Narrator: Charlotte North
Published by HarlequinTeen
Published on 26 June 2018
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, United States, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author duo of The Royals and When It’s Real comes a sensational new novel about a girl falling for the one boy she should never have met…
Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.
Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…
Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.
Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.
I really enjoyed this novel. I felt like some of it was over the top, but I didn’t go into a romance about a rebellious girl and the boy who killed her sister expecting realism.
For example, Beth’s parents are caricatures of overprotective parents. They desperately want to control everything Beth does including her future, forbidding her to go to her college of choice and instead announcing that she will be working in her father’s hardware store after going to a fake college. Why they are so determined to send her to a college at all if they have her future mapped out is beyond my ability to understand, as is their reasoning behind their stranglehold on their headstrong daughter, when Beth’s sister was killed in a tragic and unpreventable accident, rather than putting herself at risk and making bad choices. They quit Beth’s job for her and forbid her from volunteering, and for no reason at all take the door off her bedroom and then install security sensors that notify them whenever a door or window is opened. Beth didn’t have a history of sneaking out, so that didn’t make sense either. Her parents were just so over the top that it was so easy to hate them.
Beth’s friends are also over the top losers who don’t care one whit about her and her feelings regarding the boy that killed her sister. They all antagonise the boy and continue to torture him even when beth is around, as if they’ve never considered that she doesn’t want to be reminded. They come up with a nickname – ‘Manson’, like the serial killer, even though he only killed one person, and that was an accident, not pre-mediated. They are terrible people and I hated pretty much every one of them.
Literally the only good thing about Beth’s life in this novel was Chase. I really liked him. He was quite standoffish and even mean at first – once he realised who Beth was, I mean – but I didn’t think them constantly running into each other felt forced, although I didn’t quite understand why Beth was so keen to talk to him all the time, except for, you know, plot reasons. Especially since she was so desperate to talk to him then had nothing to say! Like, lady, it’s obviously your pants talking here. If it were me, the romance would never have developed because I would have just shut down every interaction with this person and stayed far away from them. In hindsight, this might be why I recently realised I have no friends. I really liked how organically their relationship seemed to grow and move into actual romance. I think it was a pretty good topic for a forbidden romance, though I didn’t see how it could be sustainable long-term, and I was really invested into seeing how they could work it out, or whether it was going to end tragically or with a bittersweet note.
I listened to this on audio and the narrator was pretty good. Not only did she have to narrate some pretty intense scenes with the appropriate amount of emotion, but she also did different voices for different characters, which I always appreciate.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It had some trigger moments, but I thought it was smartly plotted and crafted, and even though Beth made bad decisions on account of being a teenager, she didn’t necessarily make stupid ones.