Leo features all the clichés of a romance story packed tightly in only 193 pages! So, essentially, it was one big eye roll. This review will contain quotes from the novel that might be on the more spoilerly side, so you’ve been warned!
Leo follows Evie as she’s slowly getting her life together after being raised in foster homes. In those foster homes she met Leo, a young boy she falls in love with, who is desperate for family and forced to grow up more quickly than he should have. Leo is adopted and forced to move across the country. He promises to always keep in touch and to rescue her when she turns eighteen, but she never hears from him again. A mysterious man named Jake appears.
The story oscillates between chapters from the present and from the past. This choice in narrative is the only element the author chose correctly. Often times, when a story features a lost romance/friendship it’s never shown in detail because it’s just assumed the reader will see the chemistry between the characters. Leo does a decent job of cementing Evie and Leo’s past relationship. However, Leo is an awful character that deserves to be slapped in the head. Some of the first lines of dialogue from Leo are disgustingly misogynistic and possessive.
“[…] You. Are. Mine. I’ll wait for you. And I want you to wait for me. Promise me you won’t let anyone else touch you. Promise me you’ll save your self for me, and only me.”
And the possessive lines don’t stop there!
“Evie, what I mean is, when I fuck you, you’re going to be mine. Is that clear enough for you?”
“ ‘See you tonight. And, Evie, pack an overnight bag.’
‘What –’ I sputter, but he’s already gone.”
“He rips his mouth from mine as he growls, ‘mine. Only mine. Only. Ever. Mine.’ ”
Once the story begins in the present, every romance cliché and trope you can think of is utilized to its fullest extent. Evie is an innocent twenty-one year old virgin. Jake is a rich man whore who owns a company. Evie is submissive. Jake is dominant. It’s one cliché after another. This novel is also the epitome of instalove. She meets him and about three days later they have sex and she’s in love with him. Three. Whole. Days.
The writing is mediocre at best. It tells the story and gets as much sex scenes that can fit in 193 pages all while including some very unique lines that had me laughing out loud.
“[…] and then we’re kissing like we can’t get enough of each other, like if a herd of zebras tramped through his living room right now we wouldn’t come up for air.”
“Suddenly, I hear the sound of material tearing. We both stop, confused, and when I pull slightly off Jake, I realize that the seam of his crotch is torn straight down the middle, gaping open.
‘Oh my God,’ I breathe. ‘You boy part is like the Incredible Hulk.’ ”
Overall, Leo is a novel to steer clear of because of its overuse of clichés, possessiveness, and writing.