Emmie O’Brien will do anything to help her meth-addicted mother get a fix, including robbing a convenience store with her boyfriend, Nick, who also happens to be her mother’s dealer.
When they’re arrested (note to Nick: never put a brand-new driver behind the wheel of the getaway car), Emmie strikes a plea bargain that includes testifying against him. The threat of payback hovers over Emmie as she returns to high school and tries to get her life back on track. Enter hotshot varsity hockey player Max Shepherd, who also lives in the shadow of a past trauma. Emmie hate-likes Max from the start, ogling his muscles while simultaneously thinking he’s a conceited jerk. Meanwhile, Emmie’s calmness intrigues Max; just being near her tames his violent, reactive nature. Though she repeatedly asks him to stop touching her, Max continually invades her personal space, refusing to respect her boundaries and refusals. Despite this, Emmie gradually warms up to Max as they become close friends and eventually fall in love. The third-person narration alternates between Emmie and Max. The prose is lackluster, the characters bland. Everyone appears to be white with the exception of a minor character who is black.
The cold hard truth: skip this one. (Fiction. 15-18)