Emmaline Neal needs a date. Just a date—someone to help her get through her ex-fiancé's wedding without losing her mind. But pickings are slim in Manningsport, New York, population 715. In fact, there's really only one option: local heartthrob Jack Holland. Everyone loves Jack, and he won't get the wrong idea…. After all, Jack Holland would never actually be interested in a woman like Em. Especially not with his beautiful ex-wife creeping around, angling to reunite ever since he rescued a group of teens and became a local hero.
But when the wedding festivities take an unexpectedly passionate turn, Em figures it was just one crazy night. Jack is too gorgeous, too popular, to ever end up with her. So why is she the one he can talk to about his deep, dark feelings? If Em is going to get her dream man, she'll have to start by believing in him…
Sometimes, for a book to truly click with the reader, it takes a re-reading to find that relationship. Initially, I was ready to give this a low rating. There was something missing from this book that I hadn’t found in the other three books in this series. But after a few weeks, I re-read this book and I couldn’t help but like it far more the second time around. In Your Dreams is different then the other three books and I’ve realized why I didn’t love it the first time around.
When I initially read this book, I was so disappointed with the romance and the sexitimes because there didn’t seem to be enough of it. I wasn’t in love with Jack and Emmaline (I did like Jack and Emmaline as separate people, however) so I couldn’t care if they got together or not. But what I came to realize about In Your Dreams is that this is as much Jack’s story as it is Emmaline’s. In the last three books, all of the male leads had issues they had to overcome but with Jack, there were more then one misgivings he had to deal with. Jack himself had to change and grow as much as Emmaline did and while I didn’t see—or appreciate—this at first, I did the second time around. As much as the other characters helped each other, Jack and Emmaline had an understanding. They talked to each other; they told each other their problems and allowed the other to help.
Emmaline and Jack were both such similar yet such different characters. Emmaline’s shy and reserved and hasn’t lived in Manningsport her whole life. Jack is the nice giy everyone loves and knows; he’s very much a people person. When her ex-fiance sends a wedding card, Emmaline feels as though she has to go but doesn’t want to face her fears. Jack, as Emmaline’s date, is going to California to escape his problems. While neither wants to share what’s going on, they trust in each other and open up. They put their contrasting personalities aside and work to help each other. Their character growth, something I didn’t notice the first time around, was astounding.
Jack and Emmaline, unlike the other characters, were vulnerable from the beginning of this story so it was a reverse idea: we saw two vulnerable characters trust and believe in each other whereas the other characters were strong but grew to open up with others. There is just something about the way Kristin Higgins tells a story, both in terms of her writing and story telling ability, that makes me fall in love with her characters.
Overall, I didn’t love this book but I liked it far more the second time than the first time. I was able to step away from the other three stories in this series and see this new story for what it truly was. I ended up loving Jack and Emmaline and more then any couple, I wanted them to be together. Yes, this wasn’t my favorite book but my favorite couple. It happens.