Down London Road by Samantha Young (On Dublin Street #2)
Released: May 7, 2013
Reviewed by Mandi and Tori
Mandi: After really enjoying Samantha Young’s adult debut last year, On Dublin Street, I was intrigued to see what she would do in her second book. Down London Road turned out to be a somewhat darker, more intense book than Dublin, and I really like the direction Samantha takes.
The author takes great care in getting the reader to know Johanna or Jo, and her teenaged brother Cole whom she parents. Her father is not in the picture and her mother is a severe alcoholic who can barely leave her room, and when she does, is extremely nasty to both Jo and Cole. But as Cole is still a minor, Jo fears about reporting her mother’s behavior to the authorities as they might take Cole away from her.
Tori, before we even bring up our hero Cameron, let’s talk about Jo for a minute. I ended up really enjoying her and I think she is my most favorite thing in this story. She has given up on herself and her future. She has an intense need to feel safe and to be able to take care of Cole, she only dates older, wealthy men one day hoping to marry one of them, so her future is secure. She would rather live a life that is fake, than risk her future with her brother. What are your thoughts?
Tori: Mandi, I absolutely positively adored Jo. In On Dublin Street, we are given the impression that Jo is nothing more than a flaky girl looking for a sugar daddy; someone to buy her pretty things for sex. Yet, in here, we are quickly disabused of that first impression. Once I met the real Jo, I fell for her hard. So strong and selfless, I was impressed by her tenacity. She had no problems with anyone thinking bad of her as long as her brother was safe. Well, she had no problems until she met Cameron McCabe. A smoking hot twenty something bad boy artist whom Jo meets at her current boyfriend’s ex girlfriend’s art show. I admit, I did not like Cam in the beginning. His preconceived notions towards Jo made me want to punch him right in the nose. What about you Mandi? Did you love Cam or hate him in the beginning?
Mandi: Yes, his preconceived notions were baaaaad. But I also like how he is upfront about his mistake and makes it right with her. And she accepts that as well. I like how he is a bit pushy into coming into her life, and once he understands who the real Jo is, he doesn’t judge her nor pity her living situation. He stands up for her, and is there for support. Also loved his relationship with Cole, Jo’s brother. I think Samantha Young writes a nice teenager – a good mix of young and maturity.
One thing I was kind of taken aback by is how Joss, (heroine from Dublin Street) treats Jo. She is very abrupt and upfront, sometimes to the point, I wanted to smack her and Cam together. I know that was her attitude in book one, but it just surprised me here. Did you like Joss in this one?
Tori: Cam redeems himself in my eyes and heart when he becomes the friend Jo needs. His lack of judgment is a balm to Jo’s heart. Her brother Cole rocked it in here. His mixture of vulnerability and protectiveness towards Jo made my heart just melt. His love for Jo is physically felt. I also liked how he stood up for her with Cam. Ms. Young does write a good teenager. As both Cole and Hannah show.
Yes, I was surprised by Joss and a little put out. Apparently, she is coming out of her shell. LOL I was put off by her lack of social conscience though. She didn’t seem this clueless in Dublin. I’m glad Braden is there to remind her, though. Another person who surprised me was Ellie. While Joss didn’t seem that cantankerous in book one, neither did Ellie seem so…tinkerbell-ish. I knew she was super nice but she was all pouts and squeees in here. Weird.
One person I truly felt for was Malcolm (Jo’s ex-boyfriend). I liked him and it was sad watching him slowly acknowledge his love for Jo. He became a bigger part of the book then I expected. What did you think of Malcolm?
Mandi: I thought she did a nice thing with Malcolm, making him NOT the baddie-ex. I really liked that. It showed maturity on both sides.
I felt the end was tad too dramatic for me, but overall I think the build-up to Cam and Jo’s relationship and the way their love unfolds is done well. My favorite part is watching Jo’s self confidence build. How she gets mad at Cam because he makes her want things in life that she was previously too scared to even dream of. (Like when she quits her job). He not only gives her his sexy body (well hello there!) but he gives her confidence and security where she never thought she would find it. That right there is love.
Tori, take us home. What are your final thoughts?
Tori: I agree. I like that Malcolm wasn’t made an arse for the sake of story and to facilitate the storyline and HEA. I actually liked the drama at the end and you KNOW how I feel about overblown drama. Tres irritating. I think it needed to be done in order to address the remaining insecurities between Cam and Jo. Jo needed to know Cam was not going to leave her and Cam needed to know Jo felt the same way he did.
Seeing Jo grow emotionally and mentally was the highlight of the book for me. It was done so well with the additional character inputs and the balance between the romance and the plot lines.
All in all, Down London Street was much, much more than I expected it to be. A deceptively complex romantic contemporary that will have you laughing, crying, and swooning with delight. I’m thrilled Ms. Young didn’t succomb to the sophomoric slump that often happens after a star shining debut. I look forward to reading more from Ms Young and recently heard that she has signed a deal with Penguin/NAL for one more book and will be releasing a novella, Under the Fountain, in June.
Favorite Quote: “What I feel for you…it’s all consuming. It’s debilitating. It’s too much. It’s…I can’t even describe it, but being with you is…there’s this intensity inside me all the time. this…constant pull, desperation…it’s like you’re branded on me or something. And it bloody well burns.”
Mandi: Rating: B+.
Favorite Quote: Cameron MacCabe. You charmer, you. You’re changing my life.