Published by Simon Pulse on August 25, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336 – hardcover, 328 – paperback, 320 – ebook
Source: Simon and Schuster
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…
*Many thanks to the publisher, Simon & Schuster for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
It’s going to be pretty hard describing what I liked about the book, because the problem is, I basically liked 99.9% of the book. Ever since I read the synopsis on the book’s release date, I knew I had to have it. Let me just say that this book did not disappoint. In fact, I enjoyed this book so much I didn’t even make notes while reading. So now I’m writing this review fresh of off my memory… Anyway. Let’s get started.
Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down. It had such a raw feel to it that it just completely compelled me. There are so many factors that contributed to this, which I’ll be delving into below:
Firstly, the characters. I don’t usually get emotionally attached to characters except for a few special cases, so imagine my surprise when I actually grinned at what the characters said and cried with them, too! This is coming from a person who didn’t cry while reading TFIOS, by the way. West’s interactions with his mother & father really touched me, and most of the time left me with tears running down my face. And when Maggie opens up to West – it was just so heart wrenching! Even though they were side characters, the other characters were really well-developed and easy to relate to. I felt like I knew them well. I love how Abbi was able to make us be in the story; that just shows how skilled she is. I’ll definitely be reading more from her in the future.
Secondly, the storyline was so sweet, moving, and full of emotion that it almost blew me away. The way that everything weaves together could be so cute at times, but tragic at other times. I think that’s what made it such a wonderful story – the blend of cutesy high school romance with an undertone of tragedy. The balance was maintained very well, therefore contributing to the story’s flow really nicely.
Thirdly, the writing. It really lent the story the perfect vibe. I know it wasn’t this dramatical prose full of flowery words, but I still enjoyed it very much. It had a conversational feel to it, yet it was still articulate. Books with this writing style are some of my favorite ones, to be honest. Also, the descriptions were totally flawless. They connected the story really well and conveyed its surroundings in an exceptional manner.
Now that I’ve talked about what I liked most about the book, let’s discuss that 0.1% part that irritated me. It was West Ashby’s possessiveness. He was so possessive of Maggie from Day 1, even when he claimed to want nothing to do with her. I find possessiveness & clinginess to be such an off putting quality in protagonists. I know the circumstances in this book are different and Maggie later confronted West about it, but the problem still remained. Yeah, he was conscious of it now but it was still kind of there toward the end. Also, Maggie broke up with West for like, ONE DAY. Frankly, it was just unhealthy.
So, all in all, this is definitely what I’d call a page turner of a book. If you haven’t read Abbi Glines before, then you should definitely start with this YA book. It has an easy-to-follow writing style, emotional storyline, and dimensional characters! I’d recommend this book to lovers of easily readable YA stories.