Book Review: Gus (Bright Side #2) by Kim Holden


Title: Gus (Bright Side #2)
Author: Kim Holden

Rating: rating-4.5

***Warning: May contain spoilers if you have not read Bright Side***

“I want her to ask me if I’m ok. Just fucking ask me, because I need to tell someone I’m not. I’m not ok, not even close.” Gus

Grief. Pain. It’s all Gus knows after losing his other half, his best friend, his kindred spirit. It would destroy anyone and seeing it happen to a character I absolutely adore, is soul crushing. Rook is on their first worldwide tour but Gus is struggling to give his all in each performance. He drowns himself in anything that will take the pain away, if only for a second. I won’t lie, this part was hard to read. I wanted to scream at him to get his act together, that Bright Side would hate to see him like this, but thankfully there was hope.

Scout has known pain and disappointment practically her entire life. She has the scars to prove it. When she meets Gus, she thinks he’s just a typical asshole rockstar that uses women and then discards them. She can’t see past his destruction, and who can blame her? However, she forgot one thing- first impressions are usually wrong.

“I have a feeling your heart is heavy, and when your heart is heavy, everything’s harder. Dealing with life is harder. Believe me, I know. The negative is amplified, and sometimes that extinguishes the peace.”

I really enjoyed this book. I loved seeing Gus move past his grief and find himself again. He’s so humble, so generous, and so kind. Getting to know him more intimately was a gift. I fell in love with him in Bright Side, and this book only solidified that love. There are very few characters I meet that I feel like I know personally, and that feel tangible and real. Gus is one of them. I feel like I could travel to San Diego and see him surfing, or I’ll turn on the radio and hear a Rook song (god I wish that more than anything). He’s a righteous dude.

“He lives life with his heart fully exposed. From the inside out. His life isn’t about what’s going on outside, the Gus the rest of us see and perceive. He doesn’t live life, he feels it.”

I loved watching Scout gain some self confidence and realize what a beautiful person she is. I loved reuniting with Keller, Stella (who is the cutest little girl EVER), Duncan, and Shelly. It was nice to get a glimpse into their lives.

I’ll be honest, this book didn’t blow me away like Bright Side. When I read the last sentence, I wasn’t filled with awe or amazement. But this book brought me closure. It brought me peace, and I think that’s what Kim wanted. I realize now while writing this, is that I needed that peace after the chaos and destruction. Bright Side left a hole in my heart but Gus filled it.

“Bright Side helped make me the man I am, and Scout helped me remember who that man was, helping me become my own person.”


Rating: rating-4.5

“Some people wear their scars on the outside. Other wear them on the inside. Same difference. Your character, your heart, your essence, that’s what’s important, because that’s the real you. All the rest, our looks, the material stuff? It’s just meaningless bullshit.”

I should be the one named Impatient. After I read Bright Side and learned that Gus was going to have his own book, I freaked out. In a good way. In an awesome way. Gus won my heart in a way few have. Don’t ask me why, because I could give you a thousand reasons or I could just go blank. He’s consuming, that’s what he is. His heart consumes everything around him and then it gives back tenfold. I can’t tell you how happy I was when I realized there was going to be a book just for Gus. I needed it.

Thank you, Kim.

After you’ve read Bright Side, you’re left with this void, like there’s something missing in your life and you just can’t fill that part of your heart with anything. You lost not only Kate, but you know that in some way, you’re losing Gus too, and something needs to be done, quickly. For me, it’s very common to cry with emotional books (I’m a proud cryer), but few have made me sob and fight to actually breathe. Bright Side did. Gus did, only not as strong, but it did. There’s this beauty about these books, that you just can’t explain. It’s because of the love that the words and the characters radiate. It’s the obstacles and the struggle each of the characters have to face to survive and to live. It’s the happiness you feel. It’s the sadness and frustration that you feel. It’s a combination of everything.

I loved this book. It was such a sweet read, even with the frustrating parts. It was a book about redemption. About doing what’s right for you, for your family, for your friends. It’s about finding what you thought was long gone and lost. It’s about realizing that there’s always a light, something that will help us see the bright side of our own life.

“I think people find each other when they’re ready for them. When they need each other the most. And it’s in that time of need that the strongest relationships are formed.”

Just like Bright Side, this book has the perfect pace. It goes according to the characters’ needs, and in some way, it goes exactly according to your need to heal. It’s amazing, because at first you’ll find yourself drowning in grief and sorrow and anger. Just like our dear Gus, and more often than not, that anger is directed to our dear Gus. Mistakes are made, but I guess it’s hard to find that focus, when you feel everything you love and everything that made you live, is gone. We just have to have hope that things will get better, right? If you haven’t read Gus yet, that’s my advice to you. Be patient and have hope. 

Gus is as beautiful and amazing as he was in Bright Side. Even more so. In the first book, we barely get to know him. We just get bits and pieces of who he is, what he wants, but if there’s one thing we’re absolutely sure is about his love for Kate. And that love is only intensified in the second book. Getting inside his head was a true experience. One thing I still can’t forget and can’t get over with is how humble he is. His character, the way he is, is just remarkable, and I can’t tell you enough how much I love him. I can’t tell you how much I admire his strength, his honesty, his vulnerability, the simplicity of his heart. He’s the kind of guy who appreciates the little things in life. He’s the kind of guy who pays attention, when no one else does or won’t. It warms my heart completely. He’s not afraid to show his emotions and that’s something to be proud of. He made me cry and he made want to throw my ipad more times that I care to admit, but at the end of the day, I just wanted to hold him and make sure everything was going to be alright. Another thing that stands out is the way he gets along with Keller. They’re the very definition of a bromance, and I loved it. Keller is a wonderful character and I was happy to know more about him and Stella. Those are two characters you can’t forget.

Bright Side helped make me the man I am, and Scout helped me remember who that man was, helping me become my own person.”

Then we have Scout. I’m going to be completely selfish here. She’s not Kate. I liked her, I truly did. She’s strong and determined. She’s capable of so much love, and yes, she has a lot of issues and a her own baggage to deal with, but at the end of the day… I still missed Kate. I know there shouldn’t be a comparison between the two characters, but my heart couldn’t let it go. I know she was the right person to help Gus through it all. I know this, and I couldn’t be happier and grateful that she did. She managed to give us the old Gus back. I admire her will to do what she needs to do. I admite her strength and her honesty.

I have this theory that I learned thanks to my dear friend Lori L. Otto… There are soulmates and there are true loves. Sometimes, some people (or characters) are lucky enough to have both in the same person. But sometimes, that’s not the case. Sometimes, your soulmate is not meant to be your true love, not that you don’t love him/her deeply. Your soulmate is meant to be that one person who will give you everything you need, and be there for you whenever you need it, and be whoever you need them to be. And more importantly, they’ll do whatever they need to ensure your happiness, even if it’s with someone else. Your true love is the one who’s meant to be all that and more.

I believe Gus was Kate’s soulmate, and she was his.

I believe Keller was Kate’s true love, and she was his.

I believe Scout is Gus’ true love, and he was hers.

I wish I could’ve connected a bit more with Gus and Scout’s relationship. It’s not that I didn’t like them or love them, it’s just that I felt there was something missing. I guess, it all comes back to Kate, and I think it’ll always be like that. I loved this book, because it gave me a sense of closure, of redemption. It gave me the peace I needed.

“I’ve fallen in love with epic.
It’s the only way to live.”


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