes under the ink gun herself as she proves to Jesse that he is the reprieve, the boy she has been waiting her whole life for. However, at the core, they both know their union is forbidden in the eyes of not only her Mother, but also the social circle that Emma moves in.
”You’ve shown me that it’s okay to care about someone, to love someone, because there are people who come into your life who deserve to be loved. They are the ones worth taking a chance on, hoping you don’t end up broken.” - Jesse
Hiding the way they feel while in the presence of others was always going to be difficult, but they never imagined the strain it would put on their relationship. When Ally, an old friend of Jesse’s catches wind of the precariousness of their situation, she sets in motion a few obstacles of her own. She believes Jesse is better than that. He should never have to hide. He needs to be with someone like him, and she has every intention of making him believe it too.
Can Jesse and Emma prove they have what it takes to keep that tie strong, or will it shatter, along with their hearts…?
I love forbidden romances, there is just something about them that really hits the spot for me, and K.A. Robinson didn’t disappoint with Shattered Ties at all. I also like the way she gives both her main protagonists a voice. The mixed first-person narrative really gives depth to the characters and from a readers perspective it helps forge a closer connection as you feel the plight of their situation at every turn.
There are a few characters that I really didn’t like, which gave this book its ‘angst’ factor. None of it was unnecessary, giving the story good flow with enough heat to pack a punch and keep the romance element of the story fulfilling and alive.
There were a few fundamentals that grated on me a little. It was very ‘high-school’ in places and that is fine to a certain extent, although the excessive tongue poking had me rolling an eye or two. Overall though, this was a well thought out new-adult story with a high-school backdrop that incorporated elements of realism. It highlighted the differences in social class and how one is subjected to ridicule when not at the same level of society as their peers. It’s an honest love story that throws caution to the wind and embraces inner emotions and fulfils the burning need of another, regardless of their social status or background. And I am talking ‘both-sides’ here; it was harder for Jesse in many ways to love the ‘rich’ girl then the other way around.
I wouldn’t say the ending was a cliffhanger as such, it’s more of an ‘opening’ for book two and I am very much looking forward to reading it when it’s released next year, just to see where the fates decide to take Jesse and Emma next.