The Boy & His Ribbon

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 May 2018

Member Reviews

This was a great story with great characters. It flowed nicely without rushing the story. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to more from this author! Read it and you won't regret the time spent.
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This story is not your usual love story but is something more. It is one of extreme emotions that will take you to dark side of humanity. Ren and Delilah's story is filled with suspense, angst and love. This book is a rollercoaster of emotions but ultimately well worth reading.
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Never read anything like this before. I have read most of Pepper’s books and loved them, so I thought I would most likely love this one too. Especially after seeing everyone else’s words about it. But I didn’t expect to love it this much. Completely different then what I expected, but good, amazing different! I love both Ren and Della so much. I loved seeing them grow and learn as individuals and in their relationship.
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This story requires you to suspend your disbelief quite a bit, but the characters make it so worth it. I loved Ren - how serious and determined he was, how he sacrificed to take care of Della. I liked Della, too - the way she just rolled with all of the crazy uncertainty of their lives and how kind she often was to Ren. Their relationship throughout their lives was sweet, although extremely codependent. I'm interested to read the next book in the series to see if they find their way back to each other.
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Ok, so I’ve been scared to read this book because I’ve heard how emotional it. While I did see why readers would have such a hard time, at times it was trying, beautiful, and crazy, I really enjoyed it. I can’t say that it broke me, or made me cry but I really loved the forbidden taboo aspect. Two children running and surviving was hard to read but it was also a beautiful concept. I’m not really sure how much to divulge but I will say Della and Ren are amazing characters.  The writing was amazing with past and present, the settings were unique and descriptive, the relationship with the different characters not only just Della and Ren were all plotted out and necessary. I really look forward to seeing what’s going to happen in the next book. I must be broken and that’s why I didn’t find it more emotional then I did. 4 stars #2OCCJD
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Ren was only ten years old when he escaped from a hellish existence of servitude and abuse. He had his freedom – but discovered he wasn’t totally free. He had unknowingly taken the daughter of his abusers. And he hated her for slowing him down, for the added responsibility. But those feelings changed and Della became everything to Ren. Uneducated but resourceful, responsible and wise beyond his years, Ren creates a life for the two of them that is unconventional but surprisingly stable.

"I often found my heart swelling with warmth for my young, tiny friend and cracking in pain knowing this life we shared couldn’t go on forever. She would eventually need more. She would eventually outgrow me." - Ren

Ren was a complex character. Selfless, protective, willing to do anything to provide for Della and do his absolute best by her. But he is also a product of his past – sold by his mother for a paltry sum, bought by a sadistic man for labor, forced to fight for his very survival – and that past has left its mark on Ren. Knowing he was unwanted and unloved, experiencing only cruelty and abuse, he understandably trusts no one (beyond Della), is suspicious of everyone, and feels unworthy of love or even simple kindness. Ren was always happier removed from society, away from people, surrounded by nature in the woods. But for Della, he sacrificed even that.

"She might have upset me, messed up my mind, and ruined my trust, but nothing could change the fact that where she was, I was happiest, and she was all I needed." - Ren

Told in dual points of view, The Boy and His Ribbon spans more than 15 years and follows the evolution of Ren and Della’s relationship from children to young adults and, in Ren’s case, adulthood. Their bond is close, their loyalty is unmatched, and their feelings change over time and morph into something beyond friendship, beyond companionship and beyond innocence. The boundaries of their relationship are tested and stretched - and they both suffer for it.

"How many times do you think a person can survive a broken heart? I would like to know because Ren has successfully broken mine, repaired it, shattered mine, fixed it, crushed mine, and somehow glued it back together again and again." - Della

Ren and Della’s story required a certain suspension of disbelief. (Because really, could a 10 year old boy really single-handedly care for a baby and raise her on his own? Could he provide food and care by himself year after year?) And at times the prose drifted into melodrama. But neither of those things stopped me from falling for their story. Whether the focus was on their day to day existence in the woods or in an abandoned building, or on their ever-changing dynamic and how it was impacted by other people in their lives, I was hooked. Ren and Della are not ordinary characters and their story is not a typical story. It was emotional and angsty, sweet and heartwarming, forbidden and heartbreaking. Winters never took the easy way out, didn’t hesitate to make her characters hurt, and when I thought I knew what direction the story was going to take, she threw in a twist that I didn’t see coming.

