Note: While this review does not contain any spoilers for Sideswiped, it may have minor spoilers for Upside Down (Off The Map #1)
When I first read Talia and Bran’s story in Upside Down, they had my full attention. My mind was completely filled with the pair and I couldn’t even think about anything but them.
And now, in Sideswiped, they’ve come back for my heart.
Sideswiped picks a bit after where we left off Upside Down. Talia is all ready to complete her thesis in Australia and Bran seems to be going crazy without her with him.
But here’s the catch: Talia’s student visa is going to expire soon and she’s going to have to go back to California…unless she finds a way to be able to stay back in Australia. But there’s no “her” anymore. It’s “them” now, and both Talia and Bran have to make certain decisions that will change both their relationship and their professional ambitions.
Bran and Talia are living together in Hobart, trying to figure out how exactly to solve Talia’s little visa issue.
Most of the time I was reading Sideswiped, I couldn’t get over the fact of how unfair it all was! Talia had enough to deal with—her father who was roaming the world, her mother who was just the right amount of cruel to break Talia. Her guilt over her sister’s death. Her (currently) non-supportive boyfriend.
Bran had too much shit that was still raw enough to hurt. The entire incident with Adie and his deceased child. His lack of a relationship with his parents. His desperate need to want to pursue his career and his fear that if he should, he’d lose Talia.
In theory they were both too messed for each other but in practice, they were perfection, dammit!
Then why all this running around and messing up their perfection?
But then, how would they achieve true perfection unless they sort through their individual crap?
So I read on. And I cried for them and laughed with them and cheered with them and bawled for them. And I read on.
And it was so fucking worth it, I can’t even explain it without freaking out.
We get to see much more insight into each character’s mind, thanks to the dual POV. Also, a lot of character development takes place in Sideswiped. With Talia? Not so much. But with Bran? Whew. Trust me, if you’ve read Upside Down—and if you haven’t, you really shouldn’t be reading this review—the Bran in there and the Bran here could be two different people. Sure, he’s got his surly moments, and his woe-is-me moments and his I-don’t-deserve-her moments but he’s Bran and he’s different now so I’m willing to let it go.
While Talia fights hard to earn her place in the world, Bran gets more and more desperate to keep them both together. And just like that, I wanted to strangle Bran. I wanted to throw my heaviest hardcover at him and shake him and scream at him to change before it’s too late.
Miss Riley has a way with words no other author does. The way her words form witty banter, one-line quotes that break my heart and put it together again, and Bran.
I know this for a fact: Lia Riley has a special deal with the Almighty Himself for the way she writes Brandon Lockhart. He’s perfection even though he’s not. I also know that Miss Riley is just one of the people who are specifically tailored to make the world more beautiful with their writing.
So here’s my dilemma: Inside Out is the last book in the trilogy and I can’t wait to start reading it, even though I don’t want to lose my connection to Talia and Bran just yet.