Originally reviewed on These Pretty Words.First things first – I read this book in three hours which included a trip to the Starbucks in the lower level of the hotel I was staying in at the time. I skipped dinner. I ignored my friends. I simply read these beautiful words…and I loved them.Avery Michaels is not your typical female protagonist, especially in the land of YA/NA books. She’s coarse and crass, aggressively sexual and not at all ashamed to identify herself as a player. I didn’t like her at first– I couldn’t find anything relatable about her. In fact, I thought about flouncing for the first three chapters because of her.But then the storyline began to move in a way to show how Avery was raised and why she behaved the way she did. So terrified of becoming what she’d grown up hating, she’s swung her actions to the opposite end of the pendulum. I can’t say that her history excused her behavior, but I truly began to understand her. Pain and fear can make the best of us…not so good.And what kind of a romance would it be without a swoony boy - which brings us to Bennett. Sweet…beautiful…tattooed…virgin Bennett. That’s right…a male virgin. Talk about flipping the stereotypical roles in romance fiction. Bennett is the yin to Avery’s yang – the sweet, disarming, adorable, protective man who wants her for more than just a tumble in the sheets. He’s so sure, so confident in his choice to wait for love before he has sex. It’s not about religious idealism or looking for that mythical “one”, it’s just about finding love instead of just finding release. I liked him…a lot. And every word out of his mouth just makes the reader fall more in love with him.I think what Christina did well in this book is to show how a person can grow and change and better themselves if they just open their eyes and their hearts. Avery was a woman trapped by fear – of love, of losing herself, of giving everything up to someone who could hurt her. Bennett has his own trust issues but he’s a bit less damaged so he becomes the touchstone Avery needs to see past the things holding her back. Together, they form a close friendship that ends up being a solid base for what becomes a wonderful love story. Though it’s not without it’s share of drama.I give this book 3-1/2 stars. I think the characters had depth and appeal, I think the author showed their growth through a romance that was more slow burn than immediate fire, and I think many of the secondary characters attributed to a poignant and thoughtful story of getting over your past to find your future. The pacing was rushed at the end, there was a bit of forced drama that really wasn’t necessary and the repetition of certain phrasing was distracting of times. But in the end, I loved the story, loved Bennett, and would absolutely recommend this book to anyone wanting to read a realistic love story.I’ll be quoting this book for a long time to come and counting down the days until Before You Break, a companion novel to All of You, comes out in 2014.