To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.
Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.
As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.
West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: August 25th 2015 by Simon Pulse
** I received an advanced readers copy from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**
This is a brand new series and no matter what my thoughts on the book are, I think YA/NA fans are going to be drawn to it. It will either be a case of loving the book or loving to hate it. My thoughts take two different paths when it comes to this book.
I'll start with a few of my thoughts on the characters in this book. I'm not going to lie. West was no book boyfriend of mine, in fact I hated him for a large chunk of the time. He was arrogant, obnoxious and totally disrespectful to the girls in his life. He was also dealing with some pretty heavy issues at home. While it doesn't excuse his behaviour it certainly explains it. Reflecting on his behaviour I actually kind of liked the fact that Glines didn't pen a perfect character with a list of admirable qualities. It made it a little more real and showcased the ugly side of people when dealing with hard core emotions.
When it came to Maggie I was a little more undecided. At times I thought she was weak but at other times I thought she was really strong. She made it out of the most unthinkable situation in the only way she knew how. Her weakness was more with dealing with her feelings for West. There were times when I wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into her with the way he treated her. Having said that, underneath all the ugly there were some moments of beauty in the way they helped each other that had me holding out hope for them. Some of the ugly was brought to light and called out in the story which I appreciated because it made me more able to route for the two of them.
People can read this book and talk about how self centred, shallow and disrespectful the characters were in this book till the sun comes up. I can tell you, this was my small town high school, field parties and all. For each character in the book I could think of someone like them. Not everyone was like that but it was a very honest depiction of the way some high school kids act. I'm talking both the male and female characters. I'm not saying that it is OK, I'm just saying that people like this exist and the story isn't that far off the mark whether we like it or not. I have to give props to Glines for cutting out the rainbows and unicorns and giving us some of the not so nice parts of high school life. Not every high school kid is mature beyond their years and perfect in every way and it is almost refreshing to read about it.
In the end there were moments that I loved and moments that I hated. It did however keep me thinking and entertained for the few hours that it took me to read it. The more I thought about it the more I liked it and I think it was because of all the character flaws. In the end, we are all flawed. I will definitely read the rest of the series and I look forward to whatever it brings.
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