Walt is from a wealthy family from the next town over and young Jude has a crush on him. Everyone competes for Walt’s attention and friendship, but Jude is just starting to realize that his feelings are different than just friendship. After Walt’s birthday party, Walt invites Jude to stay over and Jude’s life is forever changed. While the events with Walt became the single most traumatic moment in Jude’s life, his night becomes impossibly worse and the effects are far reaching.
It’s years later and Jude has managed to put his life back together. He still has trust issues and guilt issues and he knows his mind can slide back into dark memories, but Jude wants to move forward. Circumstances have him confronting his past and Jude is not sure he can handle it. When a good-looking man shows up to talk to him and then asks him out, Jude says yes to more than he may be ready for.
That synopsis doesn’t even begin to describe what this book is about. The synopsis is vague as the blurb is vague and it works best that way. The first chapter of this book opens when Jude is 13 years old and attending a birthday party for the wildly popular Wally (who goes by Walt in his adult years). That first chapter is explosive and young Jude’s life and metal health is forever changed.
We catch up with Jude again in his late 20s, where he is working for the family motel cabin business. It took a lot for him to put himself back together and trust doesn’t come easily for him. When the property is damaged by a drunk driver and the driver gets community service on the cabin grounds, Jude knows he cannot handle this new development.
This is a true enemies-to-lovers story and it was intriguing to see how Cox was going to pull this off. It’s not easy for a moment, but the author did a great job of making both characters sympathetic as the story goes on. You want to think one MC isn’t so nice, but then the story flips on itself. Jude really wants to lash out and he wants to break Walt, or he thinks he does, but Jude is a good guy—maybe even too good, but it keeps him together.
There is a lot of drama in this book. A LOT of drama. The book is intense and angsty and good and intense again and then there’s more drama and I was ready for it all and you should be too. The blurb also mentions a man and a brother and while this book is not a triangle, if you only like to see the main pairing on page, this might then not appeal to you. It takes so much to get these guys together and there is a lot for them both to work through and the high intensity carries all of the way through. As it ended, I could have seen the drama dialed down just a bit, to let them enjoy themselves as a couple just a bit more, but the last chapter brings their story all the way around. I was incredibly immersed in this world and if the author were to write any stories about any of the side characters we met along the way, I would make it my next read. I Saw You First is a book with a friends turned enemies turned lovers storyline and all the crazy, chaotic drama that goes along with it that will have you turning pages quickly to see how this could possibly work out.