Dirt poor. Hillbilly. Backwoods hick. Mountain folk.
Tenleigh Falyn struggles each day to survive in a small, poverty-stricken, coal mining town where she lives with her sister and mentally ill mother. Her dream of winning the college scholarship given to one student by the local coal company and escaping the harshness of her life, keeps her going.
Kyland Barrett lives in the hills, too, and has worked tirelessly—through near starvation, through deep loneliness, against all odds—to win the Tyton Coal Scholarship and leave the town that is full of so much pain.
They’re both determined not to form any attachments, but one moment changes everything. What happens when only one person gets to win? When only one person gets to leave? And what happens to the one left behind?
Kyland is a story of desperation and hope, loss and sacrifice, pain and forgiveness, but ultimately, a story of deep and unending love.
Okay, I’m just gonna curl up into a ball & cry..
Kyland, the smart, prideful, beautiful, selfless man.
Kyland, who had been living alone in a trailer for years.
Kyland, who stole a sandwich only to give it to a poor woman despite his own empty stomach.
Kyland, who wanted to leave Dennville desperately but turned down his ticket & gave it to the girl he loved.
Kyland, who went down to hell every day, for Ten.
Kyland, who discreetly funded Ten’s mom’s hospital bills.
Kyland, who kept loving Ten & hoping that somehow he would get her to take him back.
“What keeps your fire burning?”
“The hope that life won’t always hurt so badly. The belief that I’ll get out of here someday–that I won’t be cold or hungry forever. It keeps me going. It’s my fire. It helps me do the things I need to do to survive, and it helps me hate myself less for doing them.”
What Kyland thought of Tenleigh:
Half agony, half hope.
Half pain, half esctasy.
Half grief, half joy.
Half my downfall, half my savior.
And after all that they’ve gone through, Kyland thought
We had everything that we needed. None of it was big. Most of it was simple. But what I knew in that moment was that the size of your home, your car, your wallet, doesn’t have one single thing to do with size of your life. And my life … my life felt big, filled with love and with meaning.