Title: All Broke Down
Series: Rusk University #2
Author: Cora Carmack
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 28 Oct 2014
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.
Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and infuriating, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.
Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.
Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.
If I could get away with writing ‘I adore Cora Carmack’ 100 times as my review I would But alas, no Just go with me on this and accept the fact that her books do not disappoint.
The second book in the Rusk University series has Silas taking the spotlight. We briefly met Silas in All Lined Up in an unfavorable light, however, I think even then we could tell there was far more to him than appeared on the surface. Although he is a hot shot football player, Silas truly believes that he isn’t a good enough person to be where he is and have all the good opportunities open to him because of his football abilities. His negative view of himself stems from his difficult childhood and absentee mother. His belief that he doesn’t fit in makes him project his insecurities onto other people fueling his anger towards himself.
Dylan, on the surface couldn’t be more different to Silas, but the magic word here is surface. Judging by outward appearances you would think that Dylan has the perfect life, coming from a wealthy, influential family she embodies the ‘good girl’ persona. Yet it is evident from early on within the narrative that Dylan is really only living up to other expectations of what she should do/say/act. She was adopted at 9 having lived in an extremely strict foster home for a few years. She has never really had the opportunity to test boundaries, too afraid that she will lose any affection she has gained by being herself. My heart went out to her, especially thinking that love is conditional on behavior and appearance.
Both Dylan and Silas feel lost in their lives, needing to find their own identities rather than be defined by their past and the expectations of others. Together, they seem to be the perfect counter point to each other, achieving balance by making the other a happier, better, fulfilled person.
The narrative involves a significant look at identity, what defines you as a person is it your actions or your upbringing (nature versus nurture to a degree). I loved the psycho-analysis that is woven into the story allowing an amount of self-reflection on behalf of the reader, both in terms of how it applies to themselves and also in ways to relate to others.
Ultimately, All Broke Down shows that your upbringing isn’t what defines you, it is how you allow yourself to deal with these aspects of you personal growth that defines you. The temptation to become a self-fulfilling prophecy can be overwhelming yet there is nothing to stop you becoming whoever you want to be as long as you are willing to work for it.