The Storm Before the Calm by Cate Ashwood

Cate Ashwood - The Storm Before the Calm FSTitle: The Storm Before the Calm

Author: Cate Ashwood

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, New Adult

Length: Novel (200 pages)

ISBN: 9781634760867

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 5th 2015)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Aerin

Blurb: Charlie has one passion in life: dancing. It’s his salvation when it feels like the world is swallowing him whole. When his mom secretly secures him a spot in the summer intensive at the Free Rein Dance Company in New York, he is thrilled. He knows that once the summer ends, he’ll have to return to Beacon to get a job and help support his family, but for those two months, he can spread his wings. 
In New York he meets Max, a junior instructor who is everything Charlie wishes he could be. Bold and self-assured, Max radiates pride in who he is. As they spend time together, Max shows Charlie what life can be like past the walls of his closed-minded home town. But Charlie doesn’t know if he’s ready to show the world who he truly is when standing in the spotlight is the last thing he wants.

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Review: Another lovely book from Cate Ashwood; I’m a happy girl! This is a beautiful, low in angst young adult story, one I enjoyed reading this from the beginning to the end. I’m not a frequent reader of YA books, but Cate Ashwood is one of those authors who successfully writes this genre, so I know I’m in good hands with her.

This is the story of Charlie and Max, two dancers who touched my heart in different ways. Charlie escapes to New York the summer after his high school graduation for an intensive dance program at a renounced school. The bullying he endures at his small town high school makes his life a living hell, and Charlie found a very unhealthy outlet for all the emotional pain he feels. 

Max is a junior dance instructor at the school Charlie goes to for the summer, and the chemistry between them is instant and obvious. When they start training together for a duo and have to spend hours together getting very close and personal, sparks start flying, and Charlie has to come to terms with his sexuality. 

I loved their friends to lovers story, and while there are not very explicit sex scenes between them, what we get is extremely sensual and romantic. You know the type of teenage love that’s all-consuming, greater than everything, passionate, a love that knows no bounds? That’s what we get from them, and I loved it! There’s plenty of kissing and snuggling, and the boys like to experiment a lot sexually, so have no worries, this book isn’t steam-less. I guess we get a more innocent type of sex, which was fitting since the boys are on the young side. 

There are two things that would have made this book perfect. 
1. We needed Max’s POV. He is such a patient, amazing, supportive, sexy, attentive man! He’s a perfect boyfriend without leaving us feeling like his character was overdone. Unfortunately, we don’t get to know much more about him than that, because this story is told exclusively from Charlie’s POV.

2. Charlie’s reluctance to discuss his feelings and expectations with his mother…it didn’t need to be here; it just didn’t make any sense to me why he was so set on going back home after the summer was over. I understood and admired his determination to help his mother financially, but that could be done without him giving up on the happiness he found in New York alongside Max. Charlie’s mother was such an amazing woman; loving, caring, understanding and accepting; I love it when we get amazing characters like her.

Beautiful HEA, adorable, lovable MCs, amazing secondary characters, and beautiful sensual dancing. What more do you want? Recommended!