Jax Miller is the story of a mother in turmoil.
Freedom Oliver is on the run. On the run from her past. On the run from her future. On the run from herself. Sooner or later Freedom will have to stop running. She will have to face her demons before they consume her.
Years ago, Freedom Oliver used to be Nessa Delaney. How did she become Freedom? After being convicted and then exonerated of her husband Mark's murder nearly twenty years earlier. Matthew, one of Mark's crazy brothers, ends up taking Nessa's place in prison. Once out of prison, Nessa wants to be reunited with her young children, Ethan and Layla, but decides to put their safety and well-being first. The crazy Delaney's, Mark's mother Lynn, and his brothers, Matthew, Luke, and John, want Nessa dead. Only Peter, the sane member of the Delaney siblings, has a soft spot for Nessa. But he's confined to a wheelchair, and doesn't have the strength to protect Nessa from his family. Nessa's only option is to enter Witness Protection, and the kids are put up for adoption.
Life goes on, and Nessa becomes Freedom a reckless, alcoholic, and destructive mess. The past forever haunts Freedom. To numb the pain, she drinks to excess. She goes from dead end job to dead end job. But she can't forget her children. She keeps track of them via social media. Ethan and Layla, have now become Mason and Rebekah Paul, raised in a religious cult. Only Mason has managed to escape the cult, focusing on his education and becoming a lawyer. Rebekah wasn't so lucky, she's in deep.
The past and the present come to a head for Freedom when Matthew is released from prison and Rebekah disappears. Freedom can either stay put or find Rebekah. Freedom doesn't care about herself. She only cares about Rebekah's safety. The motherly instincts kicks in. Mason and the Delaney brothers are also on the hunt for Rebekah. For the Delaney's, finding Rebekah means finding Freedom and getting revenge. For Mason, finding Rebekah means reconnecting with his sister.
I was going through a reading slump when I started this, so it took me a couple months to finish this. The chapters are very short, so when I was reading this I was very engaged. As a character, Freedom can be funny, sarcastic, depressing, and reckless all at the same time. But sometimes she was a little annoying. I just wanted her to grow up. At times, some of the situations seemed a little far-fetched. Keeping the plot and number of characters straight was a little hard. I think the author threw everything but the kitchen sink at these characters. Just when you think they can't take anymore, something else happens. The ending was sad and happy. Freedom finally finds some peace but it comes at a price. Overall, I think this was a solid debut. I would definitely read another book by Jax Miller.
Rating: Give it a try
Note: I received a copy from Penguin Random House's Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.