I’m not going to re-hash the story-line of this novel because I don’t want to spoil anything for others out there who have yet to read this story, so I just want to take the time instead to explain why this book just didn’t work for me. For starters, I felt like the characters all had your typical high school behavior- Sexual conquests, bets, drinking excessively and immaturity. All things I could relate to... Eight or so years ago. I don’t mind reading young adult books featuring characters in their older teenage years as long as when I’m reading I don’t feel like they’re that age- I tend to like my story and characters to have a bit more depth and maturity than what I felt was portrayed in this book.
I never once felt like I got to know the hero Ryan on a deep and emotional level at all. Every conversation he had with the heroine Brooke never went beyond superficial or sexual. …And I know even grown adults still play video games, don’t get me wrong- But a boy who was a complete loner… Had no friends… Skateboarded down the street… Argued with his little sister… And played video games during his spare time just isn’t my idea of drool-worthy. I’m all about the mysterious factor when it comes to my heroes as well, but with Ryan it was just taken to the extreme- I knew absolutely nothing about him and by the end of the novel my feelings towards that still never changed.
Brooke on the other hand, felt the complete opposite to me- Her character had a tremendous amount of depth and I felt like the author did an amazing job making her, along with all of her feelings completely real and believable. You could literally feel the guilt she had over her best friend’s death emanating off the pages. To be fair though, the story was told entirely in her point of view which could be a big reason why I connected with her on a different level from anyone else. She did however, grate on my nerves quite a bit. She consistently put herself in danger by placing herself in the middle of a very serious and dangerous situation. While I did understand her inner turmoil and reasoning for wanting to do what she thought was right to avenge her best friend’s death and ease her own guilt over it, I felt like some of the choices she made were extremely selfish; Provoking the bad guys by making herself obvious also wasn’t my idea of a smart decision.
I know I’m in the minority when it comes to my feelings for this book, but I just could never bring myself to love it. With every turn of the page it felt like I was stuck in some kind of Nancy Drew time warp where the main character just spent every waking minute playing investigator. It was just too unrealistic and a tad bit boring for my taste. I do however, absolutely commend the author for dealing with such a gut-wrenching and very serious subject matter in a very delicate way.
A little warning before starting this book: If you’re sensitive to anything involving rape then this story probably isn’t for you. The subject matter of this novel is far from light and it included some scenes featuring some extremely disturbing detail.