By Adeselna Davies - 21:00

True brothers #3
Erin McCarthy
232 pages
Published by Penguin (USA)
Publication date: January 2012
ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Robin used to be a party girl… until she got black out drunk and woke up in bed with her best friend's boyfriend. Now she's faced with being THAT girl, and couldn't be more disgusted with herself. She can't even tell her friends the reason for her sudden sobriety and she avoids everyone until she meets Phoenix—quiet, tattooed, and different in every way that's good and oh, so bad…

Phoenix is two days out of jail when he meets Robin at his cousin's house, and he knows that he has no business talking to her, but he's drawn to her quiet demeanor, sweet smile, and artistic talent. She doesn't care that he's done time, or that he only has five bucks to his name, and she supports his goal to be a tattoo artist.

But Phoenix knows Robin has a secret, and that it's a naïve dream to believe that his record won't catch up with them at some point. Though neither is prepared for the explosive result when the past collides with the present…

In the third book of the series, McCarthy’s style takes a turn from the theme of family to a more deep and introspective perspective of new adults.

The plot starts with Robin making a mistake that will haunt her throughout the story. The initial incident will mark the change in her characterization. She is the party girl, she drinks and takes things a little too far. When that happens, she shatters and realizes she needs to change and becomes a different Robin, more bitter and reserved. The change is fit for Phoenix. His life is tumultuous, he came out of prison and is all trouble. 

However if in the previous books of the series, the love between the couple took some time to happen, in Believe things took little time to happen. Robin and Phoenix’s love was almost instant, leaving more screen time for Robin’s own doubts and guilt. While in Megan Hart’s novel Tear you apart you sympathize with Elizabeth because she was unhappy, the reader cannot help to feel bad for Robin because what she did was typically not herself. It’s not that she spends the entire book with mixed feelings, it is the fact that she is aware of her mistake and it tears her apart.

Believe is McCarthy’s way to take on some more serious issues like violence, stalkers and an exaggerate lifestyle will have consequences and mixing it with more sexual and sensual scenes. While personally I appreciate more the Jessica/Riley type of romance, Robin and Phoenix are more mature. Both are broken characters and both find a way to connect that is entirely different from the previous books. The fact that McCarthy is using different types of seduction and relationship stories that go with the personality of these characters is amazing.

While not as cute and dear as its successor, Believe is a more mature and adult exploration in a must-read series. McCarthy made me restore my faith in New Adult novels.

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