Spider – Ilsa Madden-Mills


I loved this book! It has one angsty teenager with emotional issues and another one who came from the wrong side of the tracks but is determined to be someone. The angsty teenager is broken but the will to be worthy of his girl moves him to overcome his issues. Lovely! This book has second chances and third chances etc.  It was really riveting!

Rose and Spider meet for the first time when Rose is eleven years old and Spider is sixteen. Rose is living in a neighborhood outside of Dallas, Texas, called Tin Town because of the junkyards. Her mother is a drug addict and her boyfriend Lyle is mean and dangerous. At ten years old, she had been well brought up by her granny. When her granny died, she was left at her mother’s charge, and now she knows when she should disappear to escape danger. One such night, she escapes from Lyle who was up to no good, and wanders around town. She watched this beautiful boy exchange drugs for money. He finds her looking and when he asks what she’s doing in bad surroundings she says she’s hungry and gives her $300. Then he writes his phone number on her arm with a sharpie and instructs her to call him whenever she’s in danger. This leaves an indelible memory in Rose’s brain.

Four years later, they meet again, in a plane flying from New York City to Dallas. Rose is now a seventeen year old student, adopted by Anne, a Dallas philanthropist. Spider is the singer in a rock band, Vital Rejects, and leads a life of booze, drugs and women. He’s cocky and brazen. He’s on the way to visit his father and meet his new stepmother and stepsister. Rose is returning from visiting a girlfriend in NYU, where she hopes to attend college. They meet and flirt and kiss. They feel something special, but didn’t recognize each other from their previous encounter. Then they crash and burn because Spider always screws things up, even though he felt Rose was different and special. Spider has been broken by his past: his sister died when he was thirteen, his mother left him and his father, then his father dumped him in a boarding school when he needed him the most. As a result, Spider never gets involved, never gives his heart, never calls a girl after one-night-stands. He doesn’t get attached to anyone.

When they arrive in Dallas, they find out their parents are married to each other, they are step-siblings! They have also been warned not to get involved: Spider has a crazy life and Rose is on the way to college to study psychology. They can’t resist the attraction and it ends in flames. They keep meeting every few years, but Spider is not ready. Rose took up with a guy from her high school and moves to New York to study. Spider always knows where she is and what she’s up to, but he needs to get clean to be worthy of her.

I loved this story. Rose was a girl with direction, she knew what she wanted and she went to get it. She fought for Spyder but he screwed things up so royally that she gave up on him. What she didn’t now is that he made a pact with his father to let her be so she could move on to achieve her goals. He watched her from afar and hurt because he didn’t have his girl with him. Meanwhile, she hurt because she missed him, but made do with what she had. I loved her living arrangement in New York with best gay friend Oscar, who cooked great breakfasts on Sundays. I didn’t like her boyfriend Trenton and his bitchy friends Aria and Garrett. I waited impatiently for Spider to sort his stuff so he could go after his girl. And I loved that Spider got a second chance with his father and established a good relation with frequent visits and calls.

I liked the format of the story, it doesn’t happen in a successive manner, but with intervals, with years in-between where the characters have progressed in their careers. Rose went on to doctoral studies and Spyder achieved fame with his rock band. Rose was very straightforward, she was a tough kid from the wrong side of the city who got adopted into a rich family, given a makeover, and got to achieve high goals. Spyder had the rougher road, he had to overcome his emotional issues and physical addictions, but his success in getting there is a testament of his love for Rose. Sweet!!!

About Luisa Rivas-Martinez

Newly retired, lover of romance novels. I've been reading since early childhood, loved those fantasy tales with Princes and Princesses. As I grew, my love for romance blossomed into romance novels, beginning with Harlequin romances. I hope that through this page, I can share my experience and joy on reading my romance novels and make friends.
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