on June 10th, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.
The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.
Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.
What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Dear Aaron was different from the rest of Mariana Zapata’s books, but fans and readers can expect a sweet friends-to-lovers story with her signature slow-burn romance.
Thanks to the Help a Soldier Foundation, 23-year-old Ruby Santos signed up to write weekly letters to a 28-year-old soldier, Aaron Hall. It was an unconventional start to their friendship but it’s one that grew stronger as each mail, IM, and care package was exchanged and delivered. Their correspondence goes on even after the end of Aaron’s tour, and without even noticing it, they’ve become each other’s best friend—maybe even more for Ruby.
How is Dear Aaron different from her other works? Ms. Zapata wrote part of the book in an epistolary voice—letters, e-mails, instant and text messages. I know some people don’t enjoy a book without the usual narrative style, but I think it helped readers get a glimpse of what goes on in both characters’ lives and see the gradual build of their friendship and feelings. Like her other books, the rest of the story is told in the female lead’s point of view.
It was a slow start, but as soon as the pace picked up halfway through, I had a perma-grin ’til the very last page (Mariana, I want to frame the acknowledgment!). That first meeting made me squeal and giggle and ahhhh. I loved how their easy banter and ease around each other translated outside IMs and emails. And damn it, Aaron was so sweet!!! He was so thoughtful and caring and ahhhhhhh
“You’re the best, and you deserve better than me, but I hope you don’t care.”
He’s no grumpy hero like Aiden and Kulti, but there are times Aaron gets stuck inside his head. With his complicated family life and experiences as a soldier, he’s learned to hide how he feels and what he thinks, so it takes a while for Ruby to break down his walls.
I love how she writes about regular people we can all relate/once related to. People who don’t have their sh*t figured out all the time. Ruby is in her early twenties and is still trying to find out what she’s supposed to do with her life, and it freaks her out most of the time. Honestly, I’m just like her right now. Twenty-three and still clueless. I want to cry just thinking about it haha.
Aaron has his own worries—whether he should go on another tour or stay in the States and do who knows what.
It was a hoot reading their conversations and mail exchange! I know parents warn their kids about talking to strangers and making friends on the internet, but some of my most cherished friendships started over the internet. Just like Ruby and Aaron, I didn’t physically meet some of my really good friends until way later. I’ve known friends who fell in love with their partners before they met face-to-face and let me tell you, they’re still happily married and in love. I had no doubt Ruby and Aaron could be like that, too.
I would have wanted a few more scenes after they got together, and to see more of the subplot about Aaron’s family. That part felt abruptly cut off somewhere near the end. Overall, I still enjoyed the story.
Dear Aaron was sweet, refreshing, and heartwarming. It had its fair share of drama and angst, but most of the story was light and cute. If Wait for It made you cry, Dear Aaron will make you smile, laugh, and giggle like a school girl.
And I don’t know about you guys, but I really want to read about Ruby’s sister, Jazz. Ice skating romance, anyone???
P.S. Is there a real program like Help a Soldier? Because honestly, I want to sign up. No, I’m not doing it because I want my own romance, but I want to do something to help. Even if it’s just a letter or mail, I want to do something.
Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Military Hero, Pen Pals
POV: Epistolary—Dual, First POV; First, Female POV
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