So much happened in this book I'm not sure where to start. This book encompasses so much. It's not just about human trafficking. It's not just about the mob. It's definitely not just any young adult romance. I feel silly saying it but I had a hard time starting this book. I was expecting something set in South America and that there would be a lot of violence in the book. There was some violence but the story of Haven and Carmine make up for it in spades. There were so many twists, turns and surprises in this book it blew my mind. I found myself getting anxious thinking my gosh what can happen next? By the end I was so totally engrossed with the book that I read for 4 hours straight to finish it.
Haven was born a slave. I thought since reading the synopsis that since she was a slave this book was set in another country because we aren't supposed to have slavery anymore in America. The book starts out in California where haven has lived for her 17 years. Just as there are all kinds of other illegal activities after reading this book I can believe that there are still slaves. That thought is very upsetting. Haven has spent her entire life secluded from the outside word. Her views on things are sometimes very funny in their simplicity. Haven gets taken from the house in California and her mother at the beginning of the book and is taken to a new house in North Carolina to live with the DeMarco's. She has to adjust to a whole different life and her journey was interesting to read.
There are 2 DeMarco sons. Dominick and Carmine. Dominick is your regular high school student. Carmine is just a mess, there's no nicer way to put it. He's seen some terrible things in his 17 years and in addition to that is considered a mafia prince. He drinks and does drugs a lot. He gets into fights with everyone. But he can't understand why Haven doesn't like him. The changes in Carmine once he decides to be nice to Haven and try to get her to like him are great. The relationship between Haven and Carmine is one of the best I've read in a book considered Young Adult.
Why do I say the book is "considered" Young Adult? Well, it might be categorized as that since they are technically both 17 and then 18 in the book but there is drinking, drugs, sex and violence in this book. I would say that it should be considered New Adult despite their ages. The topics that this book covers are something that I'm not sure that many teenagers would be able to understand or enjoy.
When the book finished I thought to myself huh I think there could be a second book... and there will be. Apparently Sempre is book one of the Forever series. Book two is called Sempre Redemption and I'm sure it will be even more action packed than the first book. Its publication date on Goodreads is December 23rd.
Picking a few favorite quotes has been difficult with this book. I highlighted a lot!
"Colpo di fulmine. The thunderbolt, as Italians call it. When love strikes someone like lightning, so powerful and intense it can't be denied. It's beautiful and messy, cracking a chest open and spilling their soul out for the world to see. It turns a person inside out, and there's no going back from it. Once the thunderbolt hits, your life is irrevocably changed."
"The girl who had never been able to call her life her own taught a boy who had the world at his fingertips exactly what it meant to live."