Seven Shades of You by A. M. Johnson
Seven Shades of You is the second installment in the Twin Hearts series. The first one, Let there be light, simply blew me away, and I expected nothing less of Seven Shades of You.
I was not disappointed.
Seven Shades is the love story of Indie and Kai. They’re both College students and couldn’t be more dissimilar at a first glance. Indie is an art-student. She’s bipolar with psychotic tendencies and uses her art as an outlet and a countermeasure. She sees the world in different colours than most, and fights a constant battle against her inner demons. Kai on the other hand is one of the best on the swim team, the heart throb of the Campus. But he’s actually breaking up at the seams. His mother is dying, he barely survived what his parents think is a suicide attempt, he struggles to stay sober and after a fight he was stripped of his position as swin team Captain.
But when these two, hurting individuals meet, magic happens.
Johnson’s writing style is poetic. She tells the story slowly, creating a vibrant world that sometimes feels almost dream-like. It’s exquisite and sad, but so very hopeful. Kai’s and Indie’s budding relationship is simply beautifully rendered. Johnson is truly talented in the way she portrays the love between Indie and Kai. It’s raw and real, but so very pure. Many authors tend to tip over the edge to clichéd and silly when it comes to declarations of love. But Johnson manages to capture those intimate moments perfectly, without the slightest trace of over-the-top cheesiness.
I’m also impressed by Johnson’s ability to describe the more physical aspects of new love without being overly explicit. I’m rather fond of explicit myself, and seldom feel that less is more when talking about horisontal (or vertical for that matter) shenanigans. But Johnson writes those scenes the way she writes everything else. It’s delicate. Understated. And just perfect.
I am a bit conflicted over the way Indie’s mental illness is portrayed. Her illness is at the very core of the story, an essential part of her, yet it doesn’t define her. Indie isn’t her illness. I love that distinction. However, I also feel that the severity of her illness may be a bit downplayed. Depressions are some seriously awful shit, and if you add hallucinations to that… I’d just hate to have any reader perceive her condition as slightly romantic. But. This is fiction. And a love story. And Indie’s bipolarity isn’t the main topic.
So, all in all. Seven Shades of You is an amazing, emotional, and hopeful story. And I was so sad when I finished it because I wanted more. Which of course is the true hallmark of a great read.