In western New York state, high school senior Betts meets a handsome boy at the Sugar Shack where she works and immediately falls for him.
On first meeting Aiden, Betts is already thinking, “…but this guy—I felt like whatever he wanted me to be, I’d be it.” It’s a reaction based solely on physical attraction: Aiden is “perfect and so pretty and ahhhhhhh.” Leather jacket–clad Aiden rides a motorcycle which Betts is all too willing to hop on, all doubts swept away by the force of her crush. Betts’ first-person narration captures her yearning for a romantic relationship, but fortunately her half Thai, half white and Jewish best friend, Jo, and Jo’s twin brother, Eric, ground her when she is swooning off the deep end. They also ultimately save her when Aiden turns out to be clingy, controlling, and both physically and emotionally abusive. Betts’ romantic vision of being swept off her feet by a motorcycle-riding Prince Charming becomes a nightmare more than a fairy tale, and it takes family, good friends, and an almost deadly accident to awaken her from his spell. Though clearly intended to teach about domestic violence, Rissi’s tale is elegantly written with a keen insight into teen relationships. Aiden and Betts are white, and there is ethnic diversity in the school community.
An absorbing tale of a fatal attraction and its consequences. (domestic violence resources) (Fiction. 13-18)