Two Connecticut teens find themselves in a hostage situation when three armed men come in one night to rob the cafe where Scott works and where Winny has stopped by to see him.
Soon it becomes more than just a robbery when one of the men shoots and kills someone. The novel follows what happens, jumping back in time to tell readers about the rest of the day as lived through the eyes of Scott and Winny, high school students who have a history with each other (and a potential future romance despite the fact that Scott was recently dating a friend of Winny’s)—not to mention their own life dramas to deal with outside of the harrowing events of the evening. Told from both Scott’s and Winny’s perspectives, in chapters with alternating timelines that reference the number of minutes or hours before or after the cafe’s closing, the novel fails to hit the mark, particularly in the case of a domestic violence subplot that is clumsily handled and problematically resolved. The unfolding of events in the book, from the teens’ relationship to the botched robbery and what follows, feels contrived, with inorganic dialogue. The writing also fails to forge a connection to the characters and their relationships. Scott is assumed white, and Winnie is Haitian-American, the daughter of ambitious professional immigrant parents.
Leaves much to be desired. (Fiction. 14-18)