When purchasing the book back in July of 2016 I was immediately intrigued by the romantic cover. Yes, it was a cover buy, but that was not the only reason, the blurb played a part also. Fast forward one year, I finally decided to read Cassia Leo’s novel, but the story I got was not what I expected at all.
At nineteen, Mikki is tired of the meds and the hopelessness in her life. In order to make the pain go away, she booked a plane ticket to LA, not to turn her life around, but to kill herself. Twenty-one-year old Crush has his own demons to fight and found an outlet in writing and playing music. He is on his way to LA to record a song he was working on for the past three years: Black Box. When Mikki and Crush meet in Terminal B, it takes only a short while for both of them to realize they have met each other on two different and tragic events in their pasts before. Is it fate that brought them together a third time?
When a novel starts with a terrible prologue, it’s safe to say that a devastating story is going to unfold. With each new chapter, another tragedy in Mikki’s and Crush’s current and past life was revealed, each one was worse than the last. Especially the experiences Mikki went through had me tearing up more than once – even thinking about it now while writing this review, makes me want to shed a few tears again. What makes it even more devastating is the authenticity of the events. It could happen to anybody at anytime. I don’t know if it would go to this extent, but in this world, nothing surprises me anymore.
Black Box is the title of the novel and also a song Crush worked on for quite some time. But Black Box is more than that: it is that special something that brought Mikki and Crush together over and over again for the past few years. They say “Everything happens for a reason” and that saying can’t be more fitting for those two. One could argue that all of their encounters and entwined lives are purely coincidences but I don’t believe that. Mikki and Crush had to endure terrible things in their young lives, true, but would they have met if they hadn’t gone through all of that? I don’t think so. I think these two had to live through all of this in order to not only find, but to heal each other. I believe that if you asked them, if they would change their past in any way, their answer would be no. It is their past and it led them to each other.
I knew that fate would never stop bringing us together. No other girl could ever – will ever – compare to the only girl who’s meant for me.
During the first few chapters I had a few “What the heck is happening?”-moments, since Mikki’s behavior was really disturbing. But the further I got into the book, the more I was captivated by Mikki and Crush’s story which had me turning the pages quickly. I even stayed awake until 2am once – until I realized that “real life” would happen in the morning in form of classes. I really enjoyed how Leo ended most of the chapters with small cliffhangers. You were forced to read another chapter because you wanted to know what Crush’s answer to Mikki’s question was or how Mikki would react to Crush’s revelation.
Black Box is more than just your everyday love story. It is about guilt, anxiety, fate, and trust. The novel addresses some very heavy but important issues. Combine those with love and you’ll get a beautifully heart-breaking and tragically written love story.
Lots of bookish love,