BLOG TOUR REVIEW: More Than Him By Jay McLean

Published: January 26th, 2014

Publisher: Self Published

Format: Ebook (ARC provided for tour).

I’ve ordered a signed paperback

RRP:  $12

5/5 Stars

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson

We live in a world of darkness and shadows,
where monsters hide and aim to ruin.
And they did.
They ruined us and turned our dreams into nightmares.
But now we’re back.
And we’re fighting.
Not just for us, or for each other, but for our light.

Man. Just when we think Jay McLean can’t possibly top her last book, she goes and writes something like More Than Him. Words can not do justice to this narrative, not fully anyway. It’s a book that needs to be felt. That demands that you do so. So I did. I feel better for it.

After the ending of More Than Her, I couldn’t wait to read this book. Lucky for me, I’m new to the world of Jay McLean’s writing and I had an ARC copy sitting beside me waiting for me to finish. If you’ve read Mcleans’ series, you’ll know what I’m talking about, as More than Her ends in a place that no booklover wants to go again, a cliffhanger! And not just any old cliffy, the worst kind. A kind you can’t wait for. You simply need to know. Because the last sentence of that book is just so incredibly heartbreaking and powerful you need More than Him more than you need sleep for a week!

More than Him returns to the relationship dramas between Logan and Amanda. Just as dark and gritty as the More Than Her, More Than Him offers the reader a glimpse of hope and light at the end of the tunnel, while also psychoanalysing the motives behind the characters. It answers every question we could possibly have asked about More Than Her, and it does so in a forthcoming and brutal honesty kind of way. Being book three in the More Than series, More Than Him had a lot to live up too, and I’ll admit after the last book, I was a bit scared about how it could possibly do so. McLean quickly proved this fears to be misplaced.

More Than Him starts directly from where More Than Her left off. Logan’s gone and done the unthinkable. Again. Unable to deal with the emotions and guilt surrounding that horrible night, he’s set out overseas to spend a year with Doctors Without Borders, leaving Amanda behind. Again. Alone and confused. Again. Interestingly enough, although More Than Him is book three in the larger series, and very much a sequel to More Than Her, this book reads more like a companion to book two (More Than Her). Never before have I seen one narrative arch told so thoroughly between two novels. For that’s what this book does. It tells the other side of More Than Her. Not in terms of different characters perspectives like say Gayle Forman’s Just One Day, or Just One Year, but rather in terms of character development, narrative progression, and the every day turmoil of the here and now as both characters face issues larger than themselves. Issues that have the power to make them and destroy themselves.

As I said in my earlier reviews of More Than This and More Than Her, one of the things I love most about Jay McLean’s writing is the colourful array of characters she presents us with. Not only are the main protagonists full of life and vitality, but they are surrounded by supportive and endearing personalities, who enhance rather than distract from the narrative tension and atmosphere. Personally I love Lucy, and Cam for that matter, and I am so super exited that book four will be about those two! (while also noticeably terrified of what McLean will put them through as we now know she is capable of just about anything!). Another character I felt unusually attached to in this book, was Logan’s Dad, Alan. While it’s true we got a great sense of his personality in More Than Her, I felt he really shined as a character in this book and I wanted nothing more to reach through the pages and give him a hug. After all, Logan’s his son, and Amanda’s not the only one whose lost someone.

Which brings me to my next point. McLean out did herself in this novel by including and showcasing the way Logan’s disappearance affected not only those immediately concerned within the narrative (i.e. Amanda, Logan, Alan and Ethan), but also how his entire friend circle reacted and dealt with his sudden loss. Likewise, the ripple effect caused by the events in More Than Her (when Logan and Amanda are attacked) is conveyed convincingly, and so emotionally powerful that you almost stop breathing at times. There’s a scene in particular when the narrative tension is snowballed after Logan’s return where all three characters – Amanda, Logan and Ethan – are forced to confront and deal with their emotional baggage and fears. Each character blames themselves for what happened that night. And yet each character has an entirely different viewpoint on what exactly went down that night as well, and yet McLean is able to coherently and superbly bringing all three sides together in a clash of wills that is bound to leave you  as distraught as the characters themselves.

What’s more, the character growth and development in this novel alone is so astounding, I can honestly say that I’m honoured to have witnessed the journey these characters took, no matter how fictional they or the narrative may be. For as the pages keep turning, the lines between reality and pretend blurr so much so, that it’s almost as though you know Amanda and Logan, that you’ve seen Jake on TV, and spoke to Kayla at a book-store. You’ve heard of, if not seen directly Lucy’s drunken antics, and know how protective her boyfriend can be. These are the cool kids you wish you hung out with.

What I love the most about McLean’s books is that she doesn’t shy away from the ugly aspects of life. What’s more, the way she writes about love as it is: messy, all consuming, and on occasion, destructive. But always with a sense of hope. McLean’s character’s are strong because they are vulnerable and they have and know their weaknesses (usually its each other, among other things). They have flaws and their not afraid to display them for all to see. Nor is McLean afraid to hide from the messy matters of life – heartbreak, death, family breakdowns, abuse, rape, domestic violence, anxiety, military commitments, sex, love, exes, homosexuality, alcoholism, etc… All of which, puts me on edge as a reader, because let’s face, we all want happily ever afters but we know life’s not a Disney film (sadly), but also reassures me. Life just is what it is and we need to deal with it. It’s up to us if we choose to be like Micky (from More Than This) who embraces the moment and refuses to let bad people ruin good moments, or if we allow our insecurities and the past to seep into every living moment of our lives like Logan (who can’t escape his, but is trying his damn hardest to anyway) or Amanda (who can’t get over it without Logan, because he’s her person and only he can make her whole again). It’s both refreshing and a relief that McLean takes us on these journeys and shows true struggles and despair with vulnerable characters who have to work to overcome their issues.

More Than Him is a whirlwind of a read, one that avid romantics and New Adult readers will want to devour. It’s gritty, and touching, and heartbreaking beautiful. Like many of the truly great writers, McLean has the power to make you fall in love with her characters, while simultaneously laughing with them and crying along side them. I’ve said it before, I’ll said it again, you will feel everything, and if that’s not a mark of how talented McLean is, I don’t know what is.

If for no other reason, I highly recommend you read this novel to experience the emotional roller-coaster that Jay McLean’s writing will take you on. And although the narrative path is not always smooth sailing, it’s worth it in the end. McLean is an author to watch, and although she may be self-published for now, I can’t see her staying that way for long. She’s destined to take the world by storm.

And now, bring on Book four! I can’t wait to read Lucy and Cameron’s story. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about this novel now – especially after the last few lines of this story.

To grab a copy of this amazing book head on over to Amazon for both print and e-copies, or buy straight from Jay McLean and a get a signed print copy here. More Than Him is also available on iBooks.

Books in the More Series so far:

If you’ve read the series already, head on over here to vote for Team Jake or Team Logan. It’s my understanding we might get another book about one of them by doing so 🙂 If you need help deciding, keep scrolling for… some, uh, inspiration?

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