Title – The Way We Break
Author – Cassia Leo
Publication Date – May 29, 2015
Series – The Story of Us, #2
The Way We Break is the stunning continuation of the bestselling Story of Us series from New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo.
Live the truth…
The truth about Hallie has torn Houston and Rory apart for a second time. Houston is finally unburdened of the secret his sister confided in him, but now he must deal with the aftermath.
He has vowed to set things right for Rory, and he’s determined to get her back. But the destruction left in the wake of Hallie’s letter is not the only obstacle he must face. Houston must find a way to win Rory back by showing her their story isn’t over yet.
…or live the lie.
In her desperation to move past the anguish of Hallie’s secret and Houston’s lies, Rory seeks solace in Liam. When Liam is transferred to another tech company in California, Rory jumps at his invitation to leave Portland, and her broken heart, behind. In California, Rory finds a friend who opens new doors for her in the literary world. But does this new friend have ulterior motives?
Houston and Rory’s heartbreaking journey continues in The Way We Break. Cassia Leo is certainly in her element with The Story of Us series, skillfully capturing the angst and uncertainty of the New Adult genre. Houston and Rory find their lives ripped apart by the secrets that were revealed at the end of The Way We Fall, sending their stories veering off in unexpected directions. Cassia Leo has turned up the emotional turmoil in this book, tearing my heart to shreds with each painful revelation and gut-wrenching truth exposed. The Way We Break kept me utterly captivated as I navigated the many twists and turns of Rory and Houston’s journey and delved deep into their complex, shared past. The Way We Break left me feeling as if I knew this couple in a much more profound manner, securing my complete investment in this series.
“No one understands the burden I’ve carried. The power to destroy someone emotionally is not the kind of power I wanted bestowed upon me. But that is the gift my baby sister left me. And it’s all I have left of her.”
If there is one thing I can always count on with Cassia Leo, it’s that her character development is exquisite. Rory and Houston are carefully revealed to us over the course of this novel, providing just enough previously unknown information to drive their story forward while holding on to a few surprises to be expertly timed in their revelations during key plot points. As their journeys take them in new directions, we get to know Rory and Houston as individuals, exploring their feelings for one another in an organic way, untainted by the other’s presence, and get a glimpse at the true heart of their emotional states. Cassia Leo also delivers the complicated history between our couple in a series of memories and flashbacks that solidifies both Rory and Houston’s relationship and our own connection with the characters.
“You’re the least boring, most screwed up girl I know.”
As stunned as I was by the things we learned at the end of the first book, I definitely couldn’t have predicted the direction in which Cassia Leo took The Way We Break. As Rory struggles with the ugly truth, Houston is forced to deal with his role in that deception, resulting in a flood of feelings. Cassia Leo’s beautiful writing ensured that the reader was experiencing every high and low right alongside our couple. Secondary characters played their roles in illuminating the rare and inimitable love that Rory and Houston share, while pushing the couple outside of their comfort zones. I adored the addition of Hannah and the spectacular growth Rory sees in her presence. Kenny continues to make me laugh out loud, while moving me with his unconditional loyalty and support. Cassia Leo has once again managed to allow me to lose myself completely in her beautiful world full of unforgettable characters with The Way We Break. I can’t wait to get my hands on the final book in this fantastic series!
This series has something special that makes readers feel like Cassia Leo is getting back to her roots; it has reminded me why I fell in love with her writing. There is something I can’t quite put my finger on about The Story of Us series that brings it all home for me. The Way We Break was able to splinter my heart, start to piece it together, and then shatter it all over again while simultaneously picking up the pieces.
“It’s always tempting to choose the safer road. The one you think will get you to your destination in one piece.”
I really felt for Rory and her plight in this book. I think we all want to pick up and leave at some point in our lives, which made her situation quite relatable. So when the opportunity arose and she jumped on it, I could completely understand her motivations. I actually admired that we got to see a weaker, more vulnerable side to her character as well. Though I hated the manipulations that took place to make it happen, it felt vital to the story. And on the other side of the coin, I loved how dedicated Houston became. He grew up in a way and wanted to prove his love. Of course there were some mistakes along the way, but readers could tell that his heart was always in the right place and definitely left me rooting for him!
“But as you learned today, sometimes the safe roads are nothing but dead ends. And I’ll tell you one thing I know for sure.”