"How could you not fall in love with a boy like Ren Wild? How could you not fall in love with a boy who puts you first in everything, protects you at all costs, worships the ground you walk on, gives you things you didn’t know you wanted, who can hear your thoughts and see your fears? A boy who sacrificed so much without even telling you, leaving you heartbroken when you’re old enough to figure it out for yourself?" - Della

The Boy & His Ribbon is a different kind of story. It doesn’t follow the usual tropes and conventions. But I liked the differences and the unpredictability – even while the angst was doing me in and hurting my heart. Even while the cliffhanger left me heartsick and desperate for answers. When you’re in the mood for something out of the ordinary, something emotional that will captivate you and have you questioning what’s right and wrong, pick up The Boy & His Ribbon and experience Ren and Della’s story for yourself.
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This book really intrigued me. I was hooked from the start and was not able to put it down. I'm now very ready to read the next book in the series!
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Pepper Winters is an automatic must read for me. She is just legit. Her writing is flawless, and her stories are 100% original. The Boy and His Ribbon is no different. In typical Pepper fashion, I was enraptured from beginning to end.
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Wonderfully told story, typical of Pepper's writing style. I wasn't sure how she would do with a story like this, but she surpassed my expectations and I can't wait to read the second book.
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Initial thoughts immediately after reading: Original, captivating, thought-provoking, and completely unputdownable.

It's been a few weeks since I read this duet and I still can't get Della and Ren's story out of my mind. I am still reeling from reading their journey, and, honestly, I think I'll have to pick it up and reread it again. I am still blown away by this heartbreaking story that I know will stay with me for a long time. I don't think this review will do this book or this series justice, but I will try.

I'm open-minded, especially when it comes to love, but it's fair to say this story challenged my beliefs at times which I LOVED. I constantly found myself stopping and thinking deeply about the themes, especially the modern day notion of family. What exactly constitutes family? It goes beyond blood, in my opinion, and that is what made this story difficult to read at times. I felt the sibling bond between Della and Ren in their formative years and as their feelings transformed, I was uncomfortable, at first, until I had no choice but to root for them because I felt the deep, intense love they had for one another.

Ren was always her everything, and I could see how easily she could fall in love with him. It was more complex for Ren - he had been her carer since she was a baby and he fought the feelings brewing inside him. I admired him for that, even as it pained me. He was only existing, not living, so cut off from everyone and society and he didn't want to feel at all, except when it came to his ribbon. He needed control and order whether they were surviving in the woods or forced into shelter during the winter - once he felt in control, he was okay. When she started pushing him, forcing him to confront his feelings, to explore outside those boundaries, he started drowning and that's when he made choices that ended up hurting both of them.

Man, the feelings were so real. So raw. I felt every single emotion they were both feeling. It pulled my heartstrings, twisted my stomach into knots, and I was like an addict, devouring pages well into the early hours of the night.

Even though it was a morally wrong (I still believe that) I couldn't stop myself from wanting them to find a way to be together, because it was also so right. This internal dilemma playing through my mind the whole way through this first book only upped the angst factor for me and added to my enjoyment. At the end of the day, the heart wants who it wants and no amount of logical or forced morality can change that.

I loved both mains, but I loved how steadfast Della was, in particular. Even though she was young, she knew from an early age that what she felt for Ren was more than a crush, that it was the real deal, the kind of intense, soul-deep love very few people ever get to experience, and she never stopped fighting for it. I admired her strength and her resilience.

This book was beautifully written and executed. Character and plot development was flawless. I'm in awe of Pepper's profound understanding of the human psyche and she nailed the emotional journey of both mains. Completely nailed it. I deliberately held off reading my comp copy until the second book was released because I just knew that I would want to delve straight into the rest of the story immediately, and my gut instinct was right.

While this is a different story, it reminded me a little of Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. I remember similar conflicted feelings reading that brilliant story and how thought-provoking it was too.

In summary, this was a highly-emotive, angsty, unique romance that is superbly written and one I cannot recommend more highly.

Thank you so much to the author for providing a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own and I'm writing this review voluntarily.

