Ellia Renée Dawson cannot believe she is a junior in high school. Yesterday she was a freshman, because that's all she can remember.
Ellia and her athletic, brooding boyfriend, Liam McPherson, were the star odd couple at Léon High School until a traumatic fall snatched away any memory of the past two years of her life. In alternating first-person chapters, the black girl struggles to regain her sense of self while the white boy impatiently waits for his girlfriend to reappear. Ellia's childhood best friend, Stacey Levine, and Liam's scandalously young uncle, Wade McPherson, help them confront old ghosts and their strange new reality. Reed delivers solid high school romance with a twist. It is refreshing to see two characters that are both realistic and stray from the starry-eyed, misunderstood-WASP-youth trope. Apart from diverse backgrounds, this interracial relationship is devoid of the usual pitfalls. Ellia and Liam acknowledge each other's differences, including skin tone, and deal with them; their relationship is not a colorblind fantasy. Reed injects immediacy and high-stakes emotions while sidestepping the usual angst-y histrionics teenage characters are subject to. The maturation of each character marches in time with the plot as each unexpected discovery challenges their convictions.
Examining the power of memory and shifting the perceptions of teenage love, this novel delivers a powerful journey of self-discovery and rebirth. (Romance. 12-16)