Two college freshmen struggle to break away from family dysfunction and forge their own identities in this new-adult romance.
Charlotte “Charlie” Logan and Trevor Adler met at age 4 and were the best of friends for 10 years, until his parents moved and they lost touch, each believing the other had forsaken the friendship. Four years after their separation, they see each other at a sorority-pledge date auction; Trevor is stunned that Charlie has cashed in her “nineties band fetish and combat boots” just so she could raid her sister’s closet and become her “parents’ dream child.” He doesn’t know Charlie’s tragic reason for changing her wardrobe and muffling her former self—her older sister, Katie, committed suicide shortly after Trevor left, and Charlie blames herself. Trevor’s family has its own troubles: both his parents are alcoholics, and his father is also a compulsive gambler. Forced into the role of responsible adult before his time, Trevor has spent years running interference with landlords and bookies; he’s exploited his musical talent to raise money for his folks, draining the joy from what he should love most. Charlie and Trevor’s reunion will make them both face how inauthentic their lives have become, and as their rekindled friendship deepens into love, they try to help each other find a new, more fulfilling path. Smith’s (Bound by Prophecy, 2015, etc.) novel is full of rich, small details that bring her characters to life—for instance, Charlie’s nervous habit of tapping out Bach with her fingers. By switching between Charlie’s and Trevor’s first-person points of view, the author makes them equally compelling. Their romance is easy to root for because it’s based not on infatuation but on understanding “each other in a way no one else ever will.” With this knowledge comes the realization that they can’t save each other—they can only offer each other support. Both Charlie and Trevor must try to muster the strength to rescue themselves.
A deft, emotionally resonant tale about family, love, music, and finding oneself.