Finding It (Losing It #3) by Cora Carmack
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Goodreads • Amazon
Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong...
Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She's having the time of her life . . . or that's what she keeps telling herself.
It's a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you're afraid you won't like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey's loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey's mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.
Occasionally a book comes along that I love so much, that I relate to so well, that I want to just throw up my arms, say "fuck the system," and add a very petulant sixth star. And then proceed to stick out my tongue and gloat about it. I'm seriously four on the inside.
Anyway, Finding It is one such book. I'm really not sure how to adequately convey how much I loved this book. So, prepare for the awkwardness that is me trying.
"Everyone deserves one grand adventure, that one time in life that we always get to point back to and say, 'Then... then I was really living.'" (Location 38, Page 1)
We met Kelsey in Losing It, back when Bliss and the gang were still in college and life was simpler. In order to find her new direction, Kelsey Summers took off on a trek across Europe - to party or find herself or run from her problems. Maybe some of each. This book so poignantly captured the feeling of being at a stage in life that makes you feel like you're obligated to have all of your shit together, when, ironically, most of us don't have a clue. It was a feeling we've all had and it was like I ached with how much I could relate to it. (If it's not clear yet, my feelings are a little on the dramatic side, but, hey, they're honest.) Take the following for instance:
"I knew I was lucky. Blessed, even. But it was a lot of pressure... trying not to waste what you've been given. I wanted to accomplish something. To love something. To be something. But I didn't know how. I didn't know what." (Location 439, Page 31)
I dare someone to claim they've never felt this way with a straight face. The world is so focused on comparing hardships to assign value to them. But we all need to realize that accomplishments are accomplishments because they are difficult and there is no reason to place one over another. (/rant) The sentiment behind this is basically the twenty-something (and beyond) condition.
"Sure, I had no fucking clue what I was doing with my life or where I fit in this world, but I was a part of it all the same. I'd left footprints across the globe, and though you couldn't see them and they didn't necessarily matter, I knew they were there. And that was enough for now. It had to be enough." (Location 1408, Page 106)
"This funny thing happens when you graduate college. You hear so much about being an adult that you start to feel like you have to become a different person overnight, that growing up means being not you. And you concentrate so much on living up to the term "adult" that you forget growing up happens by living, not by sheer force of will." (Location 1807, Page 136)
I mean, really? That's just... god. I don't even know. I wanted to weep with how true Kelsey's feeling felt to me. It was incredible, and the book had barely started!
And, of course, because it's Cora Carmack and she's amazing, all of this gut-wrenching honesty was delivered with the kind of humor that's perfect and the kind of awkwardness we don't want to admit to living. And I felt Kelsey was especially hilarious. I've always loved Cora's female protags, but Kelsey was just so up-front. Her inner musings and wit made her the kind of person you really want to get to know. Here are a few of my favorites:
"There was no room for unhappiness when squeezed between two sets of washboard abs.
New life motto, right there." (Location 125, Page 7)
"He lifted both hands above his head to hold on to the bar, and it revealed that same section of skin at his waist that had been driving me crazy for the better part of twelve hours
My mouth went dry.
Would it be weird if I reached out and touched the toned muscle there? With my face?" (Location 1719, Page 129)
''My brain is too foggy with sleep to pick which way to kill you, but give me five minutes and I'll figure it out.'
'Sharks,' I said. 'I would like to give you a few paper cuts and feed you to sharks.'
'I don't think there are sharks in Switzerland.'
'Then I'll find an aquarium!'" (Location 2381, Page 180)
"His abs could have rivaled all of Tuscany for the most gorgeous rolling hills I had ever seen." (Location 2472, Page 187)
I actually laughed out loud a few times. I really need to learn to be more discretionary about what I read in public, because I'm pretty sure I looked completely nuts. So it goes.
But, of course, beneath all the humor and bravado Kelsey was still struggling. With what is, truthfully, more than any girl should have to handle in a perfect world. She was the picture of perfection that hid a lot of darkness. And watching her come out of it, with Jackson's help, was really something beautiful. And she's just so funny. I love this girl.
"'Come on, princess. Let's see what kind of trouble we can get into.'
I wanted to get into all of the trouble with him. Every kind. Multiple times preferably." (Location 1740, Page 131)
Which brings us to Jackson Hunt himself. Oh. My. God. The swoon factor was absolutely ridiculous. At times, I felt a bit like I was cheating on Garrick and Cade (a similar feeling to when I first read Faking It), but I've just come to the realization that each Cora guy is going to inspire this feeling, determined only by the last book I read. She's that good. Need proof?
"He kissed me carefully, thoroughly, like a man who knew that desire hid with the devil in the details." (Location 1017, Page 75)
"'People find home in new places, new dreams, new people all the time. Home should be effortless, like gravity.'" (Location 1757, Page 132)
"'The best parts of life are the things we can't plan. And it's a lot harder to find happiness if you're only searching in one place. Sometimes, you just have to throw away the map. Admit that you don't know where you're going and stop pressuring yourself to figure it out. Besides... a map is a life someone else already lived. It's more fun to make your own.'" (Location 1779, Page 134)
"'I'm going to kiss you, princess. But not now, not when you're telling me to. Not when it's just something you want to check off a list. I'll kiss you when it counts.'" (Location 1860, Page 140)
It's not even fair how wonderful he is. And the emotionally-wounded soldier bit is just too much. This is a Book Boyfriend capable of ruining all real boyfriends in one fell swoop.
Their story was beautiful in the way they helped each other heal, and I became so invested that I lived in fear of the inevitable fallout. Because it had to happen and even though I knew they would come out of it, I still didn't want it to happen. And then this:
"If I believed the stories I learned growing up, God made the world in six days and on the seventh day he rested. I wondered if, like me, the eighth day was when he watched it all begin to unravel." (Location 2934, Page 224)
My brain was just a chorus of "no, no, no" and adamant denial. And then the breakdown wasn't too bad and I began to think, "hey, maybe this won't carve my heart out with a rusty spoon!" Yeah, I know. Pesky idealism.
"It's a quiet thing when your heart breaks. I thought it would be loud, louder even than the air rushing around us when we'd dove off that bridge. I thought it would drown everything else out.
But it happened like a whisper. A small, clean split. It broke in a second, and the pain was little more than a pinprick.
It's the echo that kills you. Like the echo inside the Grotta Azzura, that tiny little sound kept bouncing around the cavern of my ribs, getting louder and louder. It multiplied until I heard a hundred hearts breaking, a thousand, more. All of them mine." (Location 3614, Page 278)
Oh, god. The feels. I didn't see it coming, which made it that much worse. It was heartbreaking and the outpouring of emotion it caused in me was a little humiliating, but it just made it that much better when this happened:
"I said, 'Let's go home.'
He kissed me again with the same detail, the same intricacy I saw in his sketches. Fire raged everywhere our skin met, and he said, 'I'm already there.'" (Location 3998, Page 307)
Finding It was quite possibly my favorite of Cora Carmack's books. It's really hard for me to tell. But regardless, it was fantastic and should be read by all. She's a truly incredible author, and this book just further proves it. Just go read it. And also follow her on Twitter and Facebook because she's adorable and awesome and... yeah. She makes me fangirl a little. This isn't even the first time. I'll stop embarrassing myself now.
And with that, I return to my combo book hangover/emotional coma.
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. She's a New York Times and USA Today bestseller... and a nerd (mostly the nerd part).