An ARC copy was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
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R. Holmes is a new to me author as of last year and the first book of hers I read was Misfit and I was hooked. This is now my third book of hers and it’s the beginning of a very new series for her and it’s a great start!
We are introduced to the Catholic school of St. Augustine and its student population. There is a group of four boys who are the namesakes to the institution and pretty much rule the campus by sheer force. Rhys is our main male character in this one and what I love so much about it is that he is introduced as the Fallen Angel of St. Augustine because he is ruthless and vindictive to everyone. Coming across as a young man without a soul or emotions. But Valentina Carmichael will change everything for him.
Both of these characters go through profound developments and character improvement throughout the story. When we first meet Valentina she is an insecure, book smart girl who just wants to get through school and head off to Harvard. Her step-mother constantly pushes her to lose weight and her rich father is always too busy with work. Rhys is a ward of the head Priest at St. Augustine and has no family other than his brotherhood of best friends. This is where Valentina and Rhys come together seamlessly. Neither of them really have an anchor in life and close themselves off from letting people get too close because they’ve had such negative experiences with relationships.
However, as the story progresses, Valentina develops a confidence that carries her to a whole new place in her life. Finding comfort in her own body and standing up for herself. While Rhys finally lets down his walls and allows someone inside. Their development was heart-warming even if the back drop of the story is riddled with darkness, secrets and a whole lot of ominous activity that is going to come over the course of the next few novels in the series.
This high school, bully romance will keep you engaged with its character development and rich story telling that takes you on the beginning of a very dark path into the confines of St. Augustine. Buckle up and get ready to be whisked away by the boys of St. Augustine!