18-year-old Ellie has never known her father, lived with her verbally abusive mother and the only savior she has is her older brother Jefferson. All of Ellie’s life she has been told by her mother that she will never be wanted or loved. Ellie tried to have boyfriends and found because she wasn’t willing to have sex with them they would turn to another girl and cheat on her. Of course this just confirmed Ellie’s mantra that her mother planted in her head, she will never find love and be wanted.
One day at school, after finding her boyfriend having sex with another girl, Ellie hits her boyfriend. Her brother Jefferson and his best friend Gunner comes to her rescue and takes her to their home to try to heal her broken heart and her hand. Ari, Ellie’s best friend, goes with them because she has a secret crush on Jefferson. Jeff has always made it a mission to take care of his little sister since he is all she has. He has protected her from his friends and any other danger he could predict, but his mother had already done the damage to Ellie and her self-confidence. It was more than heart warming to see a big brother love his little sister like that and play mom, dad and brother as well as best friend while trying to have a life of his own.
Gunner is faced with the fact that he has just met Jeff’s sister for the first time but he is sure he wants more in life than football and having a ranch. His heart wants Ellie. As time goes on Ellie realizes that Gunner brings feelings to her heart and body that she didn’t even recognize. How can Ellie stop playing the old tapes of her mother voice saying she would never be wanted and trust that Gunner isn’t going to hurt her and leave. NO one like Gunner would want someone like Ellie was all she could think about.
As the story progresses Gunner opens Ellie up to a world of first. Going to his grandparents ranch, seeing the night stars from the country view, feeling love and oh yes other body sensations. He decides that from now on, every first that Ellie has, he wants to make it happen. Of course this isn’t going to be easy since Ellie’s insecurities have her running at the first sign of trouble. Gunner didn’t have a picture perfect childhood, his father pushed him away because Gunner wanted to play football and one day take over his grandparents ranch. As a side note, Gunner gives new meaning to any sentence when he says baby or sweetheart………….yes he has that heart melting ability.
Ari decides for herself that she is going to make Jefferson realize he does love her and they are going to have a future together. So we get to see this back and forth between two very stubborn and spit fire personalities. It is comical to watch and also heart breaking at times. Jefferson sees Ari as his little sisters best friend since forever. All he has ever known her as is Squirt. Jeff struggles to stop seeing Ari as a young talkative kid and accept that he loves this woman and wants to start a life with her. Good thing Ari is a stubborn wild child and never gives up on him. Let’s just hope that Rebecca, who is seven months pregnant, won’t come back from Jeff’s past and ruin what he and Ari are trying to build.
I loved this book because it was real. The characters were real, the story was real. I did read some reviews that question the maturity of Ellie and her behavior. I think the author did a WONDERFUL job at showing just how damaging a parent can be when they aren’t supportive and encouraging to their child. Wanted gives you the view of two kids who grew up without a father and had to deal with a mother who was drunk. Each child came out of that hell with a different view on life and personality. Gunner lets you see how he views life after knowing he never lived up to his dad’s expectations and his mother wasn’t strong enough to defend her child. This is life readers, each person takes their baggage and uses it as a lens to see the world. If you want fantasy this isn’t it, this is raw realization of the damage parents can cause their kids, but it is also a clear picture of what determination and love can do to mend those old wounds.
I could emotionally invest in each character and I could hardly wait to see what happen next. There was no need in trying to figure out how a scene could work, because the author made each event clear, the story flowed very well and there was no room for confusion. I had to make sure I had the second book on the kindle before I was even done with this one, because there was just no time to waste in finding out what happens next. When book one ended Ellie and Gunner were starting a new phase in their life and it was intense…….I literally yelled you can’t stop here. From reading the reviews on Saved, I am guessing we may have to give Kelly Elliott the title of Queen of Cliff Hangers.
Reviews for Wanted on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wanted-Kelly-Elliott/product-reviews
Connect with Kelly Elliott on her author page with Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellyElliottAuthor?fref=ts