From RomanceJunkies.com

Contemporary
Growing up Little
By Belle Rouge
Feb 1, 2006 - 7:34:00 AM

On Nikki Braedan's sixteenth birthday, her parents announced that they were moving. They had no plans to take Nikki with them. The only time Nikki's parents had ever paid any attention to her was when they wanted a punching bag. They never cared for her and they never let her forget that she was an unwanted surprise. Jake, Nikki's twenty-two-year-old brother, stepped up to take care of her just like he always had. The two of them moved in with Jake's best friend, Charlie.

Jake grew up hard as nails. The only love he ever knew was from Little, his affectionate nickname for Nikki. In trying to protect her, she is exposed to a side of life that she's not ready for. When trouble between Jake and an old enemy spills over onto Nikki, she is hurt and terrified. Nikki finds her confidence and ability to trust destroyed. She has always relied on Jake. Now she is too scared to make a move without him. Jake has to convince Little that things will be all right and that she won't ever lose him. But Charlie's the one that teaches her that growing up is worth the struggle.

GROWING UP LITTLE is one of those rare books that hold you spellbound from beginning to end. Lauren N. Sharman paints a vivid picture of a bittersweet time in Nikki's life. Nikki shouts for the reader to care for her, to cheer for her to find a happy ending. The emotional connection between the main characters is a deep and true example of what love is meant to be at it's finest. Although the romantic elements of this story aren't seen until near the end, they are more realistic because of the wait.

Jake's love and tenderness for his sister Nikki show us all what we hope for in out own families, a solid and binding relationship. Charlie has never known what it was like to have a family of his own. When he meets Jake in fifth grade, he not only gets a best friend but a family. Charlie is the type to think before he acts and provides a good counter to Jake's act before thinking personality. Then there is Nikki. Nikki has so much love to give, but was taught early by her parents to fear giving that love. She is sweet and, for Jake and Charlie, represents hope and love. Nikki, Charlie and Jake quickly learn that they can face any problem by leaning on each other, together they are unbeatable.

Ms. Sharman has written a beautiful story that will have the reader hoping that Nikki will find her way to a happily ever after. This book is one that I will recommend for a long time to come. GROWING UP LITTLE has certainly earned a place of honor on my keeper shelf.



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