By: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Buy it here!
At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry. For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it. To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.
To begin with, I’m going to confess something. I didn’t think I would like this book. I’ve mentioned before a few times that contemporary novels, especially novels which are predominantly concerned with romance, aren’t my favourite. However, in my 2016 #WriterResolutions post, I said that I wanted to branch out with my reading habits by going to different genres and trying new things. On top of that, I’ve heard so many positive things about Colleen Hoover’s books. I decided to put those two things together, and downloaded CONFESS to my kindle at the start of the year.
I think it took me three sittings to get through this whole book. In short; I really enjoyed it. The genre still isn’t my favourite, and this book didn’t make me want to go out and read a thousand other contemporary romance-y books (to be honest, I don’t know if any book ever will), but I’m really just full of praise for CONFESS. When I heard the premise of it, I thought that it’d be a great first Colleen Hoover book to read; Auburn is a girl who went through a difficult experience at fifteen, and Owen is a painter who paints people’s anonymous confessions. The two come together at the beginning of the novel, and throughout we learn of their secrets and confessions, and watch as they grow together while things threaten to pull them apart. I enjoyed the story, thought the writing was pretty impressive, and can see why Colleen has such a dedicated fanbase.
If you’re like me, looking for a first Colleen Hoover book to pick up; make it this one. It’s fast paced, and very entertaining. I promise that you’ll come out feeling more than a few feels too!
The book opens with a fifteen-year-old Auburn seeing her boyfriend, Adam, for the last time before he passes away. Let’s be honest; the prologue kind of breaks your heart a bit. We don’t see a lot of Adam, but his memory and legacy is carried throughout the entire book.
Fast-forward a few years, and a twenty-year-old Auburn is on the way home from a lawyer’s office (which isn’t really referenced again until later in the book, when it fills in the picture of why she was there and makes our hearts break just a little more) when she comes into the presence of Owen; a painter who is in desperate need of immediate help with a gallery showing in just a few hours. Auburn accepts the job, and the showing is a success. On the other hand, when we shift to Owen’s point-of-view, we learn that Owen has seen Auburn before. We don’t know how until the very end, and as I was reading, I found myself often wondering how he knew her, where they had met before. As the two grow close to each other, Auburn questions if she’s ready to move on from Adam and be with someone new. And Owen has to deal with hiding a massive secret from Auburn; that he was arrested for possession, and is likely going to be going to jail.
I really liked the characters in CONFESS, which honestly surprised me the most. In the few books that I’ve read which are mainly romance-y, I’ve found that the characters were flat and only existed to gaze lovingly into the eyes of their potential partners. In CONFESS, Owen and Auburn both have very detailed lives, and they both carry their flaws and imperfections with them. We learn about half-way through the book that Auburn actually has a five-year-old child who she doesn’t see much of anymore because the child’s grandmother — Adam’s mother — is a bit of an evil mother-in-law who is trying to raise the child as her own, likely as a replacement for losing Adam. When this huge, secret detail of her life is revealed, I immediately became ten times more invested in the character, rooting for her in everything she went through. Adam has a secret too, and as much as I was rooting for him too, I also wanted him to tell the truth to Auburn; he was arrested in place of his father, who the drugs really belonged to, and that he was being manipulated by Auburn’s son’s uncle, Trey. Trey, by the way, is probably one of my least favourite characters I’ve read. He’s just so awful, and evil, and ugh, he just made me feel extremely uncomfortable!
The ending was a bit of a rush, with people pointing guns at people (YAY Emory!), and blackmailing going down, and people swooping in to save the day, and Owen flushing his dad’s pills down the sink (my only moment where I stepped back and though, ‘Woah, too far’ was when Owen purposefully got rid of the medicine that he knew his dad actually needed), and Trey and Lydia being caught out in their attempts to gain full custody of Auburn’s child.
In the end, I was just really impressed by this book — and impressed that I enjoyed it as much as I did. It had great characters, great character development, and an entertaining plot. Mixed into the book, too, was the actual artwork that ‘Owen’ drew (the actual artist is a guy named Danny O’Connor), which are all insanely good. And also, the book is filled with confessions which Owen paints; though, the thing is, the confessions are all real, sent to Colleen Hoover by real people in the real world. Some of them made me laugh, but a lot of them really hit me in the gut. I won’t repeat any in this post, because I don’t feel like it’s my place to. If you want to see them, you’ll have to read the book.