by Colleen Hoover
Published by Montlake Romance
Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.
Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.
With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.
While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.
Oh boy. This book destroyed me.
I should know by now that Colleen Hoover is just one of those authors that will fuck me up for weeks on end.
Her books are good.
Regretting You, in particular, was a hard read for me. I was invested in the story right from the start. But Regretting You centers around young love, past mistakes, tragedy and ultimate betrayals. And while there is romance in this book, I wouldn't truly categorize it as a romance. This is a coming of age story. It's a story about a mother and daughter at odds, finding a way back to one another after tragedy.
God, this is hard to write without spoilers. But if I spoil it, it will ruin the book for you if you haven't read it yet. Let me just end this by saying the the characters are well written. I liked them all. Well ... except for two, and after you read it, you will know why. I felt a bit of a kinship with Morgan, as I was once upon a time a teen mom myself. While things worked out well for me and my twins father (my husband), life wasn't always easy for us. As a mom of 3 daughters, I gotta tell you, one of my fears is one of them following in my footsteps and having children young. So Morgan's protectiveness didn't bother me. I understood it. As for Clara (love the name! My first born's name :) ) was well-written for a teenager. I felt like her reactions and choices were truly those of a teenager. Regretting You, in the end, is a book with very realistic characters.
While I loved this book, I gotta prepare you - you will cry. You will hurt for these characters. But in the end, its worth it.
Miller: "You take your meds, Gramps?"
He calls him Gramps. It's kind of adorable.
Gramps looks at Miller with a roll of his eyes.
Gramps: "I've taken 'em every damn day since your grandma skipped town. I'm not an invalid."
Miller: "Yet. And Grandma didn't skip town. She died of a heart attack."
Gramps: "either way, she left me."
Gramps: "When Miller was six years old, he shit his pants at the grocery store because the automatic flusher on public toilets terrified him."
Miller groans and opens the front door, looking at me.
Miller: "I should have known better than to bring you inside."
He motions for me to head outside, but I don't.
Clara: "I don't know if I'm ready to leave. I kind of want to hear more stories from Gramps."
I pull out my phone.
Clara: "Does your gramps have Instagram?"
Miller rolls his eyes, but he's smiling.
Miller: "See you at school, Clara. Don't ever come back to my house again."
Miller: "When the play was finally over and the actors came back out onto the stage, you were smiling and laughing, and there wasn't a trace of that character left in you. I was in awe, Clara. You have this charisma about you that I don't think you're aware of, but it's captivating. I was a scrawny kid as a sophomore, and even though I'm a year older than you, I hadn't quite filled out yet, and I had acne and felt inferior to you, so I never worked up the courage to approach you. Another year went by, and I continued to admire you from afar. Like that time you ran for school treasurer and tripped walking off the stage, but you jumped up and did this weird little kick and threw your arms up in the air and made the entire audience laugh. Or that time Mark Avery popped your bra strap in the hallway, and you were so sick of him doing it that you followed him to his classroom, reached inside your hoodie, and took off your bra and then threw it at him. I remember you yelling something like, "If you want to touch a bra so damn bad, just keep it, you perv!"' Then stormed out. It was epic. Everything you do is epic, Clara. Which is why I never had the courage to approach you, because an epic girl needs an equally epic guy, and I guess I've just never felt epic enough for you."
Miller: "You're the one who keeps telling me not to answer anyone."
Clara: "I just didn't want you to feel pressured to label us."
Miller: "Now I feel pressured not to label us."
Clara: "Well, Lexie said if I acted like I liked you, it would scare you away."
Miller raised a brow.
Miller: "If that phone call didn't scare you away last night, I think we're fine. If you like me, I want you to act like you like me, or I'll get a complex."
Clara: "I like you. A lot. Don't get a complex."
Miller: "Good. I like you too."
Miller: "I'm so sorry, Mrs. Grant. I thought you were just one of Clara's friends. You ... you look really young."
My mother is staring daggers at me, ignoring him.
Clara: "She is young. She had me when she was seventeen."
My mother doesn't miss a beat as she finally addresses Miller.
Morgan: "We're very fertile women. Be careful."
Oh my God.
Miller: "You can have my pickle. Maybe that will help?"
Clara: "How do you know I like pickles?"
Miller smiles a little.
Miller: "I've spent three years trying not to stare at you while you eat lunch. Creepy, I know."
Clara: "But also sweet."
Miller: "That's me in a nutshell. A sweet creep."
He pecks me on the cheek and grabs a random book off the shelf behind me. I grab one, too, and we both return to our seats.
