I picked up Safe Distance to read over the Fourth of July weekend as the holiday had me in the mood for a military romance. I was quickly drawn into the story of Haylee and Ryan, who meet after Ryan intervenes when a bar patron’s unwanted advances towards Haylee become physical. The two begin a tenuous friendship which is hindered by Haylee’s inability to open herself up due to a traumatic event from her past. Their struggle to transition from friends to lovers is fraught with misunderstandings, missteps and distance caused by both physical and emotional separation.
One of the things I struggled with while reading the book was the “insta-connection” I felt was present between Haylee and Ryan. They rather quickly refer to each other as best friends; however, Haylee spends most of their time together in the beginning of the book running away from Ryan and closing herself off, causing me to have a hard time feeling the true impact of their connection. I would have preferred to have seen more scenes of true interaction between the two of them substituted for the scenes involving Haylee’s work, a subplot which died out as the book went on and wasn’t touched upon much after the first few chapters. I also would have liked to have had a bit more physical description of the main characters as well.
Green did a great job with the emotional aspect of the plot, handling sensitive issues with realism and honesty and creating truly touching moments while depicting Haylee’s and Ryan’s struggles though loneliness and grief into hope and love. I particularly enjoyed the supporting characters of Chris and Emma and the added dimension that their storyline brought to the main plot. Overall, I felt this to be a very solid debut novel and I look forward to more to come from Green.
“I think of the time I spent in her bed, learning not only every curve of her body but every curve of her mind.”
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