After surviving a horrific foster home together, a girl is reunited with the boy who always sought to protect her.
Mallory—dubbed Mouse due to her selective mutism—grew up in a foster home with two abusive addicts. The white girl relied on biracial Latino/white Rider, another ward in the home, to keep her safe and serve as her protector. When the violence in the foster home came to a head, 13-year-old Mouse and Rider were removed from it and ultimately separated. When the novel opens, four years have passed, and Mouse has been adopted by Carlos and Rosa Rivas, wealthy physicians, who have dedicated themselves to helping her heal from past trauma and have home-schooled her. Rider, however, is still in foster care and lives a more dangerous life on the wrong side of the tracks. When Mouse enrolls in high school for her senior year, she is reunited with Rider, and though they've gone in opposite directions, their mutual past—and their blazing chemistry—pulls them together. Although the intensity between Mouse and Rider is palpably sizzling, the all-too-conventional trope of the quiet girl and the bad boy is played out in classic formula fashion, sinking in its own clichés. However, die-hard romance aficionados may be able to overlook the boilerplate plotting and simply lose themselves in Mouse and Rider’s smoldering glances and steamy kisses.
A mainstream romance that covers well-trod territory. (Romance. 13 & up)