Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Charlie has one passion in life: dancing. It’s his salvation when it feels like the world is swallowing him whole. When his mom secretly secures him a spot in the summer intensive at the Free Rein Dance Company in New York, he is thrilled. He knows that once the summer ends, he’ll have to return to Beacon to get a job and help support his family, but for those two months, he can spread his wings.
In New York he meets Max, a junior instructor who is everything Charlie wishes he could be. Bold and self-assured, Max radiates pride in who he is. As they spend time together, Max shows Charlie what life can be like past the walls of his closed-minded home town. But Charlie doesn’t know if he’s ready to show the world who he truly is when standing in the spotlight is the last thing he wants.
I think I became a Cate Ashwood fan since the first time I read one of her books called Keeping Sweet and I can say that she hasn’t once disappointed me. The Storm Before The Calm was another winner. Simply beautiful and perfect. I highly recommend it! It’s a positive book, light, sweet, full of emotions. Exactly what I love to read!
The story between Charlie, just graduated from high school and Max, a twenty-one years old dance instructor, was a joy to read. The chemistry between them was explosive. They were good for each other. In a safe place and with a safe and right person, Charlie was finally able to be himself, he simply flourished. I usually tend to prefer stories with older MCs, but Max and Charlie were mature in their youth, solid in their feelings and career.
I was in love with Charlie’s mom. She was so sweet. I loved their relationship. It’s how I imagine a family should be. She raised him alone, she’s the greatest supporter of Charlie’s passion, dancing. She paid for his lessons even when they didn’t have much money. She’s the one to book him a summer internship in a dance company in New York.
Dancing is not just a passion to Charlie, it’s his lifeline, the only thing that saved his life in his worse days at high school. Days spent to be bullied and with no one to step by his side. Days spent feeling dirty. The same days spent in the beautiful world the dance is.
“When I reached my bathroom, I closed the door, locking it behind me. My mom wasn’t home, but shutting out the world made me feel better somehow. I stripped off my clothes and stepped into the shower, turned on the water and stood under the spray. It was so hot I almost couldn’t stand it, but I needed as much heat as possible to melt away the muck that clung to me. I scrubbed at my skin until it was red and raw, then stepped forward, bracing my hand against the wall as I let my head fall under the water. My tears mixed with the spray from the shower, and I could almost pretend they weren’t there at all. I let them fall freely, sobs shaking my body. All the frustration and anger and hurt I’d bottled up during the day spilled out of me. Dylan would never see me cry. Never. In this place, locked away, it was safe to let go.”
The first couple of chapters were a little hard to read to me. Charlie broke my heart in more than one scene. I was afraid to have stepped in an heavy story, full of angst, something good but at the same time depressing, you know what I mean?
Fortunately, apart for a dozen of tears I shed at the start, this book was light and sweet. The story was good, the writing perfect and the characters amazing. I couldn’t have asked for more! And the title is right, exactly what the book is about.
5 full stars!
Cover art by Anna Sikorska. Beautiful cover! The icing on the cake.
Published June 5th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ebook, 200 pages
Edition language English