Tijan plucked out my heart and filled me back up with so many new emotions!! The Not-Outcast is unlike any story you will read. It’s more important than just a romance that blooms between two people, but it’s a look at the love you allow, or don’t allow, in your life and how that love has a ripple effect when the people in your life cast stones around you.
The Not-Outcast is a hugely emotional story that sheds a light on an ugly side of humanity, but it also showcases the heartfelt beauty of goodness and decency on the other side.
Cheyenne hasn’t had the best life, but it’s a life that she hasn’t known any other side of. Her mother, more times than not is strung out on drugs, leaving Cheyenne to fend for herself, walking the streets or living in homeless shelters, when Cheyenne finds herself locked out of her own home or alone, when we find out her own father abandoned her to live this way, but no real reason as to why. Throughout the entire book, Cheyenne is very self reflective of her feelings and truly never wants to burden those around her. So, in the aspect of how she grew up, she is aware enough that she never wants to draw attention to herself or take away from someone else who could be suffering more.
Cheyenne is going to burrow her way into your soul and you are going to wish you had everything in your rights to give her. The moments when Cheyenne truly feels that she is better off alone, not inflicinting her brand of “crazy” on anyone is so saddening and yet so many people have done just that and have walked away in her life. This mental jail that she lives in day after day, made me weep. Tijan breathed life onto the page and saddened my heart for her over and over again.
While Cheyenne dealt with her mental struggles, Cutler was there through it all. He was patient, he was gentle, he was everything Cheyenne needed. When he feels the initial pull to her, yes, it’s pure chemistry, but the more he stays, he knows it’s something bone deep and making that conscious decision to stay is huge. Falling in love is easy, staying in love takes effort and Cut makes that conscious choice to put in the work. It’s so easy to walk away when someone, for all appearances, isn’t broken on the outside, but on the inside will never get better. While this story isn’t all kisses and roses, Cut has some huge decisions to make on this journey too and none of them are easy, but the way Tijan writes his own path is absolutely perfect.
Cut and Cheyenne together have great chemistry and their love for one another is strong. Cheyenne and her best friends are absolutely amazing together and make me miss my friends something fierce. Cut and his teammates are fantastic and I love their comradery. This entire story is going to touch you and make you think and stick with you long after you finish.
Cutler Ryder was everything I wasn’t.
He was the hockey star. I was an outcast.
He was best friends with my stepbrother, that same stepbrother who hated me.
His two parents loved him. My mom was a junkie. My dad barely knew me.
I got my life together.
Cut went onto NHL stardom.
Then there was a text.
I was drinking.
There was a party.
Cut was there…
I loved Cutler Ryder since the first moment I saw him.
The only problem? He never knew I existed.