This is the fifth and final book in the Pepper Jones series, and it’s one you don’t want to miss.
Pepper Jones is ready to start breaking some records. She’ll be a junior in college, and if she wants to run professionally when she graduates, it’s time to step things up a notch. This time around, she knows it won’t be accomplished by ramping up her training.
While Pepper’s hoping for a race day breakthrough, she wonders if there’s a mental barrier holding her back, and if so, how is she supposed to confront it?
Meanwhile, Jace Wilder wants Pepper back any way he can have her, but he’s reluctant to bulldoze his way into her life having already crushed her once (okay, probably a few more times than that) before. More scenes from Jace’s point of view in the book shed a new perspective into the character Pepper fans love to hate, and hate to love, delving into those layers he’s only given glimpses of in the past.
The Brockton crew is growing up. Zoe and Wes. Jenny and Rollie. Lexi and Brax. Bunny and Wallace. Pepper and ??? It’s time to find out what Pepper’s happily ever after will be.
I had bittersweet feelings diving into this one, knowing it was the last book in Pepper’s saga. The story picks up more than a year after the end of Pep Talks. Pepper and Jace are still apart, but otherwise, life in Brockton has settled into normal, well a new normal. One where Pepper’s friends are in stable relationships while she is still single and focused on running and her future. While she can tell Jace has changed, she’s too afraid of his ability to break her to let him back in. Jace is reeling from the biggest mistake he ever made and at a loss for how to fix things with Pepper.
This book is relatively short at only 180 pages and I would have liked more. The story itself is fine, building to an intense climax and wrapping up loose ends before rolling into a satisfying conclusion. But there are elements that are shared in summary form after they happen and would have been great to have been shown in real time. Other than that, I like the character development, the overall arc, and the emotions this story evoked.
There’s a lot going on in this installment. Primarily, it’s the story of Pepper and Jace and how they navigate the ever changing waters of their lifelong relationship. Both so clearly love the other, but Pepper is understandably gun-shy. Pepper is being pursued by Clayton Dennison and that drives some obvious conflict between Jace and Pepper. It’s also the story of what happens with the rest of their lives. With Jace entering his last year of college, an NFL draft might be in his future, and Pepper needs to determine if her future lies in professional running. All plot points are addressed in a believable manner, but as I said, I did want more for some of them. I would have loved to see more struggles with some of the decisions that are made and more of Pepper’s running.
The characters are still wonderful, fully-developed, and complex. I love the changes that both Pepper and Jace go through as they mature, and I love that Bunny is still Bunny, Pepper’s wild, pot-smoking gran.
Other than including more exposition than I wanted, we get inside Pepper’s head the way we always do, and I still love her thought processes.
I loved the ending. This is a satisfying conclusion to the series. Yes, I’ll miss all the characters, but closure is good, too.
Top Five Things I love about Pepped Up Forever:
1. Buns. Everything about Pepper’s fun-loving crazy grandmother is amped up in this finale.
2. Jace. He’s got his issues, but his love for his family and friends is never in doubt — only how he deals with his issues.
3. Pepper. She’s still tenacious even if a bit unsure, but watching her process everything the way she does is always a treat.
4. Wes and Zoe. They’re incredibly cute. I’d love a series with these two starring in it.
5. The ending. So perfect. And yeah, I still want more, but I’m finally okay with letting go.
A worthy ending to a great series.
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book
Title: Pepped Up Forever
Series: Pepper Jones #5
Author: Ali Dean
Release Date: October 1, 2015
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
About the Author
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband, twin babies, and golden retriever. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.