A few anxious minutes feel like an eternity as 17-year-old Bless tries to reach her boyfriend after the sound of sirens makes her fear the worst.
As she runs, the white teen flashes back to the six months leading up to this day. After years in her grandparents’ abusive home in small-town Nebraska, Bless’ father, a down-at-the-heels mechanic named Shaky, shows up and takes Bless to live with his new family in Wisconsin. She takes nothing but a booklet of collectible pennies that her dying mother gave her. At her new school, she makes friends with Maylee and falls in love with Liam, a new student in town. A trip to a psychic convinces the girls that Liam’s life is in danger. Alternating time frames mask an unevenness in the depiction of two distinct parts of Bless’ life. Richly realized storytelling, setting, and detailed characters paint a vivid picture of Bless’ experiences in Nebraska. In contrast, her new life in Wisconsin not only seems disconnected from her early years, but revolves around several stereotyped characters and a thin, far-fetched storyline concerning the pennies and the psychic. Flash-forward to Bless frantically running, so distracted by her memories that she repeatedly steps into traffic, and the result is a sustained melodrama with no letdown from an intense plotline.
Inconsistent but with enough romance to satisfy many readers. (Fiction. 14-17)