I’ve read and enjoyed another Armentrout book (I even used it for a comparison title for Finding Frances). So I was curious about this one. The back cover description didn’t excite me a great deal, but I found it on audio at the library and decided I needed to listen to it.
The beginning of the book is focused on Lena, who seems to run with the popular crowd despite being a total book nerd and having a quiet personality. This is probably because of her friendship with Sebastian, her next-door neighbor and forever crush. Sebastian is a football star and recently broke up with his long-time girlfriend, but Lena knows he isn’t available since he doesn’t like her that way. On top of the Sebastian problem, she’s plays volleyball with her friend Megan, who’s way more talented than Lena is. Despite that, their coach has told Lena he thinks she has a shot at a scholarship if she steps things up and plays well this season. It’s the end of summer before senior year and things are looking good.
Everything changes the weekend before school starts, when Lena and four of her friends make a very bad choice that ends in tragedy. The rest of the book is Lena dealing with survivor’s guilt as well the more palpable guilt of someone who feels genuinely responsible for the incident. She initially is unable to deal with it at all and shuts her friends out, which creates a lot of tension. One of her friends returns the sentiment and Lena has no idea how to fix it. Sebastian challenges her the most and she risks damaging their friendship because she refuses to talk to him. She’s basically frozen in place.
The meat of the book is her struggle to start living life again, and it’s a slog for her. But she does come out of it and it is rewarding to see it happen.
I have to admit that I wasn’t a fan of all the characters. High school football players and their friends are not my favorite type of people, if I’m going to generalize (which apparently I am). Sebastian kind of annoyed me because I didn’t really believe he was as good as we were supposed to accept. But I know a lot of people will have no problem buying into him. And there is a full cast of characters, all a little different from each other while still being believable high school students.
Good for fans of Armentrout and pretty much any teen who could use a little reminder of her lack of invincibility.