Full Tilt by Emma Scott

I love ugly cry books. I rarely read them because I want them to remain special and separate from all the others. I also think if you read them too much it deadens the pain. I want that pain. I want the dull ache and the sweet, sharp jabs. I need them. Not all the time, I’m not a sadist. But occasionally….they hit the spot.

This book hit the spot and rubbed it almost cleanly away. It’s all there in the blurb. You’re not walking into this unknowingly, but it hits you like a runaway truck. You signed up for it, you bought the book. It still hurts. It still leaves a perfect mark.

Jonah is a guy living in a bubble of his own making. His life is drastically different than the one he envisioned. He knows it, and accepts that this is the hand that fate dealt him. He has no need for outside distractions. He has just one goal; this fixed idea that he has to meet. You see, he’s a glass blower and has a gallery opening to prepare for in a very short time. But it’s bigger than that. Time is very important to Jonah. That’s very apparent quickly.

Kacey is a guitarist in an all girl band. She’s the writer but sings backup. She has “the look” and the talent. They’re on the brink of stardom and fame, performing in a new city almost every night. She’s miserable though, so she drinks to cope. She drinks to forget. She drinks to blur the line between her reality and the life she needs. After a spectacularly drunken riot following a show in Vegas, she meets Jonah.

They are suitably unsuited for each other. It doesn’t matter to either of them. They quickly become a touchstone for each other, despite Jonah’s protestations. He has his reasons, but she doesn’t know it yet. When Kacey finally knows, the real story begins. It’s slow, but blissfully so. It’s hopeful and heartbreaking. It’s funny and sad. It’s real and dreamy.

To round out the circle, there’s Theo. He’s Jonah’s brother and protector. He is just as talented as Jonah, just as artistic, but his medium isn’t glass; it’s ink. He wears his ink and his attitude loud and proud. But he struggles. They all do but his struggle is palpable. Oscar and Dena are a couple. They’re Jonah’s friends but have happily adopted Theo and their mom and dad. They do the same with Kacey from the start.

This story drags you in, but you don’t want to fight it. You ride the wave and immerse yourself in these two people, the love they feel for each other and the tragedy that awaits them. It’s inevitable, but I held out hope anyway.

Full Tilt is more than the story of two people. It’s the story of Kacey, Jonah, his family and friends, Vegas, hope, loss, art, talent, but ultimately it’s about love. The love we have for family, the love we share with friends and the love we leave behind.

The premise is all too realistic with the prevalence of heart conditions, even in the very young. The flow, continuity, and technical aspects were all spot on. The ending was brilliantly rushed. I read it all in one long head long race to the end.

I hope you read the book because it’s great. I hope that you ugly cry, using at least half a box of Kleenex.

It’s perfect. I wouldn’t change a word.

My star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

It’s ballsy to write a book and tell the reader upfront that one of the characters doesn’t make it to the end. It’s a technically flawless book and worthy of the stars in every way.

My tear-jerker rating πŸ’§πŸ’§πŸ’§πŸ’§

If I hadn’t known and it had happened suddenly…probably would have been five. But I liked this better.

As an aside, in the interest of full disclosure, this author was unknown to me until tragedy struck and someone in the book community shared the status update, asking for prayers. I won’t elaborate. It’s not my story. It’s hers and hers to tell. It didn’t consciously change my rating. This one is mine, wholly.


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