What a fantastic introduction to Pepper Winter's books, and I definitely look forward to reading more.
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Emotionally intense read that pulls at your heart strings and leaves you feeling raw. This is not a stand alone book. I liked this book and will definitely read the next one.
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This was my first time reading Pepper Winters and I’m honestly disappointed that it took me so long. This book wasn’t what I was expecting but I absolutely loved how unique and well written it was. Ren and Della’s story is beautifully heartbreaking. Ren has demons. He went through things that no child should have to go through, things I could never even imagine. Yet, he was much wiser than his years. Even with a rough start, he became so loving and selfless, especially when it came to Della. I loved everything about their bond. It was so undeniably pure as they grew. However, nothing came easy. Especially in their lives. They faced challenge after challenge and broke my heart even more as I continued reading. I thought I’d have more mixed emotions about Della but at the end of the day, I’m proud of how she handled things. Being brought up the way she did, she seems a lot more put together than I would have thought. There was no denying her love and appreciation for Ren. I think what I liked the most about this book was how it was written. I loved how Pepper Winters weaved the chapters the way she did, as if someone was writing us a long letter, so that we could get both perspectives. It’s not something that I’d ever seen before but I definitely enjoyed. What crushed me however was how this story ends. While I knew something big was going to happen, I didn’t quite expect things to go quite that way. It makes me anxious to read book two.
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This book blew me away. I loved every second of it. This book completely consumed me and didn't let me come up for air until it was over. It is hauntingly beautiful and it absolutely took my breath away. I could not recommend this book enough.
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The Boy and His Ribbon is the first Pepper Winters novel I've read and I am not disappointed whatsoever. Winters is an incredible writer and this story exceeded all the expectations I ever had for a book with this description. I began reading and was honestly expecting a romance but this book was so much more than that – it was a coming of age story that explored relationships in a deeper aspect than romantic. Sure, there was some romance throughout the book but it was pretty unique how Winters takes the story and moves it forward.

The story follows Ren and Della over 18 years of their life – which gives the book this unprecedented feeling that it's going to be insanely long but with cleverly placed chapters, each chapter keeps you wanting to keep reading. The story itself is about the relationship between our two main characters, how the two build a bond through their struggle to survive and how they grow together. This is the first book, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what changes come about in the next book.

I really enjoyed watching these two grow up together from children to adults. Winters shows a unique relationship which is both gorgeous and heartbreaking at the same time – the bond between Ren and Della is a layer of intricate feelings. Ren is the elder of the two, who I found that I enjoyed reading about more than Della (though Della was just as interesting to read about, I'll get to her!) He was really great to read about, with a heartbreaking origin story as a child but still sacrificed more and more to raise a child. He suffered like no one should but still managed to push through into adulthood and beyond as a truly good man. I'm really looking forward to reading more about him in the next book.

Della, oh sweet Little Ribbon. Honestly, she's only human. We saw her as an infant grow into an adult, with all the reality of being a child and a teenager in between and I think that helped a lot when it came to realising that she was a child who really didn't want for anything. Whatever she wanted, Ren sacrificed to somehow appease her. At first, I placed it down to the fact that she was a child – and Ren wanting to set boundaries while raising her was a really good thing to see. Of course, as Della grew older, her want for everything kind of made her seem like a brat and the only reason I still liked Della in those particular scenes of extra brattiness was because the present day point of view from Della understood that she was being a brat. I think this awareness for present day really impacted on how I read about her when she was younger.

The bond between Ren and Della was possessive bordering on forbidden (actually sometimes falling into that "why am I reading this" category) – but I still really enjoyed it anyway. The entire story was incredibly written and epically emotional, and Winters does an amazing job in getting the reader to want to keep reading. And to want to read the next book, as the ending fell off an edge and tumbled into this abyss of "unfinished but to be continued."

