Kyland (A Sign of Love) by Mia Sheridan
Dirt poor. Hillbilly. Backwoods hick. Mountain folk.
Tenleigh Falyn struggles each day to survive in a small, poverty-stricken, coal mining town where she lives with her sister and mentally ill mother. Her dream of winning the college scholarship given to one student by the local coal company and escaping the harshness of her life, keeps her going.
Kyland Barrett lives in the hills, too, and has worked tirelessly—through near starvation, through deep loneliness, against all odds—to win the Tyton Coal Scholarship and leave the town that is full of so much pain.
They're both determined not to form any attachments, but one moment changes everything. What happens when only one person gets to win? When only one person gets to leave? And what happens to the one left behind?
Kyland is a story of desperation and hope, loss and sacrifice, pain and forgiveness, but ultimately, a story of deep and unending love.
THIS IS A STAND-ALONE SIGN OF LOVE NOVEL, INSPIRED BY TAURUS. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
Kyland is one of those books that makes me wish I were a better writer. It makes me wish I had the words to describe how beautiful this story it. It makes me wish I had the words in me to accurately get across what I am feeling. This is one of those times when I will just have to try my best, but it won't be worthy of this story. You should just go read it now cause it is amazing. Mia Sheridan will break your heart into a million pieces, rip that broken heart right out of your chest, just tears you apart, but also lift you up and put everything back together again in a way that is so magnificent you just want more. Every moment of this story is just heartbreaking but beautiful. It really was a beautiful kind of torture reading this. It made me feel all the feels. And I read at least the last half of the book with tears in my eyes. At least. And I am not a cryer, but this book just got to me, still gets to me. I love how Mia Sheridan writes these stories about people who are not your normal, average, everyday people. They are people who just break you and then build you back up. They are simply amazing.
Tenleigh is a seventeen year old girl living with her mom and sister in a small town in Kentucky in extreme poverty. I knew at least Kyland was poor, but I hadn't read the synopsis before starting the book so I was thinking wrong side of the tracks poor, not this. She is working so hard to try and get this scholarship at school so she can get out all the while taking care of her mom (who has mental illness issues) and working to help pay for food and her moms meds and just trying to keep everything together and just survive.
"And I had to wonder, should a seventeen-year-old girl be so tired? Just tired down to my bones...weary to my very soul?"
Tenleigh's has seen how men can ruin your life, ruined her mom, so she wants nothing to do with them. She is just never going to fall in love. Besides she has enough to try and deal with without adding them to the mix.
Kyland is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. He is so kind and caring and selfless it is just incredible. He lives up in the hills near Tenleigh and he doesn't have it easy either. He comments on how the last week of the month is the hardest as that is when he doesn't have any food, and even still he thinks of other before himself. One of the early scenes you see him take some food and instead of eating it himself, even though he is starving, he gives it to someone who is starving all the time not just at the end of the month.
"I, at the very least, was only hungry the last week of every month when the money ran out. Something inside me had needed to let her know I saw her, as much for her as for myself. And so I'd swiped the sandwich."
He is such an incredible person and he tries his hardest to not hurt anyone, including himself. He is determined to get out and explore the world. He is working just as hard as Tenleigh to get that scholarship, but even if he doesn't get it he is leaving and not looking back. He has always been intrigued by Tenleigh, watching her when no one is looking, but he does not want anything to remind him of home, not even her.
Watching Tenleigh and Kyland fall in love with this backdrop of their extreme poverty was incredibly heartbreaking. They both want to get out, but realistically they both can't. Even if Kyland decided they wanted to make it work and wanted to go with Tenleigh (he is very upfront about how he is leaving everything behind when he leaves), or have her come with him, it is just not practical. When you have nothing how do you get out of that situation? When you are struggling just to survive how do you get more? It is just...the whole time you are reading it is so beautiful how they are falling for each other, but every moment is devastating as well as you can't help but think how can this end well? How can they get their happily ever after? It is just heartbreaking to read, but at the same time I couldn't put it down. The tears just wouldn't leave my eyes for these two incredible people who deserve everything they ever wanted. They are so sweet and innocent and here is where I really have to commend the author. She makes these teenagers actually feel like teenagers which doesn't happen often for me. I really felt like they were kids trying to deal with everything life has thrown at them and figure out how to survive.
"Sometimes my life felt so small. And I had to wonder why those of us who were given small lives still had to feel pain so big. It hardly seemed fair."
Watching these two fall in love was heartbreaking, but beautiful at the same time. The backdrop to the story was equally so. The extreme poverty these kids live in is just crushing. I know there are people who live like this right now. People who don't get enough to eat, don't have good clothes to wear, don't have enough heat in the winter, etc. Through all these situations that were incredibly hard to read, but very realistic, you get to see the backbones of the community. You get to see how resilient the people are. You get to see the community who works together to help out there own. You see the people who give even when they don't have much for themselves. You see the kindness in others that is just unbelievable. It makes my heart so full. It makes me want to be a better person, a more selfless person, and try to help others more. I know I lead a privileged life and reading stories like this really humble me making me want to help those less fortunate than me.
Kyland is just such an amazing person. He is so incredibly selfless it is breathtaking. To be loved by someone like he loves Tenleigh...I don't know what I would do with that kind of love. It is so beautiful and when you get to the end, when you see how absolutely incredibly this guy is, it just fills your heart so full. As I said above he is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. He is just...the things he does for those around him without even thinking twice about it are really admirable. How he loves Tenleigh is just how love should be. Words really don't do this story, or Kyland, justice. Just thinking about everything that happened in this story, every scene, every heartache, every hopeful moment, everything just makes me tear up a bit even now. Tears of sorrow, tears of joy, tears of heartache, tears of hope, just tears that sooth my soul. This really was just an incredible story. Humbling and heart wrenching and hopeful and simply amazing.
"We had everything we needed. None of it was big. Most of it was simple. But what I knew in that moment was that the size of your home, your car, your wallet, doesn't have one single thing to do with the size of your life."
I could't have said it any better. So thank you Mia for writing this incredible book. These characters have stuck with me and will be with me for a long time. Thank you for reminding us of the beauty and goodness in the simple things. Thank you for ripping my heart apart, but then putting the pieces back together in a way that makes it fuller and my life more wonderful from having read this story. Just thank you for this amazingly beautiful read.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★