Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.
Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.
5 stars - An emotional roller coaster that I loved every minute of
I'm so sorry I waited to read this book! Really I am. Been trying to go back and read some of the ones I've missed along the way instead of accepting new review requests. I recently read Hopeless by this author and that lead to this one. This author is pretty much an auto-buy now. A status that is hard to come by but so well deserved.
What I'm not sorry about is that when I purchased this series, I bought it on audiobook. This story has performance poetry as a part of it's plot. I'm just not sure that I could have read it as well as it was performed by the narrator. Hedi Baker narrated the book. I hadn't ever heard her before but she was good. Her voices were clear. I could tell who was speaking. There is one line that repeated a few times through the book by Will and there was never any doubt who it was. I like that. But the very best part was when she performed the poetry for the slams. A slam is supposed to express how the person feels beyond the words. There are several characters that perform a slam over the course of the book. Every one of them was different and expressed the emotion that the poem conveyed. I was so glad I listened for that part alone.
So I read this over a couple of days but only because I was crazy busy. Once I really started reading it, it was done in a few hours. The emotions of the book are intense. It blindsided me and had me reeling for lots of reasons most of which I can't even talk about because they are too spoilery. But let me just say that this book is brilliant in it's plot. It pulls you in and has you wondering how this can every go wrong. Then it slams you in the gut but doesn't stop there. The pounding continues as the story unfolds. I wasn't content until the very end but still friends on twitter for some virtual hand holding to get to the end. The thing is that I loved every minute of it. Perfect, just perfect.
The characters are incredible. This author is so talented when it come to developing characters that I immediately connect with. Layken is hurting over the sudden death of her father. She's trying to be supportive of the move for her mother. She's pretty lost though and finds strength and healing in the company of the neighbor, Will Cooper. Their relationship is sweet and the chemistry strong. I loved them together. I ached for them as the punches from life kept hitting them. It was so real. So unfair, just like life can be sometimes. But best of all was the way they worked through them and fought back. They were better together even when they were apart.
This is YA and some of the very best I've ever read. If you love YA, then this book, this author, needs to be on your very very short list of books to read. You will not regret it.