Series Review: Heartache Duet by Jay McLean

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for Heartache and Hope (from Goodreads):

Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last…
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.


Series: Heartache Duet

Set in the same world as the More Than Series & Preston Brothers Series.

Author: Jay McLean
# of Books: 2 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult / New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: June 2019 – July 2019
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a huge Jay McLean fan and was eager to read this series when it first came out. But being a Jay McLean fan means I know I want the full series to be released before I dive in so I’m not biting my nails waiting for the next installment thanks to her massive cliffhangers!

When the audiobooks were made available at my library and I wanted to listen to contemporary romance next, this was the one I downloaded.

The Plot:

There was something incredibly addicting about Heartache and Hope (#1). I was so absorbed into Connor and Ava’s individual stories in addition to their blossoming romance. I laughed, I cried, I exclaimed things aloud while listening to this audiobook in public. I just became engrossed in this story.

While First and Forever (#2) wasn’t as addicting to read for me, it was still a solid finale. I just felt like we regurgitated a few of the same sentiments again and again. But it was great to watch these characters grow and see where they end up in the world.

The Characters:

No one writes angst — real heart-wrenching, truly tough angst — like Jay McLean. These characters aren’t simply upset because their crush won’t give them the time of day. They have experienced trauma and are doing everything they can to overcome the hand life has dealt them.

I loved Connor and Ava — and I definitely would read some books about some other characters we meet to. Everyone had such great personalities and development; they helped enhance the story.

The Romance:

I love a good slow burn, hate-to-admit-I-like-you attraction between characters. There was just this delicious tension between these two. Some of their banter was a little quirky but it worked for these two. Yes, it has all the moments of that all encompassing first love but you could see how these two would work long term which always balances that aspect out.

My Audiobook Experience:

The audiobook production was great. I loved how the narrators brought these characters to life. I think I got a lot more of the emotion and turmoil these characters were experiencing simply because someone was saying those sentiments allowed.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

Heartache and Hope 5/5 | First and Forever 4/5


If you want a book series that will make you laugh, cry and shout aloud, why are you waiting! Real world angst at its finest here!

Read if You Like: first loves, complicated characters
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary romance, want lighter subject matter


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