Author: Amy Queau
Date of Publication: March 1, 2013
Formats Available: Paperback, E-Book
Synopsis: Is love an infection or is it a sick addiction, when there's nowhere left to run?
Jesse has a curious attraction to Charlie, a hostess at the restaurant where he works. Outwardly he’s rude, awkward and unapproachable. But his sudden bursts of charm are inescapable. A devastating childhood filled with physical and emotional abuse has left him complex and frigid.
Charlie, an innocent, is quickly mystified. Her craving for him generates an infatuation and a purpose. Losing weight and gaining confidence, she begins taking more risks. She defies her past, damaged and tender, in order to move ahead.
If nobody makes the first move then nobody gets hurt.
Their journeys take them down parallel paths which leave them just as emotionally unmatched and conflicted as the day they met. As the story progresses the viewpoints change, giving the reader an insight to the character’s thoughts and feelings.
When I sat down to read Progress I definitely wasn't expecting to spend the whole afternoon in front of my computer completely wrapped up in the story. From page one I was instantly drawn in and found it impossible to extract myself until I had finished the entire novel. With a cliff-hanger conclusion and more of the plot to be unraveled this novel left me excited (and desperate!) for the sequel.
I instantly loved Charlie and her sweet attitude. The complete opposite of Jesse they made an interesting pair as they saw every event in completely different lights. At the beginning of the novel I wasn't sure if I would like Jesse but as I learned more about him and his past I ended up liking him just as much as Charlie, but for completely different reasons. Extremely well developed both Charlie and Jesse felt so real it was impossible for me not to relate to them.
Both Charlie and Jesse are scarred in their own ways. I've always been really into psychology so the psychological aspect of this novel really drew me in and made me interested in what made both of the characters tick. Likewise I loved the banter and sexual tension between the two of them, the entire novel I was on the edge of my seat waiting for something to happen between them. Despite both of their problems I really cared about them and was rooting for them every step of the way.
While I loved the first two parts of the novel the third part didn't quite work as well as the other two. The first two parts had been narrated by first Charlie and then Jesse, giving us deeper insight to their characters and feelings. However, the last part is narrated as though by an observer, taking away the connection I felt with the characters. In the final section I felt like I didn't really know either Charlie or Jesse any more as I watched them interact from a distance.
I would highly recommend Progress to fans of contemporary fiction with a little bit of romance thrown in. Even though I wasn't a big fan of the third section I still really enjoyed this novel and I don't think the third section made a huge impact on my feelings toward this novel. Highly recommended!
*I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for a honest review and received no monetary compensation for this post*