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REVIEW - Black Box

Black Box - Cassia Leo

4 “Fateful” Stars

“There’s a little blackness inside us all.”



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Black Box by Cassia Leo is my first book by this author. Well...color me impressed. This is a well-written, thoughtful, real and very raw look at a painful and heart-breaking journey of two individuals who have been brought together by fate. More than once. The pair have separately experienced harsh tragedies in their lives. They keep crossing paths. With this last chance encounter can they hold tight to one another, change their destined paths and take a chance at love?


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Nineteen-year-old Mikki Gladstone is barely hanging on. She is painfully broken and the treacherous road she travels daily is becoming harder and harder. Mikki is tired – tired of dumbing down the pain, tired of medications that change who she is and tired of living. She has no more fight left. At the end of her rope, Mikki devises a plan and books a flight to Los Angeles. Her every intention is to end her life with no interferences from her well-meaning family. Fate, however, intervenes and Mikki finds herself stranded with a gorgeous stranger who seems oddly familiar to her.

Twenty-one-year-old Crush Slayer is a university student and is sort of coasting through life. He carries an enormous amount of guilt over a tragedy that occurred in his past. Music is a life source for Crush, a way to deal with all his pent up emotions and guilt-ridden thoughts. While Crush may not have great aspirations to become a famous musician, he decides to travel to Los Angeles to record a demo of his song called Black Box. This is a song with a depth of meaning for Crush, a song he wrote about a stranger. Stranded at the terminal due to a snow storm, Crush encounters a very lost looking girl. He decides to reach out to her not understanding the strange pull he feels towards her. Fate is about to change the course of Crush’s life once again with this purposeful encounter in Terminal B.


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As Mikki and Crush slowly begin to talk and start to open up to one another they realize that they have played extremely important roles in the other’s life. Their paths have crossed before and as the pieces start to come together, Mikki and Crush become painfully aware that their lives are intertwined by tragedy, heartache and emotional wreckage. I do not want to say much more than this when it comes to the plot as part of the joy of reading this book was witnessing how this huge puzzle comes together with the “black box” having a central and crucial role. This author does a stellar job giving her reader a story that flows flawlessly and gradually builds, one piece at a time.

Mikki and Crush discover and learn that while fate may play a role in predetermining your future, sometimes you are given the chance to rewrite the path you are on and therefore change your destiny. Sometimes we think that the course of our life is heading in a certain direction and everything suddenly changes with one fateful encounter or circumstance. The profound connection that Mikki and Crush have is so very tangible. They find a lifeline in one another, a saving grace. The fact that fate intervened and had them meeting in Terminal B was a chance at happiness for both of them. However, it was up to Mikki and Crush as to determine whether they would walk through the door that was being opened for them. I want to state that I tend to love books that end up all neatly wrapped up and tied together with a beautiful bow. I can’t say that this is the case for Black Box. With this being said, I admit that I adored the way that this author ends the book. It does end happily but what I loved the most about the ending is the fact that it is up to us, the reader, to determine where Mikki and Crush will end up. I loved having that in my hands. The future for the pair has so much potential and I, for one, loved the fact that the endless possibilities are left up to me and my imagination.

All in all, Black Box was an incredibly real portrayal of how life can sometimes take a toll on individuals who may not necessarily be equipped to deal with all the hard knocks. It is a book about taking a chance on what may come your way. And, this is ultimately a book about the power of love, how it is strong enough to pull us from the pits of despair. How love may just be strong enough to go up the bitch that is fate.


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****An advanced reading copy of Black Box by Cassia Leo was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.