Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Music
One of the most poignant stories Julie Johnson has ever written.
With Faded, she managed to ruin me (again).
She punched me in the gut, blew my sanity to pieces and wrecked my soul. Everything I was, it was simply fading, until all I could breathe were her words, until every molecule was filled with Ryder and Felicity, until eyes were brimming with tears and my blood was chanting her name, its pounding deafening my ears. It was a tangled web of music and heartache, and I cherished every minute of it.
“You’re my only memory that never faded.”
Felicity was not meant to fall in love. All she ever wanted was to get away from her toxic family, find a job, keep a low profile, and pour her soul into the songs she composed. But when you collide with a blinding, scorching star, you’re bound to get burned. And that’s exactly what happened when she met Ryder Woods, the musician with the raspy voice and the inspirations for fame, for the ability to share his music with the entire world.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you: this story isn’t about getting what I wanted. Because I never wanted Ryder Woods. I needed him.”
Ryder was the beacon to her stormy sea. Felicity was the haven to his storm. But the timing was not right. Their dreams did not align. Two star crossed lovers with nothing and everything to lose, they created a powerful symphony that consumed them in its notes. But what happens when you reach the crescendo?
“It ain’t me, babe. It ain’t me you’re looking for.”
Faded deserves all the stars in the sky. How can I describe with simple words how much it touched me to the very core? How my soul was stripped bare, exposed to overwhelming feelings and senses that caressed it only to brutally flay it afterwards? The story of Felicity and Ryder was sheer beauty. Every song, every kiss, every confession and every heartbreak, they held raw power, a magnetic force that pulled me into its clutches and didn’t let go.
“We’re the dream that I never thought I’d get.”
Drugs, alcohol and sex made Faded an edgy read, and the element of suspense, surprise and painful secrets was masterfully handled by an author that never ceases to amaze me with her ingenuity and imagination. I loved the heavy music aspect, and the way she depicted the explosion created by the collision of two different dreams, of the starry-eyed girl that preferred shadows to light and the sexy musician that wanted to conquer the world.
“I wait for the dawn, a new day to break.
Storm winds are gone but my heart still aches.
I sort through the wreckage. You sit there crying.
You said you’d protect me… are you even trying?”
Felicity was one of the most wonderful female characters ever created. She was broken in a way that made her stronger, compassionate, smart and determined to make a home of her own, free of the fear, the insecurity and the pain of her past. She wanted to hide, when she was capable of shining, whereas Ryder was her solar opposite. He wanted a singing career, with everything that follows suit. He was complex and flawed, and I loved being inside his head, witnessing his resolve cracking when it came to the petit girl with the worn guitar. Witnessing how much he could hurt her.
“Why would I tear you apart, when I could walk away?
Why would I tell you the truth is, I just want to stay?”
Faded was a steamy, bittersweet, melancholic song of love, dreams, and the price of achieving them, and I can say without a doubt that it’s one of Julie’s best works.
Now excuse me as I lay down and cry my eyes out after that ending.
*ARC generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*