Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “It’s time to pay your debt.”
Lost Without You picks up seven years after the events in the prequel, The Debt. If you haven’t read The Debt, no worries, it makes up the first half of this story. Fans who did read it will remember that Tommy did everything he could to keep his friends safe at the St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles and when he failed to do so, Tommy and the group finds themselves in debt to a very dangerous man Given the chance to escape the home and the system, the group splits and they all go their separate ways.
Seven years have passed since that awful night and besides Simon, Tommy hasn’t stayed in contact with the others in the group and that suits him just fine. The years haven’t been easy but he survived against the odds. When Clarissa is the one to contact and tell him the time has come to pay his debt, he is wary but relieved the wait is finally over. He is told he has 24 hours to secure a package and deliver to a specific address or suffer the consequences. When he arrives at the specified pick up, he is shocked to discover the package is his first and only love-Beth.
After all these years…Beth.
Beth aka Jada is a pop star whose meteoric rise to fame has left her lost and broken. The events of the past are never far from her thoughts and often fuel her bad decisions. Though we never learned exactly what landed her in St. Jude’s, the clues in here hint at greed, betrayal, and abuse. The endless parties and drugs are wearing on Beth, evident by the fact that her last half of her tour was canceled and she has come home to “recuperate.” When she wakes up in the back of a car with no memory of how she got there or why she sees Tommy and is shocked by how much she’s missed him…and still loves him. Realizing that she is being kidnapped by him and delivered somewhere against her will, Beth uses her memories of their past to try and reawaken Tommy’s feelings for her and get him on her side.
“I remember the time you put your hand up my skirt-”
“Remember? You pushed me up against the wall and you held my hand down on the counter-”
“Was that the same time or two times?” I knew, of course, I knew; it was two separate and amazing times. I was just trying to get under his skin. “I can’t remember. I’ve made up so many fucking fantasies about that art room. I’ve come thinking about-”
Lost Without You is an emotional road trip filled with sorrow, hope, regret, and redemption. The focus is on two people whose lives are still somewhat controlled by their shared past. O’Keefe doesn’t hold back as she divulges into this couple’s lives and shares their most intimate thoughts and deeds with us. Drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, self-harm… nothing is sacred. Well written with a strong narrative and a deliciously serpentine plotline, O’Keefe plays some of her cards close to the vest while tossing out others to placate the house.
Beth (Jada) and Tommy’s reunion is slow and bittersweet, showing just how much their lives have changed since they last saw each other. Tommy’s distress at seeing Beth again broke my heart as did Beth’s reaction when Tommy tells her he tried everything to forget her. Tommy and Beth are both chock full of guilt and for things that were out of their control. Tommy feels responsible for what he believes happened to Beth and for the debt they all incurred. Beth struggles with the guilt of her success, the abuse in the foster home, and the fact she was never able to find Tommy after that night.
I looked for his family. I’d tried to connect myself to every single part of him I could find. I’d thought I could fix things for him. Or something…And he’d been trying to forget me?
An intense and enlightening sexual reconnection blows the door of their suppressed feelings and lances old wounds, creating a catharsis that offers this couple hope that they may yet finally beat the odds stacked against them. A tense and informative climatic finale leaves readers in limbo with a rather traumatic cliffhanger and a slew of questions. Why did Rosa go to jail? Who exactly is Clarissa and what is her connection to Bates? Did Beth’s mom start all this? But never fear mes amies, we only have to wait one week for the release of book three-Where I Belong.