For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.
Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.
It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.
Jennifer L Armentrout writes the best characters with the best stories. But this book raises the bar even for her.
Emotional. This one is emotional and there's no way to not be effected by the lives of two people who grew-up in foster care under the worst of conditions. Two people who experience the same dread and misery but react very differently. One protects and one hides but they do it together and a bond is formed. Though they are separated, that bond stays.
Here's the thing about this book - the emotions that these two experience, the pain they have in their lives - it's relatable. Everyone has experienced something that causes them to feel lost, unsure and just trying to survive. And that's what makes this book so dynamic. I saw myself in these characters. Different characters at different times, but I was right there with them because I know how this feels. I didn't grow-up the way they did but I remember feeling some of what they did. My heart was so involved every step of the way. So I was cheerleading big time, very devoted to their happiness. And when the pain comes anew...I had to take a break. So much pain. It was real to me. But I had to know what would happen so I jumped back in and I'm so glad I did.
The wonderful bookish experience that is reading a JLA book is all there and accounted for but this one has more. It has a depth of humanism that transcends the pages of this book and connects with readers lives.
Of course, I love Rider. He has protecting down. But he's also convinced himself that he deserves what he got in life. He's existing, taking things day by day and that's all he should get. When Mouse re-enters his life, he wants more but that's just not how things work for guys like him.
Mouse...Mallory seems like the weak one but she's not. She handled things differently but she has a depth of strength and love that runs deep. I adore her. I love how she fights for Rider, how she challenges his ideas of who he is and what he's capable of. He does the same for her with different challenges and together they are whole.
The ending is sweet. I'd love to read a chapter from their lives that takes place four years from the ending. I have a sweet hope for what that would be like and I'd love to know if I'm right.
This book is throughly YA. It's not on the verge of NA. It's emotional and deals with hard struggles but so is are many teens lives these days.
Don't miss this one.
About the Author...
# 1 New York Times and International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.
She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.