The Way We Break picks up where the first in the series ended, though there is a little bit of back and forth in the timeline. I really appreciated getting those glimpses of the past though because it helped me as a reader to better understand the emotions these characters were going through. Rory and Houston do spend a majority of the novel apart, which often bugs me; however, the way Leo writes them is actually pretty brilliant. You can feel their chemistry and desires, even in these times of separation. The angst only adds to the readers’ desires to see them together and honestly heightens the emotions described. They’ve each had to grow and realize things apart in order to see whether or not they’ll have a future. I felt like the execution of the storyline was perfect and appreciated it as much as, if not more than, when we got to see these two be together in the first novel.
“No matter what your destination is, there’s no safer road than the one you take with someone you love.”
I am clearly addicted to a little angst with some emotional tugging of the heartstrings and Cassia Leo sure knows how to deliver on both accounts. The ups and downs of Rory and Houston flow effortlessly and I’m curious to see how this relationship will play out. Furthermore, I want to see how Rory is able to figure out her life after what she has been through. This series keeps getting better and better and I can’t wait to see where the author chooses to take us next!
September 5, 2014
I want to storm out of this office and never come back, but I promised myself I would do the mature thing and make it through at least four counseling sessions. This therapist better up his game and start reining in Tessa’s hysterics. I can’t take much more of this.
“Okay, let’s try something different,” Mansfield says, sitting up straighter in his chair. “How about we do an exercise? Why don’t the both of you each give me three positive things that will come out of this divorce?”
My mind instantly conjures Rory’s face. The one positive thing that will come out of this divorce: I’ll be free to make room for her in my life. Then I try to think of three things I love the most about her, but it’s hard to narrow it down. Her vanilla-scented hair is pretty high on the list. Her constant movie references. Her creamy skin and the way it feels when her legs are wrapped around me. Her many facial expressions: adorably confused, scary angry, her come-fuck-me expression, and, my personal favorite, her smile. But it seems all she’s done lately is cry.
Which is why I’m stumbling my way through these counseling sessions. It’s why I’m giving Rory the space she needs to work things out with her parents. I just hope her father took my threat seriously.
I’ve wanted to throttle that son of a bitch for nearly six years, but I’ve put it off because of Rory. After she tossed me out of her life last week, I had nothing left to lose. I showed up at his law offices in downtown Portland and managed to finesse my way past the receptionist. I found the glass-walled conference room where James stood at the head of a long mahogany table. He was in the middle of a meeting, but not for long.
I stepped into the conference room and pointed at him. “You and I need to talk. Now.”
“We’re in the middle of a meeting,” said a blonde woman sitting in a chair a few feet away from me.
“No, it’s fine, Christina,” James said, making his way toward me. “Carry on without me. I won’t be long.”
I clenched my fists as I followed him to his corner office. The first thing I saw when I stepped inside was the row of framed pictures on the console table behind his desk. There were two pictures of James and Rory together, one of him kissing her forehead as they stood next to a backyard grill. The other picture was obviously from the family vacation they took to Hawaii when Rory was in high school. I couldn’t remember how old she was during that vacation, but I found myself wondering if Hallie had already developed a crush on James by then.
This thought made me more sad than angry. How would Hallie feel if she knew why I was here? What would she think of the way I’ve handled her secret?
James’s office smelled of leather and hardwood. It reeked of money, with the tufted leather armchair behind the mahogany desk and the walls lined in bookshelves and certificates. Light poured in through the window painting a silver glow over every gleaming surface. But that was only the first impression. Upon further inspection, an uneasy feeling rippled through me.
The stain on the mahogany desk didn’t match the stain on the mahogany shelves. And the leather chairs appeared worn, as if all these pieces were scrabbled together from purchases made at a used office furnishings warehouse. I tried to determine what this said about James, but I didn’t know if it meant he was pragmatically frugal, or maybe he took on a lot of pro bono cases. Did that mean I should admire him? The man who was once an activist, fighting for the rights of the wrongfully accused, until he settled down and had a family.
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Don’t miss the rest of the series:
The Way We Fall (The Story of Us, #1)
The Way We Rise (The Story of Us, #3)
To Portland, With Love (The Story of Us, #3.5)
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading – sometimes both.