This book was an emotional roller coaster, with moments of heart-pounding and moments of heartbreaking – honestly, I recommend this to anyone who wants a unique look on relationships, platonic or romantic, and the way we survive.
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Pepper has out done herself again with this book.  Strong characters and a great story line that will keep you entertained while reading this book.  I so couldn't put it down once I started reading it either and neither will you.  I can't wait to read more of her work either too.
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I can't breathe after reading this book it was amazing. I didn't expect anything less from this author. This has become my favorite book of this year. I really should have waited to read this until The Girl and his Ren came out. I don't think can survive until next month. There is a major cliffhanger at the end of this book.
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I think one of the things I loved most about this story was how ‘real’ it was. The background, the main characters, the side characters, the emotions, the hurdles, the triumphs, their story… everything felt so genuine and authentic, almost like I was reading the entries of a diary. My heart felt gutted for Ren right from the start. With what this young man had to endure, it was no wonder that he was suspicious, wary, and extremely averse to people in general. He’d never had the chance to know kindness and was instinctively distrustful of people who offered it. However, when it came to Della, he was always willing to sacrifice his own comfort for her happiness. His love for her far outweighed his natural urges and he would do anything to make her life better.
The way Ren looked at you made you suffer beneath his expectation and glow beneath his praise. He touched you deeper than any hand could read. He affected you harder than any spoken word ever could.
He cared with his entire soul and committed with entire being.

Everything Ren did was for the sake of Della, his ribbon. She was once everything he hated and became his very reason for existing. She was his world. He raised her from infancy and protected her from all perceived dangers. Somehow, despite his own ignorance, he was able to help her become the beautiful young woman she was. They survived the wilderness together and flourished from the generosity of a family that they couldn’t quite call their own. Through everything, his love for Della and hers for him grew deeper and their bond grew stronger. No matter what or who got in their path, it was always them against the world and no one and nothing could take the place the other had in their hearts. Well, except for each other. What happens when love becomes love and no one is equipped for the repercussions? The Boy and His Ribbon was a love story, but not in the traditional sense. It wasn’t romantic. It wasn’t pretty. And it hurt so bad while hurting so good. 
I’m living proof that a heart can be broken a thousand times and still function, still keep you alive - desperately hoping that it won’t happen again, all the while knowing it will.

While Della was a little harder to understand because she started off as a baby and this book ended with her as a coming-of-age adult, her intentions and feelings were clear. Well, clear enough. It was Ren who absolutely owned me though. He was humble, sensitive, wise, and so loving. The ways he loved Della left me in awe. He was selfless and generous, thoughtful and considerate. 
He carries this melancholy melody inside him that just makes me want to protect him and have him protect me at the same time.

