Fueled by anger and grief, she vows to do everything opposite of how she lived before. Then she meets Jordan. He has big dreams, he's had a crush on Ashley for years, and he's a great kisser. But he's also safe.
Enter Colt. He is not safe, and he's more than willing to help Ashley fulfill her vow.
ebook, 276 pages
Published February 21st 2013 by All Night Reads
eGalley received from publisher via NetGalley for honest review
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Courtney and I have read quite a few books focusing on a variation of tragedy, loss, and sadness in the last few weeks so I was a little nervous about reading this; I wasn't sure if I could take another sad read. I'm happy to report that while this story does have some sad moments, I ended up feeling more at peace with the entirety of the novel rather than suicidal.
Hahaha, yes....we've had a few talks bringing us back from the ledge lately. I was worried too, since it was for sure the first young adult title we have read in a while and I didn't want to not connect with this girl and her relationships. I'm glad we took the plunge though! I had read The Truth About Faking so I was familiar with Leigh's amazing ability to make a story about a love triangle become so much more in the sense of a young girl finding herself more than finding love.
Ashley is grappling with the death of her father and rather than plunge herself into the pain and emotion of it all, she tries to bury it in the kisses of Jordan and Colt. Both of these guys make her feel something--something that rids the lung squeezing pain of grief--and so she spends much of her time trying to figure out which of these two can best give her what she needs. Here's the problem: she doesn't know what she needs. All she knows is that she's in a lot of pain and her mom and brother don't seem to feel it the way she wants them to, she's sick of the sympathy of strangers and the looks of pity, and these two guys are able to make her forget one kiss at a time. Obviously this could present some problems.
She feels a lot for both boys, but definitely uses them each for completely different things. She gets sparks and conversation and peace with Jordan...but gets upset with him when their current life choices do not match up. I thought this was an amazing plot line, because they reached a "where do we go from here" point and realized one would have to make significant sacrifices for the other. At almost 18, that is a heady thing to have to realize. Colt on the other hand...he was a firecracker. I love a great bad boy, but he weirded me out a bit there in the middle...almost too much...so watch out for him. He redeems himself by the end, so don't quit on his account!
Just as she is conflicted about her interactions with Jordan and Colt, she's also trying to figure out who she is and how her friend Mandy and her new, sort of friend, Charlotte fit in to the picture. Mandy has been her best friend for years and they've cultivated a reputation for being shallow, rich, bitches. Mandy is a great friend to Ashley but horrible to anyone she doesn't like . Charlotte is a new friend who consoles Ashley in quick little meet ups at a nearby creek. She's also cynical about their improbable friendship and is as equally bitchy as Mandy is when Ashley tries to be friendly to her in public. Poor Ashley, she's flailing about and it feels like she doesn't have anyone or anything to help her through it.
These scenes I liked because those were the parts where these girls are really finding themselves. We see this through Ashley's eyes but I liked that she realizes the way she used to be and what is important to her now that she has experienced something tragic. Mandy and Charlotte both were really irritating but in the end were necessary to Ashley's growth and realizing the parts of the old Ashley that the new Ashley wanted to keep.
Ashley fights her grief by making poor choices and internalizing much of her pain. After one particularly bad episode, Ashley finally quits fighting everything and starts dealing with results of her actions (or inactions). I think this is why I didn't feel as sad as I might have. Ashley begins working through her grief and is willing to be honest about where she is in her life. Even though the ending doesn't tell us exactly where she ends up or how she gets there, there is a definite feeling of hope and resolution.
She grew a conscience! No, really I totally get why she acted out and in some ways she went too far, but I was glad of the ways that she didn't... (ahem, Colt). She was really close to her Dad and being young and confused and unprepared to deal with things was very hard on her. I loved the resolution to this story, and the casual mentions of the characters from the first book (and I mean casual! No series worry here). I want to find time to read Leigh's other titles now!!!
Shelley: 3 1/2 Stars
Courtney: 4 Stars