While the first book, Good, in this series was more controversal, I found Better to be more about picking up the pieces and making a life for yourself. Cadence and Mark was now free to be together, yet little did they know the adjustments that was going to have to be made to make this work.
Cadence was 18, she hadn’t even had a chance to be on her own and here she was running from her parents house in the middle of the night to move in with her boyfriend/former high school teacher. She had to finish her senior year of high school without her parents support. Her father disowned her and being that they were from a religious family, her mother went along with her father because he was the head of the house. Cadence made a family out of people that she had found along the way.
Mark lost his job as a high school teacher and was trying to find another job. He eventually did but the dream of going back to school to get his masters was now threatened because it was more important to him that Cadence get a college degree so she could open her own flower shop as she wanted. He also had skeletons in his closet that he knew he was going to have to reveal to Cadence soon, but there never seem to be a good time.
Cadence found the evidence she needed that confirmed Mark was keeping something from her. When she confronted him about it, he didn’t react so kindly and this is where they began to fall apart. We must remember Cadence was 18, wanting to know what it was like to be a normal teenager/young adult, living in the dorms, going to school, having a family. Just being free to enjoy her life. The news Mark gave her wasn’t easy for her to hear and accept, nor did she know how to handle his anger. She went into a revenge/rebellion period that most men would have walked away from. Mark on the other hand, waited her out, picked her up when she fell and loved her back from the numb state she lived in for a while.
Mark, being ten years older than Cadence, and much wiser than her, waited patiently for her to get it out of her system but he found he did have his limits. I didn’t enjoy watching Cadence go through the turmoil and how she handled things, I felt at times Mark was being to patient with her but I LOVED watching them beat the odds and figure it out. Just as with the first book, the characters were so well written, I could understand and feel empathy for them. I could understand their reasoning that it was worth the fight to validate everything they had lost to just be together. Some readers might be put off by Cadence’s immature behavior but I ask that you remember she grew up in a Bible thumping house with restrictions that didn’t let her do her own thinking. She was shoved out in a world that was cruel and harsh because she didn’t obey her father’s rules. She refused to become the sheep led around like her mother had accepted in life. She had to grow up fast. I hope that doesn’t get lost on the readers, yes I was at times wanting to scream “GROW UP CADENCE”, but then I realized we were watching her grow up right before our eyes.
I loved this series, it has stayed with me since I read Good a few months ago. It is a coming of age story for Cadence and a brand new start at life for Mark. He carries a lot of pain and anger from his past around with him, watching him let it go so he can love Cadence was emotional at times. I am thankful that the author took us far in this story. We received some closure at the end of the book, we know that they are going to be fine in life. I highly recommend this series.