Black Box by Cassia LeoBlack Box by Cassia Leo
Published February 2014
Genres: New Adult
Format: eBook
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♥️ Three fateful encounters....
♥️ Two heart-breaking tragedies....
♥️ One last chance to get it right.

Over the course of five years, Mikki and Crush cross paths on three separate occasions. Their first encounter changes Mikki's life forever, but their second meeting leaves them both buried beneath the emotional wreckage of a violent attack. Mikki is left with more questions and grief than she can handle, while Crush is forced to forget the girl who saved his life.

Now nineteen years old, Mikki Gladstone has decided she's tired of the mind-numbing meds. She books a flight to Los Angeles to end her life far away from her loving, though often distant, family.

Twenty-one-year-old Crush has always channeled his blackest thoughts into his music, but he's never had great aspirations. He decides to fly to Los Angeles to record a demo of the only song he's never performed in public; a song he wrote for a girl he doesn't even know: Black Box. He has no expectations of fame and he's never felt like his life had any purpose... until he meets Mikki in Terminal B.

When Mikki and Crush cross paths for the third time in Terminal B, neither has any idea who the other person is; until they slowly piece together their history and realize that fate has more in store for them than just another love story.

Mikki Gladstone is a badly damaged girl. She is bipolar, suicidal and was hurt beyond repair at the age of 15. On her way to Logan Airport, and while finding out that her flight to Los Angeles – where she decided to finally put an end to her life – is cancelled, she meets Crush.

Crush is almost as damaged as Mikki is, and still trying to cope with the unfortunate events of his past. If it weren’t for his sister, he wouldn’t be en route to L.A. himself, trying to score a record deal. Terminal B is where he meets Mikki, and for some reason, he instantly feels drawn to Mikki – almost as if it wasn’t the first time they met. They decide to spend the time until the next flight together, and it is not before long that they both realize that fate brought them together on the third occasion, under unexpected circumstance, and with the purpose of saving each other again.

I think writing the review for this book was one of the most difficult reviews to write so far, since Black Box is definitely one of the most gripping, heart and gut-wrenching and emotionally packed reads I have come across.

Black Box is a story that mixes past and present, and puts back the pieces of their previous – more or less fortunate encounters – together and how they brought them back together again, as if to save them, again.

Some parts of this book do in some ways remind me of The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks, because the morale of this story is that even though some things happen in the most unfortunate of ways and moments, it might be a window of opportunity for something better to happen.

“Fate can save you and it can kill you. Either way, fate binds us through an invisible web of circumstances. Change one undesirable fate and another desirable fate is canceled out.”

Black Box deals with very serious issues such as rape, mental illness, and suicide (you will have guessed it – it is by no means a light read), and starts out with a very gloomy, desperate and hopeless situation. However, along the way you manage to catch a glimpse of that silver lining, that hope that leads you to believe that there might just be someone or something there who can help you overcome the hardships that you couldn’t face on your own. And in Mikki and Crush’s case, this might just be their love for each other.

Black Box also evokes a very important psychological issue, which is the loss of control of your life. How can you feel like you are fully living and in control of your life when it was robbed from you, when you cannot do a thing without being afraid, when the meds you take keep you from really feeling and leave you numb, and more importantly, when you mental health custody is taken from you? Black Box is all about Crush doing his best to give Mikki back this control she lost so long ago.

“My body and mind, anyone’s body and mind, belongs to whoever feels like owning it, whether it’s a bunch of fucking perverted assholes or a board of assholes in white coeats. I will never have full control over my body and mind as longs as my parents have the power to commit me and the state has the power to drug me.”

I felt an incredible connection to both characters and even though it was painful to find out what happens/happened to them both, this book just kept you wanting to read on because you want there to be a happy ending for the two of them.

As far as the writing goes, I was more than impressed. Cassia Leo definitely hold a place in my personal pantheon of New Adult writers, right next to Colleen Hoover, Trudy Stiles, and Samantha Young. Black Box is told in a wonderfully-well executed dual-POV, with a more than perfect writing, moving metaphors and very-well researched subjects, however difficult they may be.

There are perhaps just two caveats I would highlight out of this book – or let’s just call them question marks, since they are not as important enough as to have me rate Black Box any less: the first thing I would put a question mark on is Mikki and Crush’s obvious insta-love: they recognised each other instantly (well, almost) even after their dark and short encounter 3 years ago, and suddenly, they develop very strong feelings for each. But then again I guess they have so many things in common – stories which are so similar to each other – that there is just some sort of connection between the two of them.

And the second question mark revolves around the Black Box itself – which you will find out plays a very important part in the story, literally and metaphorically. The opening of this black box was unfortunately not as spectacular as I would have liked it to be. The author could have gone more into detail when it comes to the significance of what Mikki and Crush found inside that box.

But anyways, these are minor caveats and they didn’t make me enjoy this book any less, so much that it gets its well-deserved place on my all-time-favourite shelf. All I can say is that this was my first novel by Cassia Leo and I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author. If you enjoyed reading Dear Emily by Trudy Stiles, you will most definitely be drawn to this book too, and if you do not know what I am talking about, still make sure to check it out!