My God. I know I’ve actually shelved this book as “currently reading” days ago but I honestly haven’t opened it until today. Yes, today. I finished it in one-sitting. I did eat my lunch and dinner while reading, and took three bathroom breaks. Does it still count as a one-sitting-read?
Now, I never, in my whole life, stopped for a minute to define what part of a romance novel I usually like. Partly because I’d be too immersed in the book to think about that. But while reading this book, I realized that theflirty friends phase is definitely my favorite. I didn’t know a novel can be this romantic and swoon-worthy when the couple are still just friends. But I figured that’s the most romantic phase of all, even more romantic than when the couple actually fess up to each other about their feelings. And when I use the word “swoon” here, I use it literally and definitely notfiguratively. I would feel my heart pulling these weird stunts in my chest. Literally. Or I would just feel butterflies in my stomach. I’ve never had these emotions while reading previous books.
Back to the book. I loved the characters. Don’t get me started on Rex. It’s been so long since I’ve have a proper crush on. Scratch that. No need to play hard to get; I’M TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH HIM. I’M HEAD OVER HEALS IN LOVE WITH HIM. OH MY GOD, HE’S LIKE… THE KIND OF FICTIONAL BOYFRIEND I’D FANGIRL FOR MONTHS ABOUT.
Robbie is a character that fascinated me. I’ve never read about this kind of brotherly love until now. Sacrificing his life and education for his sister’s? Becoming her guardian when he was only 18? I was enthralled.
Ellen is one of the few YA protagonists that I truly worship. She’s not perfect. Not all goody-goody. She makes mistakes. But she’s confident when it comes to standing up for herself. She doesn’t wait for her boyfriend/bestfriend to do that for her. Doesn’t drag her friends into her shit for no reason, but instead, does what she thinks is best for her and them. She acknowledges her brother’s sacrifices for her and her education. She has qualities I want to work on getting. And I don’t think you can find these sorts of protagonists in YA books anymore. A genuine character, that I believe has become way too underrated. A perfect protagonist doesn’t make them a relatable one. And I believe that Iris St. Clair knew this, and acted upon it. Yes, she’s a writer I’d want to learn from. A writer whose next released book I’d buy on a whim.
I honestly did not expect this book to be my next life changer. But this one’s a keeper. It’s the kind of book I’d read over and over again every two months or so. And it’s the kind of book that needs to be read by everyone. One that deals with a LOT of serious stuff that might inspire readers to become a better version of themselves. Whether it’s through honesty, or sacrifice, or bully-fighting. Every single person can pick out a lesson out of this novel. I won’t say that this novel deserves to be read my everyone. Instead, I’m going to say that every single person deserves to read this novel.
I thought I’d hit rock bottom when my dad died.
I was wrong.
I never dreamed my mom would choose drugs and alcohol over me.
I was wrong about that too.
I thought teachers were there to instruct, to guide, to counsel.
Wrong doesn’t begin to describe what nearly happened that last day of my Junior year. Lesson learned; trust is for suckers and actions speak louder than words.
New plan. Keep up my grades, earn a scholarship, tuck into as tight a ball as possible and roll on out of this town and this life.
But this boy, this Casanova transplant with a funny accent, who’s way too charming to be healthy for a girl… Why won’t he let me be?
I wish I hadn’t let him in on my secrets…well, most of them.
I wish I hadn’t grown to look forward to our daily walks to work.
But mostly, I wish I hadn’t freaked out when he tried to steal a kiss.
Maybe I wouldn’t be parked in the friend zone. Maybe he wouldn’t be dating a girl I loathe. Maybe I wouldn’t be in this hell of wanting what I can’t have but having what I thought I wanted—to be left alone.