My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This Is Not the End is a beautiful story about unconventional love.
Rather than chapters, the story is split into two parts and an epilogue, each from a different POA. I liked this format. It worked well with the characters and plot.
“…marriage is less about how many people are in it and more about how happy you are.”
This Is Not the End is the story of married couple Anya and Zac, and Zac’s best friend and bandmate, Cal. Each character has a rich, distinct personality that meshes well with the others despite how different they each are.
Anya and Zac are both strong personalities and have great communication in their relationship. I enjoyed the insight into their marriage and family life. They take something as typical and conventional as marriage and a baby, and make it into something entirely unique to fit who they are.
Zac and Cal are polar opposites: Zac wears his heart on his sleeve, and Cal keeps his emotions locked up. They pair well as a rock duo and as friends for decades. The introduction of Anya (something that occurs well before this story begins) adds more depth to Zac and Cal’s relationship, in a way. Certainly, Cal sees Zac in a new light; he’s no longer the raucous rock star, bedding different partners every night…or so Cal believes.
Cal’s discomfort with Anya and Zac’s “arrangement” (for lack of a better word) is the center of the conflict. Out of the three, he is my favorite. He can be broody and judgmental, but I think that comes down to his lack of confidence in himself. There’s lots of turmoil in Cal, and I was surprised by his secret-to-Anya life.
There’s some angst and more than a few come-to-Jesus moments that, combined with the passion and love the three have for each other, make for a delightful read. And I cannot end this review without including one of my favorite quotes:
“Stop trying to make love to me, you nerd.”
***Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.***