BOOK REVIEW ~ HE FOUND ME BY WHITNEY BARBETTI

When I was seventeen, I disappeared. I walked out the door of my apartment with a backpack and never looked back. I left the life of Cora Mitchell behind, seeking freedom from my real-life nightmare. But my freedom came with a cost. I lived a fictitious life for the next six years, never letting anyone close enough to see underneath the facade that was Andra Walker. I was content with my simple little life. Until I met Julian. And the moment I started allowing myself to open up, allowing someone to see through the superficial, was the very same moment the Monster from my past would return to find me.

About a few days ago I saw this book go free and thought it must’ve been a sign from the universe telling me to read it as I was intrigued by the blurb and was just waiting for a price drop. I wasn’t really wowed over by the story or characters but one thing’s clear: I would not be opposed to reading more books from this author. She has a very easy to get into writing style and this book was a great ‘taste test’ for me. My main problems were with the plot content and not author technicalities like writing style so I’m very interested in reading other books from her. With this story, I liked the premise – how one damaged girl escapes from her past, creates a whole new future, but her past catches up to her again – but a lot of events that happened made me scratch my head in confusion…like the logistics were really all over the place with this one. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Starting from the beginning…

Before the heroine was Andra Walker, a confident carefree woman who valued being able to have choices and her freedom, seven years ago she was Cora Mitchell, a helpless, abused teenager with nowhere to hide and every reason to run. And she did. With the help of an old family friend, Six, Cora became Andra and ditched her old life. Now living and working as a ranch hand and surrounded by friends she’s come to love, Andra is content with her new life.

But things start to shake up as the hero – who’s a well-known author – Julian Jameson arrives and plans on staying in one of the cabins near Andra’s place to draw inspiration for his writing from the lush scenery and solitude. When they meet, it’s pretty much insta-lust and they go through mushy dates and all with loads of buildup, and just when Andra’s starting to fall for this guy and he with her, the suspense aspect kicks in and all of sudden, Andra’s life gets turned upside down again as her past comes back.
I think this is one of the very rare times where my feelings for the plot, the characters, and overall execution of the story are all unanimously the same: this book was OK. I didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it. I didn’t particularly like the characters together; there just wasn’t enough time in the book dedicated to their relationship development and it was surprising to me that how a girl like Andra could go on bluntly rejecting other guys in her life for 7 years but has no problem falling head over heels for the hero in less than 2 weeks.
Another thing that was sort of a logical fallacy in my mind was why, after seven years now, she still needed to run and hide. She ran from her guardian in the past but now that she’s older than 18 she has no legal reason to return to her old home even if she were discovered…and there was also a twist in the book where Six and Andra revisited her old house and the motive behind that I 100% cannot fathom at all. In fact, the suspense part just totally fell flat for me and I didn’t see the point of Six repeatedly taking Andra off the ranch because nothing happened.
I did enjoy the writing and because there’s this underlying feeling that something bad will happen somewhere in the story, I couldn’t stop flipping the pages. If I hadn’t been traveling, this is a book I would’ve finished in one sitting. I have to say though…this author managed to surprise me with the blurb and book title because the ‘he’ was not who I was expecting at all.
He Found Me is the first book in a 2 book series and not a standalone. The ending is somewhat of a cliffhanger but leaves you feeling full of hope and not desolation, so I was okay with it.
Rating: 3 stars!