Dual narrated by Gabe and Elyse, we get to see into two very different teens lives, wondering how the two stories will converge. And now that the book is over, I can honestly say that I did not see the surprise coming, and I feel a little like an idiot. The author did a fantastic job of keeping the reader in the moment, fully engaged in the trauma of now, the big picture did not even come up. Both teens are going through some very messed up, awful situations that seem so out of their control, but everything in the book was so very realistic and pulled me in emotionally.
I liked how the author created a scenario for Gabe that we usually hear about with girls, but I liked the differing view, showing that anyone can be a victim in a bad relationship. Gender means nothing, abuse transcends all, and abuse can come from any direction and be overwhelming.
Gawd, and poor Elyse! Her story was so realistic and so heartbreaking, it was easy to see how she could fall into the relationship. Her family life is a hot mess making her the adult before her time, she is stressed out by school, life and the play that she never expected to be staring in- any positive attention would make her feel special, wanted, needed... I wanted to stage an intervention in the worst of ways, but instead I just had to keep reading the pages and watch everything play out.
This was the first book by Jennifer and I am highly impressed with what she was able to create. This was a really interesting, twisty, emotional, completely messed up ya story that I lost myself in. I look forward to what she wants to write about next.
Side note, everyone had chapped lips in this book. The author mentioned chapped lips repeatedly for all the characters and it was a little intense for my liking. As someone addicted to chapstick, have these kids ever heard of using something to get rid of chapped lips? Just saying.