She Laughs in Pink is the first novel in Jessica Calla‘s Sheridan Hall series. It fits quite well with some of the other NA Contemporary Romances I’ve read recently which not only tell a love story, but also highlight important social issues. For me, it’s the equivalent of having your cake and eating it too.
The story itself revolves around the relationship between Chase and Juliet, a couple who meet at a train station who discover they are actually moving to the same floor of the same residence hall in college – Sheridan Hall. Chase is an artist with a rather sorted past but is trying desperately to escape the person he was. Juliet dances ballet and has demons of her own. Though she’s hardcore in love with her long time friend Ben, who is also at Sheridan, Chase is determined to win her over. As Chase and Juliet get to know each other and their other floormates, they all quickly learn that everyone has a past and it doesn’t always stay there.
Now, I can’t mention what issues it deals with without giving away spoilers. But I will say that I believe it handled them quite well. This story was both outspoken and sensitive without feeling preachy or overly judgemental.
Another beautiful addition to this story was the color element. Synesthesia has always fascinated me and it was a interesting part of the story. It almost felt like a fantasy element added to a contemporary story which – as a reader of both – was a fascinating juxtaposition.
While being a steamy read, it also completely yanks on your heartstrings. It’s a story of heartbreakingly human people in terrible situations who are learning how to keep living. Despite the fact that I haven’t dealt with some of the issue it addresses, it still struck me on a very personal level. As soon as I set the book down, I thought much more complexly about not just the characters’ lives but my own as well. I love how Calla used art and creativity as a sort of life balm. It’s a point deeply understood by artists of any kind that creativity is often what carries you through the hard times.
I would recommend She Laughs in Pink for readers who not only like a steamy romance, but also want something extra – unique additions and a generous dose of real life drama.