Series: Toby and Claudia #2
on June 1st, 2017
Genres: Young Adult
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
How do you love someone whose past goes against everything you’ve ever known or trust in a future you’ve yet to believe in?
Back home in a town she once fled, headstrong Claudia Chiametti returns to the arms of the only guy ever to awaken her heart. Everything about Toby contradicts her family’s traditions and values, but she’s ready to take a chance on love.
Toby Faye is a new man, and the girl he’s long dreamed of is finally within his reach. With Claudia’s help, he’s put the past behind him. But one last secret hides in the dark corner of his past. The one that could undermine it all.
Can Claudia love him unconditionally … or will the truth cost Toby what he wants most?
Keeping Claudia is the emotional finale to the love story that began in Saving Toby, an unforgettable journey of a couple who discover the only way to love someone is with an open heart.
Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is hard.
Full length, Contemporary Love Story.
Recommended Reading Age 18+
Though part of a series, may be read as standalone.
Like the other readers who started on Claudia and Toby’s journey some 3 years ago, I have been anticipating the return to their story. All these years later and I still count Saving Toby one of the best (and certainly a favorite ) YA books that I’ve read. So, was this all that I hoped for? My answer – a resounding YES!! It’s all that and much, much more.
The story picks up with Claudia’s college graduation and the question of where she might decide to complete her graduate degree. If she stays in California, their relationship ( friends or otherwise) is challenged by distance. If she makes the move home to Long Island, well that brings a whole new set of problems. Some good and some bad, making this an incredibly emotional, roller-coaster of a reading experience.
Suzanne McKenna Link devised a path for Toby and Claudia that would test the simple truths that they thought they could successfully work through. It’s lovely seeing these two get closer, finding what makes them happy in being together. They seem to be on the same page, but when life events test out what they thought they agreed upon, and these are not simple decisions nor challenges, you can feel they are headed towards reckoning and diverging paths.
Claudia and Toby have always, and will likely always, be faced with the differences of their upbringings. Both have transformed into more accepting adults but Toby’s past and Claudia’s co-dependencies continue to be a sources of contention. Too many people meddle in their relationship and try to drive rifts between them. If they were stronger, it might not matter. But their love is relatively young and there are so many outside factors influencing the outcome of a them. AGAIN ! I really ached for this couple and while they do transform, they really have to fight for themselves and each other.
The story is fast paced, but not rushed. It’s driven by the challenges they face and is very much a about how each character faces adversity and that undeniable fact that they are meant for each other. Her characters are well developed which is why I connected with them so strongly in both books. There were moments that I cringed and was sure certain things were going to happen that might blow any chance they would have for a future. It was impossible for me to stop at any point while reading this making for a late night /early morning read.
In looking back at my review on saving Toby, I am seeing just what a parallel reading experience this was ~ (view spoiler)[ Ultimately, the story and the characters and the emotions elicited by it actually charged me ~ it’s a book hangover in a new form or maybe I just haven’t had a reaction like this in along while. Every moment I spent reading this book, I was thoroughly absorbed in the characters and the outcome of the situations they were put in. I felt every emotion as though it was my own, the emotion of newly discovered love, newly discovered friendships, that moment of wanting a person you feel you can’t or won’t have, and the deep sense of loss when things go utterly and completely wrong (hide spoiler)] I truly felt that pit in my stomach and the rush of happiness when these two actually gave each other the compassion and tenderness they actually felt for each other. With Keeping Claudia, Suzanne McKenna Link met all my expectations for an emotion filled read. This is a very satisfying conclusion to Toby and Claudia’s questionable future and made for another favorite in my YA/NYA collection. 5 Stars and duet/series recommendation!!
~Review By Cyndi
Suzanne McKenna Link works for a family of newspapers that cover events in and around the South Shore of Long Island, New York. She lives in the town of Sayville with her husband and two children.
SAVING TOBY is her debut novel. The literary love story follows the moving journey of a damaged young man and his love for a girl who might just save him. An avid interest in psychology has Suzanne digging deep into the reasons for her characters’ behaviors. The native Long Islander is fascinated by the how and why of people’s actions. As a result, her characters come to life on the pages.
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