Take one person with walls, and another with thicker walls, and you've got yourself a recipe for disaster. Enter Ty and Shelby. Heck, throw in a third set of walls and you have Ty's son, Casey.
Ty's walls stem from a seemingly abusive past with his parents (the story doesn't quite unfold itself) and a loving relationship with his grandfather, "Pop". He had a bad relationship with Vanessa, and once he realized he was ready to move on from the partying and drugs and meaningless sex (both with and without Vanessa), he packs his bags and goes on his way, never truly leaving roots.
Shelby's walls are much more written about -- hers stem from a preacher father who belittles her and constantly tells her how she's sinned. When she learned to grow cold and indifferent toward him, her father moves on to what will hurt her most, and that is her mom. As an adult, she's learned how to compartmentalize her feelings and keeps herself holed up fairly well. A public mishap with a guy "airs her dirty laundry" and again, her sins are forefront. At this point, she no longer let's people into her walls.
When Ty and Shelby meet, it's not under the best circumstances (let alone the best time of day.... err... night) and while Ty initially tries to charm her, he sees her for the judging person every other person has proved themselves to be, and she sees him as a grown man living in a punk's body. Both are judging at an all time high.
As the story progresses, Ty's walls come down first.....
....and every time Shelby's start too, something happens and she throws them right back up.
It starts with her control during sex. She doesn't care that Ty was upset when she throws him out after. One night, Ty manages to get them on an even playing field, but again, something happens and they revert. They go on a date, something happens, she reverts.
It started to get annoying, to be honest. I understand that it was a character flaw so deeply engrained in her that she had a hard time letting go, but at some point if you're not going to give yourself 100%, you need to let the other person move on. There wasn't any true inside look to her falling for Ty, but the author did mention once or twice Ty was falling for Shelby -- she even wrote how Shelby could see it in Ty's eyes (to which this brought up another wall).
The last part to bother me was the end.... After Ty tries and she (again) pushes him out, he decides enough is enough. But come morning, he decides to try again. Kind of like lost puppy dog syndrome. Luckily, this time she doesn't push him away, instead she hugs him and says she loves him. And he let's her. He doesn't say it back, but he allows her back in. I have a hard time with this... I want to yell and scream that she'll just pull him along again. But if the epilogue has any say, it actually worked out this time. The last chapter scene goes to show what one of the last thoughts in the epilogue states, about how when Shelby would get quiet, Ty would let her be alone, but she'd always come back to him. That one teeny tiny scene in the hospital shows the first of these instances.
I wish the book were more of Shelby growing and going through those instances, and less of the pushing away. I wish to have seen more of the relationship that was evident in the epilogue -- that year could have had many ups and downs, all of which I'd love to have seen. At some point, Ty started professing his love, and Casey became more like the kid he should have been all along.
While I enjoyed the story, parts frustrated me. Altogether, I would give the book 3.5 of 5 stars, simply because books that I really like typically get 4 and I reserve 5s for those that I know I will read again and again and again. I do not doubt that I'll reread this book -- again, the story itself was good and I fell in love with characters -- it just might be a number of months before I revisit.