I loved this book because the characters were fascinating and I was immediately invested in Emira's life and her relationship with Briar.
Briar sounded adorable and Emira truly wanting what's best for her was heart-warming. It took me until the end of the book to realize that whenever they mentioned baby Catherine, there was some comment about how she looked "just like a mini Alix," and that was a reason she doted on her more. Together with Briar's mannerisms and deep questioning of things, I wonder if she is meant to be autistic or perhaps have down syndrome and that contributes to her mother's hesitancy with her. Every scene with her and "Mira," melted my heart.
Emira herself is a cool charcter, finding herself in the place of many twenty-somethings (and even now, thirty-somethings) that teeter between having fun and barely keeping it together. I love how the book sets up these conflicts between her, Alix, and Kelley, with each of them trying to push her towards what they want, and ultimately it is her best friend Zara who gets her to pick a direction and act, because she is a dependable and supportive friend who knows her best and trusts Emira can get herself out of this fiasco.
Reid writes with enough detail to feel each of the locations intimately while not overdoing it. Her ability to get into the mindset of the main trio and really weave a tangled web of guilty pasts and shifting of blame is amazing. I was debating from the side of Alix and Kelley back and forth the whole book, and damn if I didn't do a fist pump in solidarity when Emira decided neither person was worth her effort or time and chose her go with her own agency and independence. The opening scene in the Market sets her up as stronger and more capable than she knows, and even when she tries to avoid the whole situation and sweep it under the rug, she does have to face it and come to terms with how two important people (boss and boyfriend) see her as a means to an end and not for her own self.
Side notes: The scene at the end where Zara brings Emira her bag in the bathroom and Emira proceeds to look for her "baby hairs" toothbrush, I guess to smooth them down(?) was an interesting detail. I enjoy the opportunity to pick up a random piece of common knowledge that other people possess and use in everyday life but you know nothing about.
Also: yay for a couple of steamy but not sappy sex scenes!