I wanted to start my reading year of 2018 with a bang. I was reading a different book, and, while I was enjoying it well enough, it didn’t have the wow factor I was looking for. So when I got notice this book had downloaded, I put that other one aside and picked up this one right away. Based on how much I enjoyed the first two books in this series, I thought Nikan Rebuilt would be a winner. And, boy, was it ever.
This is a second-chance-at-love story. Nikan and Jenny both grew up in the foster care system, both in group homes. While their lives before they ended up in the system were horrendous, Nikan was fortunate to wind up in a very good group home with very caring staff and fellow residents he bonded with to the point they became more than best friends; they became brothers and formed the band Preload, which has gone on to become an extremely famous heavy metal band. We have already seen three of the band members get their story, andn now it’s Nikan’s turn. He and Jenny meet in high school when Jenny is being bullied and Nikan saves her. From that moment, they become a couple, and, though both were very young, they were very much in love and thought they would last forever.
Fast forward a number of years, Nikan and the band are very successful and one night while on tour, Dikan makes a mistake that changes the course of his life and Jenny ends things and disappears.
Now it’s current time and eight years later. Jenny has returned and is temporarily head of the group home that Nikan and the rest grew up in. Because they all are still very much involved with the home and the boys living there, Nikan runs into Jenny again and his feelings for her are just as deep and all encompassing as they ever were and Jenny is still greatly in love with Nikan. But what he did devastated her and she is doubtful she can forgive him. Nikan knows how badly he screwed up and how much he lost and he just wants a chance to show her who he is now.
That’s the outline of the story and now I have to start the raving, and rave I will do. This book is incredible. Every woman should have a Nikan. Yep, he screwed up and badly. But his explanation for what happened was believable and makes the reader much more sympathetic. As the oldest, he’s always been the mother hen of the group and does what’s best for them rather than himself. For example, he doesn’t really like doing heavy metal and would like to change it up, but he knows another member of the group uses it as an outlet for his rage. It’s Nikan who arranges for them all to live in the same house, because it’s something that Jordan needs due to his issues.
But now Nikan has to look after his own problems and concentrate less on the other members, especially getting Jenny to forgive him and give him another chance. He’s at a turning point in his life, and the author does such a great job in letting reader ‘feel’ his confusion and frustration and his longing for Jenny and his guilt for what he did that split them up. He’s one of the best heroes I’ve read in a while – and I’ve read some really good ones.
I would say that Nikan makes the book, but Jenny is such a wonderful heroine that she deserves as much credit for in making this such a great read as he does. She’s still very deeply in love, but she’s clear with him that she doesn’t trust him, that he needs to earn it back, if that’s even possible. One thing that sets this book higher than many others is they talk things through. They both realize they have to be open and honest if there is any hope for them. There’s no big misunderstandings, they are both mature and intelligent people.
I say this in each of the Preload reviews, but something else that really sets these stories above others for me is they take place in Toronto, a city I’ve visited many a time. One scene takes place at Rogers Centre (though it will always be Skydome to me) and as a family we would go there four or five times a summer to catch the Jays. Eaton’s Centre is mentioned and I’ve been there quite often that I can close my eyes and see it. And, most of all, Ms. Cole mentions Tim Horton’s a lot. Now, not many people outside of Canada know this probably, but there is almost a symbiotic relationship between “Timmies” and most Canadians. It’s the go-to place for coffee – though I myself stop at Mickey D’s to pick up my morning coffee on the way to work. But EVERYONE knows about Timmies. The author married a Canadian and lived in Canada for a while, so she really ‘gets’ things.
Something else that gets mentioned in this book that puts it way up high is her referencing the struggle that Indigenous People went through for many years and are still struggling with to this day to what was done to them. The Canadian government, in their unbelievable and unconscionable arrogance, stole the children away from their parents and put them in ‘schools’ were they were stripped of their culture, their language, everything that made them an important nation.
A great deal of thanks goes to the late Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip for letting the average Canadian know about this great dark part of Canada’s history.
The inclusion of this storyline makes this a very emotional book. Nikan’s father was First Nations, and after ignoring his heritage for most of his life, this is something he starts considering. I felt this really added something special to the book. It wasn’t done in any kind of preachy tone at all, but more of an added feature to the story.
After finishing this book, now I want to go back and read the previous books, this time paying attention to Nikan. In case anyone is wanting to know what they are, see the covers below for the titles.
I highly, highly recommend these wonderful books.
[Copy and paste summary here]
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: