WHAT A BEAUTIFUL COVER – holy smokes! The minute I saw it I was hooked and praying that I would be among the lucky few who could get a copy from the publisher. The colors, the different fonts, the light, and the raindrop you see falling *sigh* And combined with the very intriguing sounding blurb, it promises you a romantic love story with a dramatic twist.  And the moment Max stepped into the setting, I literally saw Damon from the Vampire Diaries inside my head. His eyes …

Still Broken*
by April Dawson
Original Title Still Broken
Publisher LYX on October 26, 2018
Genre Novel
Pages 304
Format Softcover
Source Publisher

A love that is worth everything …
When Nora falls in love with unapproachable Max at college, the most exciting time of her life begins. The feelings between them are passionate, real and so different from anything she´s experienced before – even if everyone warned her about Max. However, as they get closer, Norah feels more strongly that Max hides something from her – but also that her love is worth every fight, even if Max´ secret could turn her life forever upside down … (personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary)
Norah is happy to finally be at the same university as her elder brother. She is a student with a clear goal. Get the best notes and share the easy and fun life of a student with her two best friends. Passion or love is not on her list. She´s still struggling with the failure of her last friendship. But when she spots Max and sees his hard eyes focused on her, she´s lost. 

The story runs over a time frame of about eight years and shows mainly Norah´s life at University. It is written from her point of view and only during the last third, you get the views from Max and some other characters as well. The last third of the novel is about her life during her twenties and later. Somehow, I couldn´t really get access to the story, or the figures. Sure, the romance factor is high, and Max does many lovely things to show Norah that life isn´t all about learning until your head smokes. But what irritated me was the flat tone and style April Dawson uses to bring her story to the reader. Many things happen, and a bunch of figures shows up during the ongoing plot. You get bits and pieces of who they are and what they have to do with Norah. But nothing out of the ordinary. What I also noticed after a little while, was, that April Dawson seems to have a favor for using the same word constellation or sentence repetition again and again. And the author uses sometimes very long sentences in which you can easily see that a dot would have done a much better job. It didn´t make me happy while reading about a man who obviously had a dark secret, where the mafia was apparently involved, a long-hidden family secret came to light and Norah has to mourn a huge loss.

In other words, the story seemed to be a bit overloaded. The other thing I had my problems with was, that the author digs deep into the stereotyped crate. Not only with Max and Norah, but also with some of their dialogues and scenes. For my taste a bit too much.

The author lets you see her figures more through the way how they act and speak. In Norah´s case, it means that she partly acts way too detached for an eighteen-year-old student. And then there are scenes, in which she can barely defend herself when she meets her ex-boyfriend and acts with him as a girl without any self-confidence. She has a real hand in getting herself in situations where thinking before acting would have been much better. On the other hand, she is enjoying life to some extent and is studying as if there would exist nothing else in her life but books and her classes. I wouldn´t call her a nerd, no, but normal studying and the life of an eighteen-year-old while living on the campus is something else. 

Don´t get me wrong. I do know that a first-year student is happy beyond anything else to be away from home and eager to test how life outside the family universe is working. And that parties, hanging out with friends and eat whatever they like and when they like it, is one of the many positive things you can experience while away from home. Here it looked more like Norah was trying to prove something to herself and her family. Max reminded me very much of Damon. You remember, the hot bad boy from the TV series Vampire Diaries? I don´t know the books, so can´t compare to that, but whenever April Dawson gave me a scene where Norah and Max were in it, I literally saw Ian Somerhalder as Damon right in front of me. Do I need to say more?

After finishing this novel, I felt kind of depressed and didn´t know what to think of it. Oh yes, without any doubt, the author shows you great love and that passion, real passion, can be groundbreaking and heartbreaking if you screw it up. But sadly, I didn´t feel the pain her figures were going through. Though she shows many scenes where her central character and her friends struggle with loss and tragedy. I wasn´t emotionally involved, except for the awkward feeling I felt after I had read the last line at the end of it. For me, sadly, this book was filled with many things I felt had been too much for the novel. Some of them were not of interest to me while others simply only stretched things a bit. But let me also be clear about this. If you are a fan of novels who don´t go deep but show you some pain and drama, in the setting of a student´s life, this novel might hit you in a positive way. 

Happy reading

*This book was, at the time this review was published, only available in the German language. When and if this book will be published in the English language was at the time of review not known.

*This title was kindly provided to me by LYX in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

April Dawson
April Dawson ©Fotostudio Nemetz

April Dawson is a “hot” discovery from the circle of LYX storyboard authors. She lives with her family in Kematen, Austria. She already has ten years of writing experience and prefers to write romantic books packed with a bit of action, a little drama, a touch of humor and a lot of feeling. 


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