When friendship turns into love, the path is rarely smooth—especially when there's a third party involved.
Best friends Jake and Elena are facing big changes. Thanks to the remarriage of Jake's mom, he's moving into the mansion of his stepfather, Cameron. He's also realized he's fallen in love with Elena. Using advice offered by his stepbrother, the reckless Nathaniel, Jake confesses how he feels to Elena. But Elena doesn't want to ruin their friendship—and she thinks of Jake like a brother. On the anime Web forum she visits, Elena meets Harlow, a bad boy who sweeps her off her feet. Jake has a bad feeling about this guy, but Elena refuses to listen. Even when Harlow convinces Elena to help him strike against his enemies, she doesn't realize the consequences of her action. And Jake, who knows the truth about Harlow, will get everything he wants but potentially could lose it all. While Jake and Elena are well-rounded characters, Nathaniel is all mustache-twirling evil. Too much time is spent setting the stage, which leads to a rushed plot resolution and an open ending that feels unnecessary. Olin’s prose style is flat, which doesn’t help matters.
It’s far from a must-read, but it's not without some appeal for readers looking for a romance with slightly higher stakes than the usual. (Romantic thriller. 14-18)