HOLY COW. This book was one heck of a thrill ride! I was hooked from the start and sad when it was over. I should have seen the ending coming but I was so engrossed that I was just enjoying the storytelling and mystery. DANG this was good.
Short recap: Gabe is on his way home from spending some time with his girlfriend, Sasha, when he is hit by a car. He has no idea who hit him as the driver is never found. After recovering from his injuries, he realizes that he really is tired of Sasha’s shallow and controlling ways so he breaks up with her. Only Sasha isn’t the type of girl you just break up with. She vows to get Gabe back no matter what. In a parallel story, Elyse has just been given the lead in Romeo and Juliet and she couldn’t be more thrilled! It is the only good thing she has going in her life. Outside of theater, she works nights to pay the bills because her mom is addicted to pain pills and cannot care for herself. Elyse has to be the adult. During one rehearsal for the upcoming play, Elyse rehearses a scene with her teacher and they share a very intimate kiss. This stars these two down a dark and disturbing storyline that really cannot end anywhere good.
There is a lot happening in this book but y’all, it is unputdownable. I could not get enough! I wanted nothing more than to wrap myself in a blanket, shut out the world, and read this book. It sunk it’s hooks into me in a way that was the best. I haven’t had a book do that in a while. I was so involved and captivated with every single character. Gabe had a serious psychopath of an ex-girlfriend to deal with while trying to get to know the new girl, Catherine. Catherine was also in the way of Sasha’s wrath. Catherine had her own demons to deal with and I wanted to know her story so bad. Sasha was clearly messed up in the head. Elyse had some heavy issues to deal with being the adult while her mom chose to stay high on pain pills. Every single character had a story I wanted … no… needed to know more about. It doesn’t seem like these stories have anything in common but they come together in the end and it is perfect. It was done masterfully and I was rendered speechless.
The entire story is told from the POV of Gabe and Elyse. They really do lead very different lives but really do come across as teenagers with their own set of troubles and tribulations. The development of the characters was very well done. They felt completely flushed out and wonderfully flawed. The character I connected with the most and was cheering on the hardest was Gabe. I was so furious that nobody believed him when crazy stuff happened! His parents were always doubting him and siding with Sasha, even after they broke up. They never bothered to even try to find out the truth, they just took her word for it. To be able to invoke that type of emotional reaction from the reader (ME!) proves how great of a writer Donaldson really is.
Even though I am gushing about how much I loved this story, there were some parts that were rather hard to read. There were a lot of serious topics covered: drug addiction, inappropriate relationships, and kidnapping to name a few. The way Donaldson handled them was very well done. She did not mention them and then skirt away. Oh no. She introduced them, talked about them, and then showed about how horrible they are to not just that one person but to the people around them. That may not make sense but I’m trying to say she did a wonderful job of incorporating these serious topics into the entire story. She did not glorify them or make light of them, she knew they were serious and portrayed them as serious. They were all very well handled.
I am not going to be able to say enough good things about this book. I am now a Donaldson fan for life. Her ability to write THAT ENDING put her high on my Auto-Buy List. I should have been able to predict what was going to happen but I just didn’t. It blew my mind. The twists and turns and secrets and lies were just so well written that I soaked them up like a sponge. I highly – highly – recommend this to everyone who loves a good page turner of a story. Happy reading!