Reading Time: 3 minutes
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Justifiable is a new adult novel about Willow and Flint, two college students in love with one little problem. With the help of Flint’s half-brothers, they embark on a journey to protect Willow. The novel features a strong narrative voice and excellent dialogue, but some characters could be more memorable, and the ending could be improved. The book’s central theme is families coming together to help in times of hardship.
I must confess that this book was challenging for me to read. On several occasions, I was on the verge of giving it up, but thanks to Charlie Walters, I stood my ground and went all the way. But first, I will tell you the story.
Willow Martin and Flint are a couple of college students who are very much in love. He studies business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, while Willow studies psychology with a social work specialty in Detroit. They have gone to school together since middle school, but it is now, in college, that they have realized their love for each other.
The novel begins in Chicago, at the home of Knox, Flint’s half-brother. Him and Willow have gone looking for Knox to ask him for help with a problem that Willow has. Because there is no backstory, this is one of the parts of the book where you must have read the other books. We only know that it is Thanksgiving, that the young people showed up without warning, that Flint’s family is extensive, and that Knox and Flint have special powers. Yes, there’s a lot of information in just a few lines.
They need help because Willow is being stalked. At first, the stalker leaves gifts at the door, but as the story goes on, we see that Charlie, the stalker, becomes more aggressive.
In short, the story is about how Flint and his half-brothers help and protect Willow and the adventures they all go through while they do it.
The story of how the young couple fell in love is integral to the book. The physical approaches are given individually throughout the book, reaching a climax near the end.
Why do I say that finishing the book was hard for me? First, the characters don’t seem to grow or change much. The truth is that most of the characters in the novel could be more memorable. Second, nothing about them made me want to learn more, except for the stalker.
I’d rather not say much about Charlie in order not to give anything away. Still, it is the best-developed character with the most evident motivation and the best-explained backstory. The character’s family history, which is the cause of all the problems faced by Charlie, is told clearly and concisely. Also, the character’s traits are meaningful, like Charlie’s obsessive compulsiveness, and are exposed in an efficient way of building character.
Also, how the narrative voice reveals the character’s identity is excellent. In this part, I fell into the trap of the narrative voice and had to read the information several times. But I liked the game where the voice controls the information. I’m sure you will be shocked when you get to this part of the novel.
One of the novel’s themes is help from family in times of hardship. As such, throughout the story we need to see a family interacting. I get it. But the number of characters in the book made it hard to follow. First, there are Flint and Willow, who are the main characters. Then there are Flint’s half-siblings Knox, Memphis, and Tyler, as well as their partners and mothers.
Not only are there many of them, but they are also very close, causing many people in many scenes of the story to be together all the time. Then there is Willow’s family: her mother and grandparents, and also her many friends.
It can be hard to keep up when so many people interact in the same scene. For example, in one scene, Knox, Willow, Dex, Flint, Krista, Serena, Lexi, and Cam are talking around a coffee shop table… do you see what I mean?
Another aspect of the novel is Flint’s siblings’ superpowers. So, Knox can make fire and control it, and Flint can move water (hydro telekinesis?) However, these powers are only mentioned here and in the story. Unlike most superheroes, they seldom use them against an enemy.
The ending is another aspect that could have been better. We know this is an urban fantasy-ish, coming-of-age, new adult, romantic novel that is part of a series. Therefore, we can quickly figure out what will happen in the end. However, how the end develops seems unsatisfactory. I won’t spoil it, but it looks a bit forced and not specific.
Lastly, contrary to some reviews, I think Willow’s character lacks empowerment. She is stalked throughout the book and is a victim, agreed. But the character needs more agency because Flint and his siblings provide and execute all the solutions to her problems.
Samson has a natural ability to write dialogue. Actually, besides Charlie’s character, I enjoyed most of the dialogue. The constant banter between Flint and Knox and between Flint and Willow is excellent. Although sometimes the dialogue doesn’t seem to move the story forward, it is dynamic and funny enough to keep reading. This is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the novel.
Overall, Justifiable is an easy-to-read, fast-paced new adult novel with a significant romantic component that mixes obsession, adventures, family, friendship, and humor, with a commanding narrative voice.