It's hard to sit still now. He got me all worked up, and I want to hold his hand or kiss him again, but we have to settle for playing footsie instead. After a while, he leans over and whispers,
Miller: "Mind if we trade books?"
I look at his book, and he closes it so I can read the cover. An Illustrated Guide to the Female Reproductive Cycle.
I cover my laugh with my hand and slide him my book.
Jonah swallows, and then in a rough whisper he says,
Jonah: "I've never hated watermelon Jolly Ranchers. I only saved them because I knew they were your favorite."
Clara: "What's your favorite color?"
Miller: "I don't have one. I like all of them except orange."
Clara: "Really? I like orange."
Miller: "You shouldn't. It's a terrible color. What's your least favorite color?"
Miller: "You just said you like orange."
Clara: "You made me doubt it, like maybe there's something wrong with it that I'm not aware of."
Miller: "There's a lot wrong with orange. It doesn't even rhyme with anything."
Clara: "Is it the color or the word you don't like?"
Miller: "Both. I hate them both."
Clara: "Did something in particular spark this immense hatred?"
Miller: "No. It came about naturally, I guess. Maybe I was born this way."
Clara: "Is it a particular shade of orange you loathe?"
Miller: "I hate them all. Every shade of orange, from mango to coral."
Clara: "This is the stupidest conversation I've ever had."
Miller: "Yeah, we're kind of bad at this. Maybe we should just kiss."
Clara: "Seventy percent of couples have sex on the first date. I think we've been really patient."
Miller laughs quietly.
Miller: "Did you just make up a fake statistic to try and get into my pants?"
Clara: "Did it work?"
He pulls his shirt over his head, and it falls to the floor.
Miller: "It would have worked without the fake statistic."
Clara: "Please. It wasn't personal. I swear."
Those words pull him away from the window and back toward the bed. He lowers himself in front of me and cups my face with both hands.
Miller: "You're right. That's why I'm so upset with you. The one thing that should be the most personal to us wasn't personal at all."
Morgan: "I caught them in bed together this morning. There were condoms on the table. Clara was practically naked. He slept in her room the entire night!"
Jonah's eyes widen.
Jonah: "Oh. Wow."
I fold my arms together and slump down in one of the breakfast nook chairs.
Morgan: "She's testing me."
I look up at Jonah for a little bit of advice.
Morgan: "Do I make him leave?"
Jonah: "It's just dinner. It's not like he's going to get her pregnant at the table."
Morgan: "You're way too lenient."
Jonah: "It's her birthday, and she was upset with us last night, so she probably invited him over out of spite. At least he's here and you'll have a chance to get to know him better."
I roll my eyes and push myself out of the chair.
Morgan: "Dinner is ready. Go tell them before he gets her pregnant."
Jonah: "I'm not asking you to fall in love with me, Morgan. You already love me. I'm asking you to give that a chance."
Morgan: "I do not love you."
I roll toward the other side of the bed, away from him. I need to leave.
I start to stand, but he grips my arm and pulls me back to the bed, onto my back.
I press my hands against his chest to push him away, but he's on top of me now, staring down at me with familiar look in his eyes. I'm instantly still. I'm weak beneath that stare. He is looking at me like he was in that picture. Full of heartache.
Or maybe this is what Jonah looks like when he loves something so much it hurts.
I suddenly don't feel an urgent need to leave. I relax beneath him, into him, around him. I suck in air when he lowers his mouth to mine, dragging his lips slowly up to my ear.
Jonah: "You love me."
It's as if h knows exactly where to touch me, how soft, how firm, where I want his lips. He feels like a professor of my body, and I feel like an inexperienced student, cautiously touching him, unsure if my fingers or my lips can even come close to making him feel how he's making me feel.
I press my mouth against his shoulder and whisper,
Morgan: "I've only ever been with Chris."
Jonah is deep inside me when he stops suddenly and pulls back. Our eyes meet, and he smiles.
Jonah: "I've only ever wanted to be with you."
I hear a text sound off on my phone. My mother pulls it out of her pocket, reads it, rolls her eyes, then puts my phone away.
Clara: "Who was it?"
Morgan: "Don't worry about it."
Clara: "What did it say?"
Morgan: "You would know if you hadn't gotten wasted."
Ugh. I walk to my closet and pull one of my favorite shirts off a hanger. Then another.
Clara: "Better take these shirts. Take all my clothes, actually. I don't need them. I can't leave the house anyway. Even if I could, I'd have nowhere to go, because my boyfriend broke up with me on my birthday. Probably because my mother is crazy!"
I drop an armload of clothes onto the hallway floor.
