Everyone has a limit.
It’s a six-hour flight from New York City to Los Angeles.
For Maddie Goodwright and her mom, it’s six hours that will change their lives as they leave behind broken relationships and shattered dreams. But a new school, a new home, and a new group of friends can’t heal the wounds of the past. To move forward, Maddie will have to reinvent herself.
When Maddie’s step-cousins take her to the local underground fight club, it’s only a matter of time before boxer Hayden Walker catches her eye. Strong, powerful, and confident—he’s everything Maddie isn’t, but definitely wants to be. Convincing Hayden to train her is hard, not falling for him will be even harder.
As Maddie transforms both inside and out of the ring, her past returns with a vengeance determined to ruin everything. Except this time he’s not ready for her to face him head on.
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5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 I would definitely be recommending this book to readers on my Instagram bookstagram account.
In the opening of this book, Maddie and her mother leave her father and move across the country to stay with her aunt and her family. Her father was manipulative, cruel, and controlling in some subtle and some not-so-subtle ways, known as “gaslighting”. When Maddie is reluctantly dragged by her cousins to a boxing match, she sees the boxers on the stage gaining a control over their lives that she covets. She decides to train at the local gym for a charity boxing match. The cute bad boy Hayden from her school becomes her trainer, and Maddie finally starts to learn how to live her life. The author has done a fabulous job of showing, not telling, what it’s like to suffer from gaslighting. Throughout the entire novel, Maddie questions herself. We’re given dozens of little anecdotes throughout the narrative, stories and memories that she has of her father and her mother. Some are good. Some are… not so good. In every instance, she questions herself, questions her memories, and questions her father’s intentions. Her perpetual confusion and distrust of herself is woven so intricately into the narrative, and as a reader, I genuinely felt these emotions alongside her. Maddie’s interactions with her mother are heartbreaking. As shown through the flashbacks, her mother has borne the brunt of her father’s manipulations. Her mother is merely a shell of who she was before she met him. While the book is told in first person solely from Maddie’s point of view, it’s interesting to see a similar character arc going on peripherally, in the background of Maddie’s story. Her mother is gradually regaining her strength and her happiness. Maddie’s interactions with those she meets in California are all coloured by her experiences. She has a subtle distrust of those she meets, including her new family members and classmates. When she meets Hayden, she’s warned that he’s a “bad boy” type and that she should stay away from him. Even once she gets to know the real him, she doubts both her judgment and her feelings. Her mother was so easily fooled by her father, so who’s to say that she’s any different? I loved how gradual her personal growth is; there’s no flip switched upon which she’s “cured” of the abuse she endured. It’s hard work and takes time, with some regressions along the way. This book has content that can be hard to read at times, but it has important themes of strength and hope threaded throughout the storyline. And of course, just because Maddie and her mother moved across the country to escape her father, doesn’t mean that the rest of the story will be sunshine and rainbows. They have a lot to overcome, and, as you can imagine, her father won’t give them up so easily… What happens next? Read the book to find out! I recommend this story to those who love an angsty, yet heartwarming young adult read. *This review will be live on November 30, 2021 on https://powerlibrarian.wordpress.com/2021/11/30/gaslight/ and will be posted later to Goodreads and Amazon.ca