Growing up as a survivor of a deadly plane crash and spending her childhood on an island awaiting rescue have defined Jillian Stone's life. Finding a real home is something that has escaped her, as has making lasting friendships. The only support she has are the twins, Alexander and Oliver, that lived through the island years with her, but even the twins prove more of a complication than relief when she begins developing feelings for both brothers. Add in strange visions of a red haired man, and Jillian's life quickly becomes a mess.
The most compelling aspect of this book is definitely the romance. There are several romantic elements going on. Central to the story are the romantic feelings that develop between Jillian, Alexander, and Oliver. Jillian loves both men as brothers, but she realizes over time that her emotional connection to them has deepened into something more. What that "more" means is what is really confusing. She and Xander fight constantly, but that may just translate into an intense passion and love. Oliver, however, has always been her strength, the one there for her she she needed support and love. Halston does a great job of pulling the reader back and forth between the two brothers. Right up to the end there is doubt about which one she will pick. This love triangle was very well developed. For me, it was by far the more compelling element of the book.
The other romantic aspect was Jillian's relationship with one of her instructors, Professor Black. I didn't find this relationship as compelling as with the twins. Black seemed wrong from the first day. It was frustrating at times that Jillian seemed so blind to his actions. I didn't see her reactions and decisions as rational or understandable at times, which was very opposite from the relationship with the twins. I didn't feel this aspect was as well developed as the other romance.
A word of caution about the romance is that there was plenty of sexual situations and sexual discussions. There are also sex scenes that were fairly descriptive. This combined with the heavy use of profanity makes it one I would not recommend to teens at all.
The mystery aspect of this book mainly stayed in the background. I never felt like it was a major point of the book. The focus was largely on the romance. I did find the visions, notebooks, and Jillian's mysterious heritage to be interesting. I wanted to know more about her past and how it would impact her future. I think there is potential for a good mystery here, but it was not fully developed in this book. I am hoping that the next installment will be more heavily focused on the mystery and the red haired man.
There were a few smaller issues that were a bit of a distraction while reading. The editing was not as good as it could have been. The dialog was almost never punctuated correctly and there were other mechanical and grammatical errors as well. Some of the journals were written more simplistically than the rest of the book and the dialog was very formal most of the time, which detracted from the flow.
Overall, this book had a great romance that was very appealing and will definitely hold readers' attention. The mystery was not quite as compelling, but has potential to develop into a very interesting story.
Seeing Red is available now from Amazon.