Morgan: "Stop being dramatic. He didn't break up with you. Go to bed, Clara."
She closes my bedroom door.
I swing it open.
Clara: We did break up! How would you know if we broke up or not?"
she says, turning to face me with a bored expression.
Morgan: "That text was from him. It said, "I hope you sleep well. See you at school tomorrow." People who break up don't text like that - or send heart emojis."
She starts to walk farther down the hallway, so I follow her because I need to know more.
Clara: "He put a heart emoji?"
She doesn't answer me. She keeps walking.
Clara: "What color was it?"
She's still ignoring me.
Clara: "Mom! Was it red? Was it a red heart?"
Clara: "Sing me that song you used to sing to me when I was little."
I'm still trying to catch up to what she said about the wreck being her fault. Why would she think that? I want to ask her about it, but she's too drunk to hold a real conversation right now, so I just climb into bed with her and appease her.
Morgan: "What song?"
Clara: "You know, that song you used to sing to me when I was little."
Morgan: "I sang you a lot of songs. I don't think we had any one particular song."
Clara: "Sing me something else, then. Do you know any Twenty One Pilots songs? We both like them."
I laugh and pull her against my chest.
Clara: "Sing the song about the gold house."
I run my hand soothingly over her head and start to sing quietly.
She's nodding as I sing, letting me know that's the right song.
I continue singing the song, stroking her hair, until the song is over and she's finally asleep.
I gently slip out of her bed and stare down at her. Drunk Clara is kind of funny. I'd prefer to have seen it for the first time when she was twenty-one, but at least it happened here, where I'm the one who gets to make sure she's taken care of.
I tuck her blanket around her and then kiss her good night.
Morgan: "You're driving me crazy right now, Clara ... but my God, l love you."
Clara; "Does that mean you don't want to break up with me anymore?"
Miller: "I never did. I was just upset."
I kiss the inside of his palm.
Clara: "Because it's really gonna hurt when it happens someday. Just thinking you were breaking up with me for two seconds hurt like hell."
Miller: "Maybe we'll never break up."
he says, his voice hopeful.
Clara: "Sadly, the odds aren't in our favor."
He drags a thumb across my bottom lip.
Miller: "That's a bummer. I sure will miss kissing you."
Clara: "Yeah. I'm a great kisser. The best you'll ever have."
He laughs, and I drop my head to his shoulder.
Clara: "What do you think will be the cause of our future breakup?"
Miller: "I don't know."
he says, entertaining my distracting thoughts.
Miller: "But it'll have to be way more dramatic than last night because we're in too deep."
Clara: "It will be. It'll be extremely dramatic. You'll probably become a famous musician, and you'll fall in love with the fame and leave me behind."
Miller: "I don't even play an instrument, and I can't sing for shit."
Clara: "I'll probably become a famous actress, then. And I'll introduce you to one of my costars who is more famous than me, and you'll find her more attractive, and you'll want to touch all of her Academy Awards."
Miller: "Not possible. That kind of person doesn't exist."
I sit up so I can see his face.
Clara: "Maybe they'll colonize Mars, and I'll want to move there and you won't."
He shakes his head.
Miller: "I'll still love you from a different planet."
He said, "I'll still love you." I know he didn't mean it that way, but I grin teasingly.
Clara: "Did you just admit that you're in love with me?"
He shrugs, and then his lips spread apart in a shy smile.
Miller: "Sometimes I feel like I am. I'm sure it's not all that deep yet. We haven't been together that long. We argue a lot more than I'd like. But I feel it. Right below the surface. Tingling. Keeps me awake at night."
Clara: "That could be restless leg syndrome."
He smiles with a slow shake of his head.
Clara: "This could be the cause of our dramatic breakup. You telling me you might be falling in love with me way too soon."
Miller: "You think it's too soon? I knod of thought it was the perfect moment."
He leans forward and kisses me softly on the cheek.
Miller: "I've waited three years to be with you. If falling in love with you too soon will ruin that, t hen I don't even like you. In fact, I hate you."
Clara: "I hate you too."
He threads our fingers together and smiles.
Miller: "Seriously, maybe we really won't breakup. Ever."
Clara: "Remember when you thought I was epic?"
I laugh at that. How could anyone think I'm epic?
Miller: "I still think you're epic. Frustratingly epic."
Clara: "Or epically frustrating."
Miller: "You're great now, Clara. Damn near perfect."
Miller: "I'd say a nine out of ten."
Clara: "What's the reason for the one-point deduction?"
Miller: "It's that pineapple on pizza, unfortunately."
