[I received a free advance review copy in exchange for an honest review]
This was my very first Kylie Scott book and it went incredibly well. I was a little hesitant starting this book; YA contemporaries have started to blend into each other in my mind, forming this one plot that basically repeats itself. This book, however, literally blew my mind. It dealt with some serious issues pretty bluntly, something you don’t usually come across in YA books. Bullying, sexual harassment, body shaming, PTSD, panic attacks, etc… I don’t even know how all those fit, but somehow they did, along with some staggering character transformations. So, needless to say, I loved this book to pieces.
Starting with Edie, the protagonist, who is literally the strongest YA character I’ve come across. I rooted for her with all my heart. She isn’t fearless; the incident made sure to prove that. But that’s the point. It was so easy to picture myself in her shoes. Finding yourself taken hostage by some meth-head on an ordinary summer night while picking up some snacks from the convenience store sounds insane. Well, try getting a gun held to your head. Shoved into your mouth. Seeing two innocent people getting killed in front of you. I cannot begin to imagine how hard it is to be strong enough to manage living after that. What I loved was how the author didn’t make it sound like it was easy in any way. We witnessed Edies suffering, physically and mentally. Her remarkable character transformation. The way everything about the incident changed her view and her opinion about life in general. It was pretty intense, I won’t lie. And I don’t think I was expecting something as heavy. But I don’t mind reading it one more. Or twice, for that matter.
The way she had to cope with her ex-best friend, her new school, meeting Hang (whom I loved endlessly), Anders, Sophia & Carrie who are just downright awesome. I loved the crew. Ander’s was hilarious. I loved the diversity; nationality-wise and sexual-orientation-wise.
The romance was amazing. My feelings regarding John can only be described through this GIF:
Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.
After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.
While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.
An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.
Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.