From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Scarlett's life is divided into two eras after her brother's death. Before Ronny Died, Scarlett was a secure, happy sophomore with a popular boyfriend and parents who ran a bed-and-breakfast on the island of Catalina. After Ronny Died, she is estranged from her best friend and boyfriend, struggling with an eating disorder and depression, and largely ignored by her grieving parents. Her only remaining love, horseback riding, leads her to a chance encounter with Will Cohen, who becomes her new passion. The mystery surrounding Will is more than what would typically surround an attractive stranger in a small island community. Will is not only attracted to Scarlett, but he also coincidentally shows up whenever she is in danger. Just as their relationship develops and she begins to emerge from her depression, Will inexplicably breaks up with her. After Scarlett has a riding accident, his unique abilities become clearer and will likely be developed further in the planned sequel. This story has many elements of popular supernatural romances. However, what sets it apart is the source of Will's gifts, rooted in mystical Judaism, which makes it seem more plausible than its supernatural counterparts. The attraction between Will and Scarlett is filled with tension and angst, their exploration of literature, God, and the purpose of life is interesting, and the plot moves along at a compulsively readable pace. Readers will be looking for the next installment.-Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MDα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Scarlett Wenderoth’s life was abruptly turned upside down after her older brother’s unexpected death. Consumed with her anguish and largely ignored by her grieving parents, Scarlett copes by taking her beloved mare around the small island where she lives. While out on a ride, she meets a boy she has never seen before, Will Cohen. Recently moved to the island with his father, a university professor and rabbi, Will is an enigma. Seemingly older than his years, Will has an uncanny knack of appearing at the exact moment that Scarlett needs help, even when she needs to be saved from herself. A tender relationship begins to develop, but it is threatened by a revelation from Will that the very gift that brings them together may tear them apart. The novel tackles a myriad of topics ranging from exploration of faith to self-harm to sexual assault, and at times, the multitude of issues seems greater than one character should have to shoulder. Still, the ineffable bond that draws Scarlett and Will together will appeal to many teens, especially fans of the Twilight series. Grades 8-11. --Eve Gaus