From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Annaleah had been spending all of her time either with Brian or thinking about him. In the space of a few whirlwind weeks, she'd fallen in love and alienated her closest friends. When he suddenly drops dead shooting hoops. Annaleah retreats into herself and lingers at his graveside. When Brian was alive, his attention was hot and cold: one minute he was sweet, spontaneous, and caring, the next he'd disappear without explanation. Was he with another girl? Much of this novel-in-verse dwells on Annaleah's grief and her awkward position as a pseudo girlfriend who had never met Brian's family or friends. In the midst of her sorrow, her longing for her own long-gone father and anger toward her present-but-absent mother pop into her thoughts. Though her voice rings true, her endless grief becomes tedious, even as the narrative pace moves quickly. However, this "enough already!" reaction echoes the feelings of her patiently skeptical friends. Eventually, her heartache reaches a neat resolution in the shape of a new boy. While there is an "aha" moment in relation to her father, the mother thread hangs loosely at book's end. Though certainly not unique among novels-in-verse for teenagers (think Lisa Schroeder's books), Schutz's work will undoubtedly be welcomed by fans of the genre.-Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Children’s book editor Schutz’s first novel is actually her second book, the first being the memoir I Don’t Want to Be Crazy (2006). Both books are told in free verse, a technique that nicely serves the highly emotional content of this story. Its teenage protagonist, Annaleah, is mourning the tragic death of Brian, her occasional lover and boyfriend. Reflecting almost obsessively on their ill-defined relationship, Annaleah realizes she never really knew the secretive Brian, a gifted artist and athlete. Suffering from what appears to be clinical depression, Annaleah withdraws from the world and refuses offers of help from her few good friends. Her endless self-examination and occasional self-pity create a claustrophobic atmosphere that some readers will find stifling, though others will enjoy its theme of tragic lost love. That said, the author’s verse is always skillfully written and successfully captures and enhances the melancholy mood of her material. Grades 9-12. --Michael Cart