I loved this book. What starts out as a deceivingly simple read adds layers until you're left with meditations on life decisions and depth of character. Give me a story with good characters and good character development, and I'll love you for it. The protagonist Rachel is lovely, warm, and flawed, and I found myself rooting for her. She's just so easy to relate to. At one point, Ms. Ford describes how an "average girl" feels, and I found myself nodding my head as I read. I think most of us secretly (or not so secretly) think of ourselves as that "average girl." Furthermore, even the characters who would be considered the antagonists in this book are simply people. They may be people who are at odds with our heroine, but they are people all the same who move through life with their own set of flaws and merits, goals and motivations. They are not overly vilified; they are painted as who they are, and we are left to feel empathy for Rachel but not hatred for those causing her pain. That is gifted story telling.
Finally, the plot twists in the book are not formulaic. It's not, "Girl meets boy. Girl and boy fall madly in lust. Something happens to drive Girl and boy apart. Something happens to drive them back together again. The live happily ever after." It's more real than that. Yet at the same time, it's still a comfortable read. Speaking as someone who can't handle anything more sad or distressing than a Disney movie many times, that's high praise. I found myself thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it and eager to return to it. In fact, I read well into the night when I should have been sleeping I was so eager to finish.
This book starts out as a deceptively simple read and leaves you with more to chew on than you'd think. Glad there's going to be another.