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THE STORY: A robbery threatens the life of seventeen year old high school senior Edie Millen. Saved by the actions of John Cole, Edie finds her world turned upside down as she tries cope with the traumatic events of the robbery. Edie becomes more wild, wanting to try things for the first time in response to her near death experience. Leaving her private girls school, Edie comes to the local public high school and finds new friends and John Cole. John and Edie become friends and then things become weird between them as John's offer to help Edie lose her virginity results in emotional turmoil between them.
OPINION: This is a book that grabs the reader from the first page as there is no wait for the action to begin. The scene is raw and scary and emotional. Seeing the events through Edie's eyes made the fear more immediate and thus more enthralling. This book may take place among high school students but it is raw and frightening and doesn't pull its punches. It is also violent in parts.
Edie is the heart and center of this book. And I loved her. She is intelligent, snarky, overweight and insecure, and funny. Even thirty years her senior, I could identify with her character and I had great empathy for her. As she struggles with both the normal crises of high school -- boys, classes and bullies -- she also is dealing with the aftermath of the robbery and that changes her whole perspective on life. And makes her a risk taker when she wasn't one before. Sometimes I find depictions of teenage girls annoying but here she is perfectly balanced in that age of becoming an adult but still making silly choices. And that was one thing I really liked. Both John and Edie are changed by their experience and in that shared experience the two are able to talk through their choices.
John ends up being an incredibly sweet guy. He wants to protect Edie, but he is also willing to allow her to fight her own battles. It was also interesting to see how the robbery changed John's life as well since he has similar but also different battles as result. While we do not get John's point of view during this book, Edie and John talk enough that his perspective is adequately represented in this book.
I really enjoyed the development of the relationship between Edie and John. Their relationship evolves over time and I thought the entire progression was well done. I also liked the complications about sex between these two. There are no sugar sweet glasses in this book. While Edie and John are sweet together, there is also something raw and real about them.
I didn't think I would like this book when I first approached it, but it ended up being really good and I only wish I knew more about what happens between Edie and John in the future.
WORTH MENTIONING: TRUST is a young adult novel with characters ages seventeen and eighteen in high school.
CONNECTED BOOKS: TRUST is a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
The rest of the book deals with the aftermath of that intense scene. I like how the personalities of Edie and John were already established in the beginning. Edie's inner strength can be glimpsed even under duress, and John shows his cool and confidence, and even gives a tiny glimpse of his attraction to Edie. They also establish the rapport that continues throughout the book. Hence, when they talk for the first time after their ordeal, they are not starting off as strangers. The flow of their conversation is not stilted or hesitant as it might be upon first meeting someone. The life and death situation they were in forced them to blow right past that. They forged trust and a bond that would normally take a lot longer to form. It made sense in this case, and it was real and natural. I liked that the author also threw in some friction between them, because they are different personalities who can be expected to clash sometimes. I loved the slow burn between them and how they got to know each other first.
This was a fresh, interesting, and edgy spin on the old good girl/bad boy cliches. I absolutely loved it, and it immediately became one of my favorites. Hang and Anders were also fully realized characters, and the author achieved this by showing their personalities through dialogue. We weren't told what kind of people they are, we were shown it.
I hope this author writes more YA books, because she did a phenomenal job with this one.