Monday, October 21, 2013

Review: If You Leave by Courtney Cole

If You Leave
(Beautifully Broken #2)
Author: Courtney Cole
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Genre: New Adult
Source: Purchased

26-year old Gabriel Vincent is a badass hero. Or he used to be, anyway. As an ex-Army Ranger, Gabe never thought he needed anyone. But after one horrible night in Afghanistan scars him in a way that he can't get past, he needs someone who can help him heal...even if he doesn't realize it.

25-year old Madison Hill doesn't need anybody...or so she thinks. She grew up watching her parents' messed-up abusive relationship and she knows there's no way in hell that she's ever letting that happen to her.

They don't know it in the beginning, but Gabriel and Madison will soon develop a weakness: Each other.

But Gabriel's got a secret, a hidden monster that he's afraid Maddy could never overcome... And Maddy's got issues that she's afraid Gabe will never understand. They quickly realize that they need each other to be whole, but at the same time they know that they've got demons to fight.

And the problem with demons is that they never die quietly.


I feel like there are no words to express how I felt about this book. Of course, I'm writing a review so obviously there are but man, this book was amazing. I enjoyed If You Stay but If You Leave was leaps and bounds above it. I was beyond impressed with the character development and plot depth in If You Leave and I couldn’t put this book down.

We meet Madison in If You Stay and I liked her and could tell she was protective of Mila and really loved her. However, there is so much more to Maddy than just the over protective big sister and we get to see all sides of her. She has really had to grow up and take on a lot of responsibility at her age due to her parent’s death. There restaurant was their dream and Maddy has to come back to her home town, leave modeling and carry on that dream. It is a lot for her to handle since it isn’t really what she wanted. She is always so put together and sometimes she just needs to let loose. This is what she’s trying to do when she meets Gabriel.

Gabe definitely has demons and who wouldn’t after going through what he did while in Afghanistan. He has come home with some serious PTSD and I really felt for him. He is this strong and capable man but he has this weakness and it scares him. He feels broken and he carries so much guilt that he lets it get in his way. He doesn’t want to admit that he needs help when he so clearly does. Asking for help to heal from something terrible isn’t weakness, it’s strength and I wanted Gabe to see that so badly. What he needed to was to finally have something worth healing for and then he meets Maddy.

“They call it PTSD. Posttraumatic stress disorder. I call it something else entirely: fucked up.”

Gabe and Maddy both had some serious stuff going on that equated to a tumultuous relationship but the chemistry there was undeniable, from the very beginning, before they knew each other’s messed up psyche. Madison watched her father terrorize her mother for years and she always bared the brunt of it to protect Mila which has made her very closed off, especially to Gabe who seems a lot like her father in the beginning. This scares her because she is insanely attracted to him but she refuses to be in a relationship with a man like her dad. The more she gets to know Gabe, however, the more she sees how different he is from her father. He is the opposite; he would never hurt her or let anything happen to her, on purpose anyways. I loved watching Maddy open up to new possibilites and fall hard for Gabe.

Gabe is a really amazing guy and I hated that he didn’t see that in himself and he only saw his flaws. He really did care about Maddy and he had a hard time accepting that because he didn’t think he deserved to be with anyone. No matter how hard he tried to deny his feelings for her or get her out of his head, he couldn’t. When he left, he thought he was protecting Maddy and I saw that so I couldn’t hold it against him but I also saw how heartbroken she was and there was a time or two when I wanted to junk punch him in the name of “girl code.” However, he made the right decisions when it counted and I loved the way he came back when Maddy needed him the most and he new he screwed up, he owned up to it and he proved himself to her over and over. I think I might have fallen in love with Gabe too.

“Sometimes the hardest situations make for the best happily-ever-afters.”

One of my favorite parts of this book was how much Pax and Mila we got. A lot of times, companion novels barely include characters from the previous book but Pax and Mila were really prevalent and played a huge role in this book. Mila is so sweet and I loved how she pushed Maddy to open herself up and let Gabe in. I also really liked how sweet and protective Pax was with Maddy since she was his sister-in-law. He had his issues in If You Stay but it was clear that he overcame them and was able to build something beautiful and stable with Mila.

Overall, this was a really beautiful story and I loved the plot. The author dealt with some tough topics including PTSD and domestic abuse and I felt like she handled it really well. She showed the ugly side of things and the hard truth of how people are really affected by it. But she also showed how getting help and opening yourself to love can help you heal. Gabe and Maddy found each other when they were both at their worst and together they pulled each other out of the darkness and discovered the happiness they deserved.

~IPOD Picks~
“Demons” by Imagine Dragons
“Stay” by Rihanna
“We Found Love” by Boyce Avenue



  1. Amazing review! I absolutely adored this book. Gabriel is the best and I love him. I cannot wait for the next book!

  2. Thanks girl! Oh my gosh, I am so in love with Gabe too! I can't wait for Jacey's story.

  3. Eeeeep! I loved this one too! Gabriel was zomg swoooon. My heart broke so much for him, but I'm glad things turned out like they did- I loved him and Maddy together! And I loved how much of Pax and Mila we got to see! Great review chica!

  4. Great review Chelsea, you keep bringing new series that I want to read to my attention! Sounds very emotional, think I'd love it!

  5. I was super happy with the turnout too and I definitely felt so many emotions with Gabe. This is probably one of my fave companion novels!

  6. Thanks Trish! I think you'd like it too. It definitely brings a whirlwind of emotions.


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