I requested this book from Net Galley to read and review. I love YA books! There’s something so refreshing about teenagers’ drama and angst. Edie was at a convenience store buying snacks for a movie marathon with her best friend. When she’s leaving the store, a meth-head gone crazy blows into the store, pushing her and causing her to fall. Then he proceeds to rob the cashier and kill him. She’s paralyzed by the violence and thinks she’s facing her last moments. John Cole was in the store with another young guy. They bring beers and start a chat with the meth head, to try to defuse the situation. Turns out John’s brother is also a drug addict and knows the robber, named Chris. They chat, and the place gets surround by police. Eventually Chris gets hysterical, wants out, and is about to start a killing spree, when John and Isaac rush Chris and a melee ensues. John is shot in the arm, Isaac ends killed and Edie with contusions and cuts.
After the event, when Edie is released from the hospital, her stance on life changes, her priorities shifted. Now school is not as important as before, and being accepted is not necessary. She faces and punches her school cheerleader bully and demands from her mother to get transferred from her private school to the public school. Once in the pubic school, she starts to relax. She still suffers from nightmares, anxiety attacks, has trouble trusting people, and doesn’t care if people criticize her for being overweight.
In English class, she gets a huge surprise, John Cole takes this class with her, but other than widening his eyes, he ignores her. This intensifies her feelings of anxiety until he visits her, at night, at her bedroom window. And here is when the book got intense and interesting and riveting. These two teenagers turned into each other’s support person, school coach, life coach, shrink. John’s reaction from the incident was to turn over a new leaf; he had been dealing pot among students and drifting through school, now he was paying attention and staying away from the stuff. Still, his rep stayed dubious and he was having problems changing people’s mindset. Edie stayed true to her friend and her new girlfriends from school. I loved Hang, Edie’s new bestie, and Anders, John’s bestie. They were cute and funny and the dialogues between all four were hilarious, witty and sensitive.
Edie sense of mistrust came from her best friend from childhood, Georgia. After the incident, she took the opportunity to get publicity for her rising career as actress, accepting payment for interviews and discussing Edie’s private business, slandering John, whom Edie defended as her hero and saving her life. Edie broke the friendship with Georgia, yet the sting remains. Also, Edie was very overweight and she didn’t think that John, who was very yummy hot, could ever be interested in her other than as friends. This leads to the typical teenager misinformation, miscommunication, time outs, and make ups that are to necessary to teenage angst. I had a great time watching these kids solder on so valiantly through a traumatic post event and come through better persons. Edie’s mother probably aged years and got a lot of grey hairs, but she got a very mature and balance daughter out of all the process. Edie learned to see herself as the hot girl who John loved and John found acceptance and trust in Edie and her family and friends. As stated before, the pace of the book was superb and the dialogues brilliant. Great read!