Cutler Ryder was everything I wasn't.

He was the hockey star. I was an outcast.
He was best friends with my stepbrother, that same stepbrother who hated me.
His two parents loved him. My mom was a junkie. My dad barely knew me.

Years passed.
I got my life together.
Cut went onto NHL stardom.

Then there was a text.
I was drinking.
There was a party.
Cut was there...

I loved Cutler Ryder since the first moment I saw him.
The only problem? He never knew I existed.

the not-outcast

by tijan

The Not-Outcast by Tijan was an emotionally consuming tale that makes us take a step back and look more in depth at the stigma surrounding mental health. It shows us that we shouldn't define a person based on their medical diagnosis and look deeper into who they are as a person. The author did a phenomenal job with her storytelling approach and I was left utterly speechless by the journey she took us on.

Our heroine Cheyenne has not had the easiest life and my heart ached for her. In all honesty, her journey brought tears to my eyes and left me absolutely breathless as I inhaled all the words. She is a breath of fresh air because she's not perfect and she has flaws, which is what happens in real life. Cheyenne has this strength about her that makes her such a unique character and shows us that while she struggles from a mental illness, it does NOT define who she is.

Cutler was the swoon-worthiest hero and oh my FREAKING goodness I found myself absolutely addicted to him. He was the PERFECT match for Cheyenne with his caring heart and he just connected with her on a deeper level. Cut did NOT define her for her mental illness, and instead took the time to understand who she is. He did not focus on her flaws, but rather looked at her strengths, which made me fall even more in love with him. The close connection they formed was undeniable and I loved every moment of their journey.

Tijan's storytelling ability was breathtakingly flawless. She didn't hold back anything and touched base on a subject that many people don't really understand. She managed to write something completely unexpected and I enjoyed that she didn't write a traditional hockey romance. YES, there was hockey intertwined, but that was not the main focus of the story. We got to form a bond with Cheyenne and Cut, while they were learning about each other. Their love was a breath of fresh air and honestly I was not ready to let them go. This story was different from the other books I have read from Tijan, but I can't say I was anything BUT satisfied! Hands down a TOP READ of 2020 for me!

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series: standalone
genres: contemporary romance
release date: december 1, 2020