If You Only Knew by Prerna Pickett
If You Only Knew is the story of Tessa and Corey. It focuses on Corey’s involvement in a drug gang and how he doesn’t belong and desperately wants to get out. After a night of vandalism, following a year in prison, he comes clean to the owner, a local prosecutor. Instead of pressing charges, the prosecutor, Hopper, makes him a deal. He helps to clean up the mess he caused. In the process, he meets Hopper’s daughter Tessa. The two quickly become friends and then develop feelings for each other. But Corey can’t break his ties with the gang without fear for his family, and the two struggle to stay together.
The story is told alternating perspectives between Tessa and Corey, and I loved both characters. This was definitely a slow burn in terms of romance. Tessa and Corey really don’t get together until a ways into the book. But the sections where they are together is well worth it.
A large part of the story was focused on Corey’s involvement in the gang and his desire to leave that life behind. If You Only Knew gave me major Riverdale vibes, with the gang activity, the loyalty to family, and the small-town feel. I really enjoyed this book, but I wish there was a little less of the gang drama and more of the relationship between Tessa and Corey.
Thank you to XPresso Book Tours, Netgalley, and Swoon Reads for the review copy!