Believe is the third book in the Erin McCarthy's True Believers series, this is Robin's story (yep, how dare I read them out of order). Robin is Kaylie's best friend. Robin has quit her old partying ways--no more drinking--after a night she blacked out and slept with Kaylie's douchebag boyfriend. She can't bear to tell Kaylie in fears of ruining their friendship but it's eating her alive inside. She meets Phoenix (cousin to Tyler and Riley) who's just gotten out of a stint in jail. Clearly all bad news for her but she can't seem to help but enjoy his company. Their friendship quickly blooms into an intense relationship that is put to the test as both Robin and Phoenix's pasts come up to haunt them.
I have a love-hate relationship with Robin. From the get-go, she is so ridden by guilt that I don't see how she even look up from her conscience to notice Phoenix in the first place. Even by the end of the book, I felt like if she were so intent on punishing herself for her bad deed, she would not have given Phoenix the time of day. I guess this is also why she's worthy of her portrait being tattooed on him... I loved that she was open-minded enough to allow herself to get to know and fall in love with Phoenix but part of me felt like she was taking a stupid risk considering how little she knew about him (and all she DID know of him was not good stuff). I'm undecided on her...still...
Phoenix is a force to be reckoned with. I actually had no idea that Intermittent Explosive Disorder existed before this novel so it was interesting to be able to learn about it through his point of view. He's so self-loathing, though, that it hurts to read his thoughts about himself. The struggle Phoenix has within himself is really heartbreaking. It's hard to think that some people really do feel that way about themselves. He seems to feel everything in a very all or nothing way--he's either all in or he's not in it at all. It's a good thing, I guess, but it makes everything soooo dramatic that at some points in the book I found myself rolling my eyes at how exaggerated things were.
I can't say I liked Believe as much as I liked True. Maybe because I wasn't as into the characters. Still, though, Robin and Phoenix take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Their story tugs on your heart strings and makes you mad but makes you smile. As I have proved--the books in this series can be read as standalone novels or together...out of order doesn't really matter--they're pretty awesome either way!
My Rating: 3.5 Stars