Teenage relationships are intense to begin with—but what happens when your boyfriend becomes too intense?
Emma Lorde's future is all set: in a few months, she'll start at Arizona State University, studying archaeology and living in the same dorm as her boyfriend, Dillon. Finding Dillon saved Emma when her parents' marriage broke up due to her mother's infidelity. Then she’s given an opportunity to apply for a yearlong internship in Rome. Instead of being happy and excited for her, Dillon freaks out: it must mean she's leaving him. Emma doesn't understand Dillon's reaction—or the way his behavior slowly, menacingly escalates. While where Dillon eventually goes is fairly predictable, the steps he takes to get there, as described in Emma’s first-person narration, are increasingly terrifying, ratcheting up the tension. Emma keeps thinking, “how could it be bad—it's love and love is good.” When Dillon snaps, however, Emma will be forced to choose: herself or Dillon. In this delicate, tense exploration of teenage relationship abuse, both the slow progression of Dillon's illness and Emma's refusal to see the signs until it is nearly too late ring true. The violence is handled sensitively, and readers are left hopeful for Emma's recovery.
A perceptive portrait of relationship abuse. (Fiction. 14-18)