Aidan and Kate meet soon after each has experienced a devastating change in health and are surprised to fall in love.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that high school senior Kate must deal with diabetes and its attendant shots, carb-counting and parental worrying, her boyfriend has just dumped her. Soon after, she meets Aidan, who has his own struggles, having recently returned from Afghanistan, where his arm was blown off. Kate’s startling honesty (“How do you open jars?”) is refreshing to Aidan, who tells her, “It’s like they all try to pretend my arm’s still there and it isn’t.” Chapters alternate between Kate’s and Aidan’s first-person narrations, and each perspective rings true as their romance progresses from awkward-but-direct conversations to kissing and eventually sleeping together. The novel’s thoroughly chick-lit cover (complete with a heart of flowers) will prevent most guys from picking it up, and that’s a shame, as Perry conveys Aidan’s physical and emotional journey evocatively and with authenticity: “A lump stretches at my throat, and I nod. Unable to do more.” The romance is sweet and believable, but the only real momentum driving the plot is readers’ knowledge that Kate’s disability is an invisible one that she hasn’t yet revealed to Aidan, which may not be enough for many.
Likable main characters, lively dialogue and a timely topic of returning soldiers fill out this low-key romance. (Romance. 13-18)