Sunday, February 3, 2013

Book Review: The Secret of Ella and Micha

The Secret of Ella and Micha
(The Secret #1)
Published By: Borrowed Hearts Publishing
Publication Date:  October 4th, 2012
Page Count:  316 pages
Buy it at:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Source:  EBook Purchased by Reviewer
  Audience:  New Adult Contemporary
Recommended for ages 17+

There's something about characters with a lot of baggage that seems to pull me into a story.  Maybe it's the part of me that likes to fix things.  Or maybe it's the journey they take and how they (hopefully) overcome their trials and tribulations that appeals to me.  Or maybe it's what they go through at that age that makes my own issues at the time seem like small potatoes.  Perhaps it's a sizzling love-story that seems to overcome so much...or maybe it's just a little bit of all these are all the things I found and really loved in The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen.  Oh...and Micha himself!

Ella and Micha were best friends -- living next door to each other since they were small -- and over time, they became each others' world and safe haven.   They always had each other to help cope with their respective family problems...that is, until the lines of friendship between them becomes blurred as they got older...leaving one of them knowing exactly how their relationship should be and the other struggling to define their intense and complicated relationship for fear of ruining what they always had, which in itself, becomes part of their problems.

After a traumatic event in her life, Ella bails on her family and friends without warning and heads off to start a new life...literally.  She's normally a real feisty firecracker but she wants to change and become another person -- a better person in her mind -- with hopes of burying her guilt and leaving her past behind.  She was successful for the eight months she went to college but she had no where else to go but home once her first year of college was over.  During her summer break, she made her way back home and soon realized that not much had changed in her absence...including her...although she desperately wouldn't admit it.  But it was Micha, her best friend, who could see through her facade quite easily and it became his mission (or maybe obsession) to bring the old Ella back.

At first, it was a bit challenging being able to relate to Ella but I eventually understood her and the reasons she did what she did.  In the beginning, I kept shaking my head -- thinking to myself that this couldn't work for very long and she was only fooling herself.  You could change things about your life but you can't change, fundamentally, who you really are...but Ella stubbornly tried.  It was a learning experience she had to go through and I was totally enthralled with her journey.  The 'Old Ella' was physically described as a loud, outspoken, hot-goth-looking-chick who got into fights for mostly the right reasons (and sometimes for no reason).  I admired her willpower and sense of what was and wasn't right.  However, the 'Old Ella" got her and Micha in more trouble than both ever needed but it was funny how reminiscing about their pasts still brought a hidden smile to her face.  Could she find a happy medium, where she can be happy with who she is... and come to peace with her past?  Ella was still a little girl and a young woman all at the same time.  She had some growing up to do but at the same time, she showed maturity when it came to dealing with her brother and father.  Dealing with Micha was a whole other story...

Micha...OOOOOHHHH Micha.  At first, I didn't quite know what to make of him.  Originally, I thought he was this sexy but over-confident and cocky guy, too obsessive when it came to Ella and it sort of creeped me out.  But the more I got to know Micha, the more I understood the differences between an obsessive boyfriend and what Micha felt for Ella.  He was not arrogantly and negatively manipulative...he always let her make the final decision in whatever they did together.  When he was what you would classify being manipulative, it was with good intentions in coaxing out what Ella was trying to bury.  He knew what was good for her when she was confused and mixed-up.  Ella was his world....the only person he truly cared about, besides his mother and his other best friend Ethan.  Micha's appeal was complicated but it was hard not to fall hard for him and root for what he was fighting for.  And did I mention he was the quintessential bad-boy with a good heart?  He's definitely hard to resist!

Ella & Micha S.I.Z.Z.L.E. together.  Micha always knew they were meant to be together, but Ella, crippled by her guilt and other issues she was going through, had to work out some things first.  Micha was patient and let her call the shots.  The tension that built up between them was crazy!  Some people might label Ella a tease...but I also would defend her (like Micha also would) by pointing out that her heart and brain weren't always working together, and I actually applauded her for not taking things too far till she was emotionally ready. Did I say how irresistible Micha was?  They were both complicated people living complicated lives...and the ultimate question was...would they sort it out or not...together or apart?

I also have to mention Lila and Ethan...they were both a complete surprise!  I loved their contribution to this story and how they complimented both Ella and Micha.  At first, I had to admit, I sort of made up my mind too early about these two but they both turned out to be awesome characters in themselves.  Knowing that the third book seems to be focused on them, is not a disappointment to me in the least!

Told from alternating points of view, this book was really about both Ella's and Micha's journeys -- together and separately -- and equally, and I loved how the story's perspective switched at key moments.  I do have to mention that this novel is classified as 'New Adult', which means the audience it is intended for is 17 year olds and up, and in this case, this would be due to the sexual and mature situations and perhaps the language found in this story...this is not meant for younger teens.  Having said that, messages of responsibility and respect were not lost in this story, as well.  I thought the author was brilliant in helping us understand Ella and was easy for me to get totally invested in their lives.  I also loved how this part of their story had a conclusion, but there is more story to tell in the next book as they move on to the next phase in their lives, of which, I cannot wait to read more!


Ella and Micha have been best friends since they were kids. But one tragic night shatters their friendship and their lives forever.

Ella used to be a rule-breaker with fiery attitude who wore her heart on her sleeve. But she left everything behind when she went to college and transformed into someone that follows the rules, keeps everything together, and hides all her problems. But now it's summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home.

Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. If Micha tries to tempt the old her back, she knows that it will be hard to resist.

Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to bring his best friend, and the girl he loves back, no matter what it takes.


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