Recovered is everything I love about a Jay Crownover book, but taken to a next level that I wasn’t even sure existed.
If you start this book, you may want to clear your afternoon. You won’t want to leave Affton and Cable as they fight to overcome a force that has taken far too many good people from this world. Recovered is an incredible story that will help you appreciate just how hard it is to resist the pull of addiction, no matter what the drug of choice may be.
I hated Cable James McCaffrey.
He was entitled, spoiled, a user…and an addict.
He was out of control and didn’t bother trying to hide it.
He had everything anyone could want but still seemed miserable and lost.
Every move he made, every mistake he stumbled his way through, rubbed me the wrong way. However, I couldn’t stop myself from trying to save him from himself when no one else would. In the sweltering heat of the summer, Cable taught me that having it all means nothing if you can’t have the one thing you want more than anything else.
I was obsessed with Affton Reed.
She was rigid, uptight, and no fun. There was something about her innate goodness that called to me.
She acted like she was above all the normal faults and failures that clung to the rest of us like the scent of smoke after a fire. I was infatuated with her, but that didn’t stop me from acting like she didn’t exist.
In the scorching heat of summer, Affton taught me that there is always a way back from the brink of despair. She showed me that the trick to having it all was realizing that it was already there, in my hands. All I had to do was hold on to it.
The road to recovery is full of twists and turns no matter who is in the driver’s seat.
‘Recovered’ book review
Let’s face it: When it comes to bad boys, Jay Crownover is queen. She knows how to write painfully complex characters that have done bad things, but usually for reasons that prove they are nothing but good at their core. I fell behind reading this newsletter book last year from the beginning, so I decided to suffer hearing everyone be excited about it week after week, but wait until it was published. Boy, am I glad I did.
I only say that because it would have been torture to wait month to month for more from Affton and Cable. This story begged me to keep reading, and I obliged, despite the mountains of other things I should have been focusing on. I would put it down for a moment to work on something else, but would immediately find it impossible to focus. I needed to know how Cable was going to work his way through the pull of addiction, and how Affton was going to survive her pull toward the addict.
First of all, I need to talk about Affton’s ability to balance tough love and true love. She knew from the beginning that Cable had an effect on her, before they ever spoke, before they were anything more than students in the hallway. She also watched him sink into addiction, and you could tell she wanted to seal herself off from the effect he had on her body and mind. She never wanted to love another addict, but the draw to save him was too strong.
Affton managed to prove that she had the courage to stand up to this guy who treated most everyone as expendable, but also the compassion to care when he wanted nothing from anyone. She knew that in order to keep him from barreling toward the draw of his next fix, she was going to need to love and hate him in equal measure. Love the man, hate the addiction. Show the man enough love to prove to him someone cared, but not enough that it would trap him and make him run for his tried and true form of relief.
Cable, on the other hand, tried his best to isolate himself. He wanted to believe that he brought nothing but pain and heartache to everyone in his orbit, so that no one would care if he used, and eventually died from it. He wanted to be numb to the roller coaster of emotions adolescence brings because he was suffering in a home of unhappiness from the time he was young.
I spent the majority of this story just aching for Cable. Wanting him to want to be loved. Wanting him to want what Affton was offering. Wanting him to be honest about the things that tortured him so he could feel the relief that trusting the pain to someone else can bring. He is one of the most intensely broken men I’ve ever read in romance, but that made his progress that much more fulfilling.
I love where this story ends. I love that Cable isn’t the perfect recovering addict. I love that Affton and him don’t necessary live the picture perfect romance from the moment he shows up for her. I love that there will always be temptations that want to pull Cable from Affton, but that he’s strong enough to reach for help when they threaten his new normal.
I could not love this story more, and only time will tell if it can unseat Rome as my most favorite Jay story. It certainly has the potential to, as I find myself drawn to re-read this book even as I sit here having finished it less than 12 hours before. Recovered is a story I know I will revisit, because it begs for a second chance to advocate for second chances.