Now girls at school are pouring out their sympathy to me. Guys too. But not everyone's on my side. The school has become a war zone and the threats are getting scary. What began as poetic justice has morphed into something bigger--forcing me to make a terrible choice.
OPINION: 4 STARS
This one has a different kind of intensity to it, centered around an out of control feeling that is hard to pinpoint in any given moment but is so prevalent and breaking when looked at overall. Sam is a little broken at the start, in love with her best friend and wanting to try to nudge him into noticing her, yet also doesn't have too many friends beyond him and her home life is far from perfect. When her plan for attention goes very wrong, she is just as lost and confused over how to fix things with Nick as she is trying to figure out a way to tell everyone it was all one big misunderstanding. She's a great character to get behind, having plenty of wit and fun to her, even if it's dampened by the circumstances, and her overall arc has a smooth flow to it.
My biggest complaint about this book centers around the ending, where I felt as though one specific character's reaction to everything was a bit overblown, making it seems as though things ended that way in an effort to intentionally and further punish Sam than anything else. Truthfully, if this character was as great as everyone said, held up on a pedestal by many, the unforgiving and overly stubborn response completely knocks them off in my eyes, yet that wasn't really portrayed in the book by any of the characters. Add in the fact that there was that stubbornness in other areas, sometimes even adding to the constant out of control feeling Sam felt and her inability to tell the truth, and it the specific subplot leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Regardless of that, however, the rest of the ending is poignant and beautifully done, leaving readers to think. There is a strong connection between readers and Sam, and Grace has made her a very relatable and realistic character. Fantastically written, heavy in voice and emotionally intense throughout, this one is addicting and grabbing. Hitting just a bit on a different way to look at date rape, throwing a new kind of question of victim into this particular circumstance, and giving voice to how easily things can be misconstrued and blown out of proportion, Grace has tackled a tough subject with a certain finesse.
Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Paperback: 240 pages
Publication Date: February 8, 2012