Two girls. One Leo.
Identical twins, Maggie and Clara Ryder, both grew up with Leo Maddox, billionaire playboy, apparent alcoholic, and heir to his grandfather’s world-famous Maddox hotel empire. Their roles were cemented long ago: Maggie, as his best friend and Clara as his childhood nemesis.
But when a simple twist of fate changes everything and both girls start to fall for the lean, mean, ridiculously sexy and seemingly spoiled Leo… which girl will win his heart?
Throw in a little mischief, drama, and one smoking-hot bartender and lines are sure to blur. But one thing’s for certain, neither good-girl Maggie nor rebellious Clara will be satisfied until they each figure out where they belong.
*NEW ADULT ROMANCE. Standalone. Recommended for readers 17+
*LEO MADDOX ~the alternative version to this novel releases on Nov. 25th
What I liked:
I’m not too proud to admit it, y’all. I was ninja’d by this book.
I enjoy the occasional love triangle or NA tug-o’-war over a boy, but only occasionally. And I had myself worked up that this was what this book was going to be.
It’s so NOT what this book is.
I’ll tell you what this book is. This book is an education in not judging anything on face value. Not books. Not people. Not relationships.
Slightly estranged identical twins Maggie and Clara are the heroines of this book, and what Sarah Darlington does to highlight their mistaken impressions of each other is brilliant. The supporting characters – their doting, misguided father; Maggie’s childhood best friend, Leo; the mysterious stud-muffin Dean; the adorably Southern Anita (who I picture talking exactly like Arlene from True Blood) – don’t see them as they see themselves, which is genius, and the twins don’t see each other as they are, which is tragic. The book’s hook, “he belongs with me,” can apply to a number of the relationships in different ways depending on which twin you’re talking about.
There’s a bad girl who’s really a good girl despite her prickly exterior, a naughty girl who’s just sweet enough to get her heart trampled on and not give up, and two love interests who are also not at all as they appear. Sexual tension abounds even though there is surprisingly little sex in this book. It reads like a novel with way more sexytimes, and that’s a tribute to Darlington’s well-crafted frissons.
Little touches like impulsive hair-dying, middle-of-the-night hijinks, and sleeping in your car because you’re too unsettled to be anywhere else make the tone just right for a New Adult read. These are the moments that you roll your eyes at when you’re forty but remember in your bones from earlier days. That’s the magic of a well-written NA book, and this one has magic in abundance.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
I would’ve loved to know where the deep rift between Clara and Maggie started. It was never explicitly mentioned, and I can’t say that it matters for the story, but since they’re identical twins (who are generally quite close) it did pique my interest.
Who I Would Recommend This Book To:
Anyone who loves the immediacy and drama of an NA story will adore this one.
The review copy of this book was received from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
REVIEW by L.E.: He Belongs With Me by Sarah Darlington (@SADarlington , @AuthorLE)
Two girls. One Leo.
[…] He Belongs With Me by Sarah Darlington – I had never read any of Sarah’s work, and then I reviewed this book for Pure Textuality. I fell in love with this fun story, which seems like NA fluff but is actually a story about the masks we hide behind and how those masks can screw up our entire lives. Oh, and there are hot boys and hijinks throughout. (To read my review at PT, click here.) […]