Two teens must survive edgy, toxic romances in this dark YA thriller.
In Austin, Texas, keen skateboarder Gabe Jiménez's desire to break up with his popular—and incredibly controlling and jealous—girlfriend, Sasha, intensifies after a hit-and-run accident leaves him semiconscious in the arms of a mysterious girl. Across the country in Portland, Oregon, Elyse McCormick can't believe the handsome new drama teacher Mr. Hunter has cast her—and not her more experienced best friend Brynn—as Juliet in the school's upcoming Shakespeare production. Gabe’s and Elyse’s storylines seem unconnected until it's clear they're both in obsessive, and in Elyse's case, illegal, relationships. Gabe befriends quiet, shy Catherine, the girl who comforted him after he was hit by a car, but she's understandably frightened to date him when he's got a queen-bee ex prone to creepy, stalker-ish behavior. Elyse, whose home life is troubled, predictably goes from idolizing Mr. Hunter to falling desperately for him. The characters are fairly diverse: Gabe is Mexican-American with a little sister who has Down syndrome, Brynn is Filipina-American, while Elyse, Sasha, and Catherine are white. Eagle-eyed readers may figure out one of the big twists, but this well-paced thriller is difficult to put down.
This conversation-starting page-turner is a Fatal Attraction meets Big Little Lies cautionary tale for teens about dangerous relationships. (resources) (Fiction. 14-18)