In this contemporary romance, a high school senior falls for the boy who accidentally killed her sister while he was joyriding in a stolen car.
Seventeen-year-old Beth strains beneath the suffocating weight of her parents’ grief and overprotectiveness. When she learns they’ve intercepted her college applications because they intend to force her to live at home and undertake an online degree program, she reaches a breaking point. Readers will easily sympathize with Beth’s struggle even as she spontaneously rebels by going to a party in a neighboring town with a crowd she doesn’t know. There she meets mysterious Chase and has sex with him, creating a bond between herself and the misunderstood bad boy that fuels their predictable magnetism. It may strike some as unbelievable that Beth wouldn’t have heard any gossip beforehand about Chase’s upcoming release from juvenile detention and enrollment at her high school, especially given the depiction of her insular, middle-class community. There are also some instances in which the dialogue between teen characters seems uneven, with passé phrases like “get our party on” clashing with more current slang such as “lit as fuck.” Still, teens with a penchant for clandestine love stories will find plenty to keep them going here. A secondary plot involving Beth’s sister’s old boyfriend adds an edgy layer, appealing to those who favor thrillers. The book assumes a white default.
An engaging, if trope-filled, drama. (Fiction. 14-18)