From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-High school seniors Echo and Noah have regular therapy sessions with the school's clinical social worker. Both struggle to understand past traumatic experiences that have left them scarred, and both need help to move forward. As part of the therapy, Echo is enlisted as Noah's tutor. Their initial resistance to this arrangement eventually blossoms into a romantic relationship, defying the school's social stratifications. Echo is grappling with numerous tragedies, including the death of her brother, her mother's bipolar disorder, the remarriage of her father to her childhood nanny, and an accident that has disfigured her body and left her unable to remember the traumatic event. Noah feels responsible for the house fire that killed both of his parents and forced him and his younger brothers into foster care. His deteriorating academic performance, habitual marijuana use, and reputation for sleeping around have cemented his reputation as the school's bad boy. Plot pacing keeps the story moving along to a satisfying, if predictable, conclusion. Some readers may be concerned about Noah making statements that imply that he owns Echo, such as when he declares that he "claimed" her and "I did just mark my territory." Filled with amorous descriptive passages such as "I gazed into her beautiful green eyes and her fear melted" and "enjoying the teasing taste of her tongue," this poignant narrative, which is told in the two protagonists' alternating voices, will find a following among those who enjoy contemporary teen romances.-Babara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Told in alternating chapters, McGarry’s intriguing debut delves into the psyches of Echo, whose own mother tried to kill her, and Noah, an orphaned “bad boy.” Leather-jacket-wearing Noah is in foster care, facing a painful separation from his two younger brothers, while Echo is trying to recall the events that led to a restraining order against her mother and hideous scars on her arms. When Mrs. Collins, the school counselor and keeper of their sought-after files, suggests that good-student Echo tutor Noah, neither is receptive to the idea. But as they come to lean on and trust one another, sexual tension starts to burn up the pages. Their passionate romance—complete with dramatic arguments—provides the framework for the unlikely duo to deal with some heavy-hitting issues. Girls in particular will be drawn to the breathless, sometimes over-the-top language (“His lips curved into a sexy smile, and I became lost in him”), and, although the novel is overly long, romance readers will likely embrace the love story of two troubled teens who, together, find a path toward healing. Grades 9-12. --Ann Kelley