"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde
Man, where to begin with this one?
One important thing first: Heed the trigger warning, folks! Of course, I completely overlooked it before I began reading. I wouldn't go as far as saying that it was a mistake, because I got through the scenes intact and still liked the book. But I do think that the description and picturing of self-harm in all its' complexities and backrounds is done very realisticly. They are intense and real. This was not done by an author who had no idea what she was talking about and it showed in a way that might not be as "harmless" to other readers as it was to me. So, again, please heed the warnings.
What else? Yes, Ryder! Ryder breaks your heart - probably more than once. He is so many contradictory things at the same time, it made my head spin and still allowed me to understand him completely. He was so strong, yet felt so weak at times, it was almost impossible for him to bear. He seems so confident, but really has no feelings of self-worth, sometimes not even self-preservation. Hence, the abuse of alcohol and other substances.
And then we have Mason. My problem probably was, that as connected as I felt to Ryder, I didn't quite get the same grasp on Mason. At least not in the beginning, all the more though during the end.
I enjoyed the flow of the story very much. Their battles, their struggles, their communication and their communication problems drew me in and held me captive. And let's be honest, the sexual side of this relationship was pretty damn hot. And that's something I don't say too often in the "porn star" trope, mainly because I don't like "my" sex too porny, which annoyed to me quite often when reading "porn star" books. But it was well done here, so no complaints on that front. Parts of the dialogue and descriptions of feelings might have been a little bit too over the top if you ask me, but not overly so.
I also liked the development around the little "mystery/crime" part, even though it problably wasn't the most believable plot line. But that's when I actually connected fully to Mason.
About Ryder's mother thoough (his father is not worth even that much): Uhm, no. I didn't get her, I didn't believe her and I certainly couldn't forgive her. At all. Her regret didn't faze or touch me. Too little, too late.
All in all a solid read for me, at times a little too much, at times unebelievably intense, but still really good.