Seventeen-year-old Emmie likes to take care of things, and she’s good at it, but when her best friend’s father is brutally beaten, and Deacon, Chelsea’s brother and Emmie’s secret crush, shows up at her window that night covered in blood, she faces her greatest challenge yet.
The pressure Emmie feels to make things right has escalated since her older brother dropped out of college, shattering her mother’s dreams. Taking the side of an apparent criminal threatens everything. Set on the shores of Beaufort, South Carolina, the fast-paced narrative is tailored to readers looking for quick, escapist entertainment. Despite careful setup, the real nuggets of the whodunit plotline suffer from a slow reveal, and Emmie’s relationships, especially her friendship with Chelsea, are underdeveloped. Still, the main event, Emmie and Deacon’s smoldering, good girl–bad boy chemistry, is so hot readers are likely to be forgiving. The novel is at its best when these two are on the run, not only because of the high-stakes action, but also because it forces Emmie to overcome her borderline-compulsive need for order and to throw caution to the wind. Readers will cheer as her passion outweighs her need to maintain the stifling good-girl front she’s kept up for too long.
Teen readers will find plenty of fun and plenty to relate to in this coming-of-age romance with an adrenaline rush. (Thriller. 12-16)