The Boy and His Ribbon was proof of why Pepper Winters will always remain at the top of my must-read list. It’s books like this that make me drop anything else I’m doing to get my eyes on them. It’s why her books are always deliberate purchases for me. Her writing for this story was not only flawless, it was eloquent and evocative. It had me swinging from bouts of happiness and despair and right back again. The authenticity of her characters and her arguments have me completely devoted to learning how this story will turn out. I really need The Girl and Her Ren asap!! Now that the secrets are out in the open, I can’t wait to see how Della and Ren stitch themselves back together again. That cliffy damn near broke my heart and I’m ever hopeful that somehow these characters will give me the happy ending I’m looking for.
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♡Unrealistic Wild Forbidden Romance♡
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[ I wanted my freedom , and she was just another form of imprisonment.]
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This book..
My heart had literally clenched when I read this book. My feelings became so powerful, it was pure wilderness and magical.
There were parts where I literally shivered, I had gone in an ecstatic bliss.
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[Life away from people was the easiest path I’d ever chosen, and I wouldn’t give that up.]
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You may wonder that this might be a tad bit of exaggeration but no it's not. Everything in this story was too much overpowereing but that too much was not a bad thing that was THE BEST thing.
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[ I buckled under a different type of hunger. A hunger for something that offered safety even if everything around us was dangerous.]
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I was cursing and talking like a madman when I reached the end. That cliffhanger was a trauma
I was unable to form words..I still am unable to speak clearly to show my appreciation & make you all see what a PURE JEM this book is.
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[ He was my entire universe, and he treated me like I was his in return.]
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In this Jem of a story a diamond has shone itself & stole my heart just from a glance.
Ren Wild is THE BOOKBOYFRIEND.. no wait.. he's your THE BB and my EVERYTHING!!
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[Even as a boy, he was beautiful. Too beautiful to carry the depth of suspicion and guardedness he never fully shed]
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You'll fall for him.. your mind will spin when you read his story, you'll feel his pain & a glance to his tortured soul will want you to bear his scars & coccon him from this poisonous world.
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[I knew I would never let her down again.
I would die for her. I would live for her.
I would kill for her.]
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But in all of his pain there was this huge fucking ray of sunshine that brighten up his whole being. Who made him see the worth of his existence.
Della Ribbon was a mistake but she was the kind of mistake that he was thankful for.
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[ She was my one constant, and this was unknown, scary territory.]
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Pepper Winters you're THE QUEEN! You write words that just doesn't whisper to your heart but is a punch to the soul.
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[Something physical slammed into my chest. Something unmentionable and powerful and so damn pure, I’d never felt anything like it before.]
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She'll break your heart into pieces with a smile on her face & you'll be left with a dying soul and a shattering heart, with your eyes crying out but still a small smile would be edged on your face because it was all fucking worth it.
Every tear,
Eery heartbreak,
Every gasp that left my mouth,
Totally WORTH IT!
& That my lovely friend is The best part of this forbbiden romance story of The Boy & His Ribbon.
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[He made my entire life a jewellery box of special, sad, hard, happy, incredible moments that I want to wear each and every day.]
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This book ends with a massive cliffhanger so I don't want to blind you.. & that cliffy was a teareyed one.
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[Ren is my favourite word. I love every history attached to it. I love every pain lashed to it. I love the boy it belongs to.]
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I.. I want you all who is reading this review to READ THIS BOOK... Seriously if you want a push.. just message me.. BUT READ THIS BOOK...
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[ Trees couldn’t lie to you. Bushes couldn’t hurt you. Humans were complicated creatures, and smiles were full of poison.]
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As a fellows romancer reader..we always try to search a story that's out oftheboxhas angst and has the capability to just lure us right into the book... Well search no more because THIS IS THE BOOK YOU'RE SEARCHING FOR.
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I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The Boy and His Ribbon is a good coming-of-age story. It's about Ren Wild, a boy sold into slavery at the age of 8 and escaped his captors two years later. He longed for freedom but his life changed when he accidentally took his captors' infant daughter, Della Mclary. 

It was a depressing start for Ren and Della. I pity them for experiencing hardships at a young age. Being homeless kids, they have no choice but to survive by scavenging whatever they can. Ren almost resented Della for being his enemies' daughter but his fondness on Della prevails and he'll do everything to keep her from harm. Taking care of a child was a huge responsibility for a ten year old kid. He was a selfless boy throughout the book and I admire him for that. They have a solid familial bond and friendship but when Della gets older, it gradually develops into a taboo relationship.

The progress of the story was pretty slow and at one point it became boring and routinal. It takes a lot of patience and I'm glad I finished it. Ren and Della's relationship was thought-provoking by the time they've become grownups. I like Della's point of view, telling her story has a raw punch. She's intelligent, bold and always on point. Things got interesting on the last 30% of the book and I need to read the sequel the soonest. Overall, this is a good book. I wish some unimportant parts were cut off.
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WHYYYYY did I wait so long to read this? I didn't even realize it was a duet at first. Now I need the next one! 
This book is so good! It's heartbreaking and real. This book will rip you apart, have you flying through the pages dying to know what is happening! How it's going to go. Obviously, you can't find out in this book, but a girl can hope for a sliver of information! 
"What do you do when you meet your soul mate? No wait...that's too easy. What do you do when you meet your soul mate and have to spend a lifetime loving him in secret?
I'll tell you what you do.
You lie."
That statement could not be more perfect for this book. Two people growing up so closely together, knowing they can't cross that line, but being in love and never being able to act on it. You just lie. You lie to yourself, you lie to everyone around you and you lie to the one you love. The ONLY person you love. The only person who knows the real you. Wow. 
Della and Ren are thrown together in the strangest way, but Ren has a heart of gold and would do anything for Della, so he does. Over and over. 
This book truly broke my heart. I love that Pepper (that's my niece's middle name) can make this amazing story that leaves you needing more, but pondering all the pages before. I sit here and wonder could this possibly happen? Is it? 
I cannot wait for the next one!
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