An undemanding YA thriller heavy on chaste teenage romance.
Ashley Devoe is a typical high school senior. She and her best friend, Brianne, have after-school jobs, swooning crushes and, in Ashley’s case, separated parents who can sometimes go overboard with the protectiveness. Ashley’s father, an undercover cop, has come off a tough stint busting a meth lab; while Ashley respects his work, she resents the distance it has created within her family. Plus, her dad’s friend Chase is spending too much time with her mom for Ashley’s taste. So when Trent, a new, desperately handsome addition to the senior class, takes an interest in Ashley, she relishes the opportunity to connect. Trent, however, is somewhat more mysterious than the other boys at school: Why won’t he open up more about his past, his family or where he lives? Why does he have Ashley’s father’s cellphone number? Why does he always seem to show up when least expected? And why on Earth does he have a gun in his car? At first, Ashley is too enamored to care; the scent of his cologne alone is romantically overwhelming. Trent’s mysterious qualities—and his reason for the gun—are illuminated after a late, rainy night at work when Ashley catches a ride with a fellow employee who turns out to have deep connection to her father. Author Veil (Psychomanteum, 2014, etc.) knows how to dial up the suspense: For about the first half of the book, the titular chance of rain slowly increases until both the literal and figurative thunderstorms arrive. After this initial climax, the short, final chapters are told from Ashley’s first-person perspective and from other characters’ third-person perspectives, which, though jarring at first, lend texture to Veil’s fairly run-of-the-mill thriller. Veil also captures the occasional inanity of teenage speech, and yet she never condescends to her young protagonists. Young adults will recognize the nuances of high school relationships, and the happy ending will satisfy those who enjoy neat resolutions.
Though not spectacular, this competent, swift novel would be welcome spring-break fare.