Jacinta Howard, 2014
“So, maybe God knew I wouldn’t make it through everything okay without Brian. Without his calm. Without his love. Without his milkshakes. Maybe him being in my life was my unmerited divine assistance. Maybe the grace of God is what put Brian in my life.”
― Jacinta Howard, Better Than Okay
I am writing this post at 2:25am despite knowing that I have to be at work at 6:45am. Why? Jacinta Howard’s Better Than Okay. I am not sure how I stumbled across this book, but I am glad that I did. The above is a quote taken from the book that perfectly describes the destined love between Destiny Michaels and Brian Jace. Better Than Okay veered away from the standard storylines featured in romance novels by becoming a story on self-discovery as well. The lead character is Destiny Michaels, a young woman in her early twenties who is employed as a music writer. We meet her as she takes her first trip to New Orleans for an assignment. There, Destiny meets up with her childhood friend, Brian Jace. The two dance around their feelings for each other until tragedy forces them to change their perspectives. In Better Than Okay Jacinta Howard blends the beauty and ugliness of life in this story of unconditional love.
As mentioned previously, Better Than Okay is not your standard Romance Novel. It explores the blossoming love between Destiny and Brian as well as Destiny attempts at relearning how to love herself. The juxtaposition of the most beautiful time in Destiny’s life with the most painful created an enlightening read.
(All ratings on the scale of 1-5 lilies)
Howard portrays Destiny realistically, as a millennial. She has a futon instead of a couch, student loans and a boss who she dislikes. She is a well-developed, multifaceted character who brought the book to life.
While Brian is not the lead character in Better Than Okay, he plays a major role. The love that Brian felt for Destiny was so palpable that I almost want to have a prequel to provide insight into his falling in love with her. He is portrayed as a pillar of strength, but human as well.
Better Than Okay mixed family and friends well. The dialogue included was realistic; the lead characters were given advice, help and tough love. Only one of them worked on my last nerve.
The storyline was in-depth, realistic, captivating and complex. Too many times in literature authors do not take the story there, the dark place it has the possibility to go. Jacinta Howard did not shy away from this, and it shows in the strength of the novel.
Better Than Okay is a well-written, well-thought-out novel with solid characters.
Would I Recommend?
In a word- yes. Jacinta Howard made me feel as if I was there with Destiny during her journey. Unlike my normal standards for books, I cannot even say that I fell for Brian out of respect for the love that he had for Destiny.