Oh man, I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for Gus to be released. Like, since only moments after putting down Kim Holden's inspiring Bright Side book, I've been anxiously awaiting the follow up story of Gus and how he continues on with his life without Kate.
Gus picks up just weeks after where Bright Side ended, with the death of the amazing Kate. Her best friend in the whole world, Gus, is left with his life in shambles. Unfortunately, his mega successful band, Rook, is touring the world and he must follow. While touring he uses his time drinking and basically whoring himself just to get through his grief, to get through each day without his other half.
Throughout the story, we feel Gus' pain, his anguish, his heartbreak over and over again. Holden does such an amazing job of taking us through his grief and allowing us to feel it with him and to experience that loss as well. It's not pretty. Sometimes it's the same feelings playing over repeatedly, but that's what makes it seem so very real. Anyone who has lost someone so significant in their life would likely agree. She helps us feel Gus' hopelessness, his confusion, and his ultimate sense of loss because he is simply lost without his Bright Side. He doesn't even know how to function without her.
Although we see that Gus relied on Kate (maybe a little to dependent actually!) to see the good in the world and to believe in himself, he slowly starts to come to his own epiphany. He begins to realize that HE is the one in control of his destiny. HE is the one that decides if he's going to wallow in sadness forever or pull himself together not just for himself and his band, but also for Kate. And maybe, also for someone else who enters his life...Gus realizes that sometimes doing epic isn't easy. Sometimes it's making hard choices and breaking down barriers. Sometimes it's hanging on to that small life line when all you want to do is run.
I was so exited for this book to come out because I was just slayed by the emotion that Bright Side evoked in me. This was my most anticipated book for 2015 in fact. I felt so sad for Gus and wanted so badly for him to be able to have his happily-ever-after, after losing his first love. I expected for Gus to come at me with a lot of that same powerful emotion, but it didn't. I didn't find myself weeping inconsolably while reading this one, though it still tugged at me throughout. I feel like it was absolutely appropriate in how it dealt with the aftermath of Kate's death and in still giving Gus an interesting story.
The only thing I didn't care for in this story is how little of a part Keller was given. I almost feel like if his role was so small that maybe it wasn't necessary at all. Like, Holden just gave us this little teeny tiny taste and I wanted more. Don't tease me with that piddly stuff! I know she said she wasn't going to write a Keller book, but I still wish she would. His story deserves to be told as well because we still don't really see or understand how he was able to heal after losing Kate.
I think overall though, I really liked this book. It wasn't at all what I expected and this time, I'm okay with that. I am happy that Gus found closure (and me too!) and even more so, I adore the fact that he was "healed" with love...because that right there is epic!