Series: Wanted #1
Author: Kelly Elliott
Release Date: November 26, 2012
Verbally abused by her mother for years, 18 year old Ellie Johnson always believed she would never be loved or wanted by anyone. She focused all of her attention on her grades and getting into the University of Texas to start a new life away from her mother.
The last thing Ellie expected was to fall in love with Gunner Mathews, a starting linebacker for the University of Texas football team and not to mention, her brothers best friend.
Gunner only had two passions in life, football and his grandfather’s ranch, until he falls for his best friends little sister. He will stop at nothing to show Ellie how much he wants her, even if it means he has to move faster than she would like.
Gunner knows they are meant to be together forever, but Ellie keeps denying her feelings out of fear of being hurt again.
Every time he gets close to winning her love, something pushes her away again. Will Ellie ever be able to let go of the past and let him into her heart and will Gunner be patient enough to wait for her?
What will it take for them to realize they are all each other have ever WANTED?
Wanted is one of those rare books that you can read over and over again and still come away feeling like your heart is lighter each and every time. This was a one-sitting book for me. The second I started reading this story I had to see it through to the end. Kelly Elliott has a gift for writing characters that steal your heart and demand your full attention. No matter how many times I re-read this book, I still find myself becoming completely consumed by Gunner and Ellie’s story all over again.
“Oh. My. God… I think I just gave up my heart and soul to Drew Mathews. I think… I think I was in love with him.”
Wanted is a story we can all relate to in some way. Ellie is faced with her mother’s constant reminders that not only has she never been good enough, but that she will never be wanted by anyone. She has been conditioned to doubt herself for so long that she can’t understand it when someone shows genuine interest in her. Her struggle with self-acceptance and her inability to believe that anyone could regard her with any amount of significance is crippling. Gunner struggles with his own self-doubt but has found peace with his decisions and his life thanks to his grandparents’ love and support. Now he is challenged with doing the same for Ellie.
“When you find it, don’t be stubborn and don’t be scared. Fight for it boys… never let it go.”
I think we can all connect to characters whose greatest enemy is the voice inside their own heads. Kelly Elliott has crafted some incredibly beautiful and unquestionably real characters in this book. The authenticity and honesty of the characters as they struggled to let go of their fears and find love won me over immediately and it had me relating to them in a very personal way. As I read their story, Gunner and Ellie reminded me of my own insecurities, of our human tendency to see ourselves as less than what we are and of the important role we play in the lives of others and how they see themselves. This book took me on an intense emotional journey that had me laughing, fuming, grinning, blushing, crying and at times utterly overwhelmed by the complex combinations of emotions I was experiencing all at once.
“Nope, I was so wrong… that was the most magical moment of my life.”
By the time I was done reading, I already needed more from the Wanted crew. In fact, I wanted to know everyone’s stories (thank goodness this is a series!). I knew that every character would be just as carefully constructed as Gunner and Ellie and their stories would strike at my soul and hit home all over again. Wanted has a unique way of capturing our deepest fears of inadequacy and giving them a place of acceptance and hope. In Wanted, Kelly Elliott has managed to connect to the vulnerability and desperation for acceptance inside all of us and smother it with light, love and the possibility of a happily ever after. ❤
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Check out the other books in the Wanted series:
Saved (Wanted #2)
Faithful (Wanted #3)
Believe (Wanted #3.5)
Cherished (Wanted #4)
A Forever Love (Wanted #5)
The Wanted Short Stories (Wanted #6)
All They Wanted (Wanted #7)