Fifteen-year-old Reena dreams of graduating early from high school and studying at Northwestern to become a travel writer, but all that takes a back seat when her forever crush, Sawyer LeGrande, turns his green-eyed gaze on her.
Reena, a self-professed ice queen, has managed to keep her feelings about Sawyer to herself, but when he begins dating her best friend, Allie, everything comes rushing to the surface. A tragic event nearly derails Reena and Sawyer’s romance before it can begin, but an irresistible chemistry pulls them together despite their sorrow. Reena falls fast and hard for Sawyer, but he is caught in a downward spiral of addiction that threatens to pull both of them under. Believing a separation is best for them both, Sawyer disappears for two years, leaving Reena alone and pregnant. “Before” chapters chronicle Reena and Sawyer’s tumultuous romance, while “After” chapters tell of Sawyer’s return and Reena’s simultaneous attempts to punish him or forgive him. The clunky back-and-forth construction robs the story of its heart, throwing Reena’s emotional stagnation and Sawyer’s complete turnaround into question. The undeniably passionate relationship feels as flat and immature in the end as when it began.
Ambitious, but sadly disconnected and undeveloped. (Fiction. 14 & up)