Clara: "One of these days, I'm going to be better for you."
I say, squeezing his hand.
Clara: "I promise."
Miller: "You're perfect just how you are, Clara."
Clara: "No, I'm not. I'm only a nine, apparently."
He's laughing as he backs away from me.
Miller: "Yeah, but I really only deserve a six."
It isn't lost on me that my anger over finding out about my father and Jenny isn't nearly as intense as it was when I thought my mother and Jonah were the ones having the affair.
I contemplate that, and I realize it comes down to one thing.
It seems so insignificant, but it's not. My mother was just put through the most maddening, painful, tragic event of her life. Yet, as always, she put me first. Before her anger, her grief, the betrayal. She did everything she could to shield me from the truth, even if that meant unfairly taking the blame.
I don't doubt my fathers love for me, but I don't know that he would have done the same if the tables were reversed. I'm not sure Jenny would have either.
As devastated as I am to finally know the truth, it actually hurts less than when I thought my mother was the one in the wrong.
Since the day I was born, every decision she's ever made for herself was made in order to benefit me. I've always known that about her. But I'm not sure I appreciated it until tonight.
Clara: "Do you regret marrying him?"
Morgan: "No. I got you."
She lifts her head.
Clara: "I don't mean to you regret ever dating him or getting pregnant with me. But do you regret marrying him?"
I brush her hair from her forehead and smile.
Morgan: "No. I regret the choices he made, but I don't regret the choices I made."
Morgan: "Your father was a great father to you. But as a husband, he made some shitty choices. No one can be the perfect everything."
Clara: "But he just seemed so perfect."
The betrayal in her eyes saddens me. I don't want her to go through life with this memory of Chris. I squeeze her hand.
Morgan: "I think that's the problem. Teenagers think their parents should have it all figured out, but the truth is, adults don't really now how to navigate life any better than teenagers do. Your father made s ome big mistakes, but the things he did wrong in his life shouldn't discredit all the things he did right. Same goes for your Aunt Jenny."
I used to think I needed the answers, but I no longer need them. I know that I loved the best versions of Jenny and Chris. But they fell in love with the worst versions of each other - versions capable of betrayal and lies.
The monologue is thee end of the play, so when I deliver my last line, everyone in the audience begins to clap.
Miller: "Wow. She is incredible. Epic."
That's when he looks at his grandpa and sees the camera pointed in his direction. He tries to snatch the camera out of Gramp's hand, but Gramp's pulls it away. He angles the camera so that it's showing both of them. Miller rolls his eyes at his grandpa when he says,
Gramps: "I think you just fell in love."
Miller: "Shut up."
Gramps: "You did, and I got it on camera."
He points the camera at Miller again and says,
Gramps: "What's her name?"
Miller: "Not sure. Clara, I think?"
He opens the playbill and scrolls through it, pausing on my name.
Miller: "Clara Grant. She played the role of Nora."
His grandpa is still filming h im. Miller isn't even denying what his grandpa is saying. Everyone in the audience is now clapping for the actors as they walk out onstage, but Miller is staring at the camera.
Miller: "You can stop now."
His grandpa laughs.
Gramps: "I think it's cute. Maybe you should ask her out."
Miller: "Yeah, right. She's a ten. I'm like a four. Maybe a five."
Gramps turns the camera on himself.
Gramps: "I'd give him a solid six."
Miller: "Turn it off."
Gramps smiles at the camera. He points it at Miller one more time. When they announce my name and it's my turn to take a bow onstage, Miller bites his lip, trying to hide his smile."
Gramps: "You look lovesick. Damn shame, because she's out of your league."
Miller faces the camera. He laughs and doesn't even try to hide the fact that he seems smitten. He leans forward, closer to the camera, looking directly into it.
Miller: "One of these days, that girl is gonna notice me. You just wait."
Gramps: "I'm not immortal. Neither are you."
Miller looks back at the stage and sighs.
Miller: "You're the worst grandpa I have."
Gramps: "I'm the only grandpa you have."
Miller: "Thank God."
Clara: "Wait a second,"
I face Miller
Clara: "You said you named your truck after a Beatles song. But Nora was the name of my character in that play."
Clara: "Do the Beatles even have a song called 'Nora'?"
He shakes his head, and I can't even believe this guy right now. He's never going to be able to top this.
Gramps: "So? I guess you finally saw the video of when Miller fell in love with you?"
I laugh and lean into Miller.
Clara: "Your grandson is a romantic."
Gramps: "No, my grandson is a nitwit. Took him three years to finally ask you out."
Miller: "Patience is a virtue."