“Did you ever dream we’d be cured or something?”
“I knew from the beginning that we’d be addicted after all.”
Damn if that doesn’t explain this book. Addicted After All by Krista and Becca Ritchie. Book 5. Lily and Lo’s last (solo) book. Oof. This one hits me in all my feels. Saying goodbye to these was hard but where we leave Lily and Lo makes me so happy and warm that I’m almost okay with it. Almost.
The Core 6 have moved in together, but the new living arrangements still come with challenges. The spotlight has not gone anywhere. The media is just as obsessed with this group as ever. And they’re seriously pushing everyone, Lo especially, to their limits. It hurt to watch the media and other cruel people poke at Lo’s weaknesses, the biggest one being Lily. But the fact that he was able to stand back up, brush off the dust, and look a little bruised but not really worse for wear – it just really highlights the growth of his character. The parallels between hearing about horrible things concerning Jonathan Hale and him causing Lo to ultimately fall to the ground and relapse – and now hearing such awful things about Lily, her addiction, and their son, it’s so apparent that Lo is so much stronger. He fall or stumble but he can pull himself up and keep moving forward. Ugh, this cinnamon roll.
And of course, Lily is pregnant. She’s learning to adjust to her crazy hormones – that basically want to make her jump Lo at every opportunity. And with the media and their judgmental ways already deciding that she won’t make a good mother. This book is a lot of Lily worrying about how her battle with her addiction is going to affect her son. She wants to prioritize her child over sex, but like I mentioned at the beginning, an addict is always and addict and she’s never going to be cured of this. And when she does give birth to an adorable Maximoff, she really struggles with a balance. There were absolutely times when she was knocked down and had a really bad day, but I think at least knowing that Maximoff needed her helped push her through. Lily is an amazing mom and there’s no way she’d ever abandon her child. So even when she struggles, there’s the light at the end of the tunnel reminding her to keep moving forward.
Also a big thing in this book – Jonathan Hale is giving up his title has CEO of Hale Co. and handing it down to someone in his family. This includes Lo, Ryke, Lily, and Daisy. At first none of them truly want the position but they absolutely don’t want anyone else to suffer either. So all four spend a fair portion of the book fighting against each other to impress the board. It’s no surprise that as the son of the CEO, Lo is at the center of all of this. He struggles with his feelings towards his father. Part of him wanted to do this for his dad because throughout the series, he talks about how Jonathan took Lo in when his own mother didn’t want him. Jonathan saved his life and Lo feels like it’s his time to pay back his dad. But certainly as the book progresses, I thought it was really interesting how Lo of all them started out making sure that he would win so that Lily and Ryke and Daisy wouldn’t be subjected to the corporate life to finding a new purpose and truly wanting the position.
There were so many great moments in this book. Rose has her baby too! Watching her and Connor navigate parenthood was such a treat. Daisy and Ryke are settling into their relationship – this book also comes right after Hothouse Flower. Lily has such love for her little sister’s love and seeing her share it with the world – such a Lily thing to do. #Raisy is alive. Addicted After All had so many sweet family moments too. Lo and Ryke have really hurdled the worst in their relationship and now they’re just strengthening their bond. And having him admit that Ryke saved his life and Rose saved Lily’s. Oof, my heart could not take it. It was pretty brutalized by this book, but I’m 100% okay with that.
Lily and Lo will never be cured of their addictions. That’s established in this book for sure. But after all the hardships these two have through together and apart, they’re stronger. They can hit a speed bump that may leave them a little dented – but they won’t be thrown from the vehicle. Lily and Lo have learned the strength to recover from their hurdles and I felt so, so proud of them and the happy stasis they reach by the end of this book. 5 stars for these two.