**I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I started this as I had not read anything by Crossan before but the premise sounded amazing. I was not prepared to be hit directly in the feels. When I finished this, I was ugly crying and I regret nothing.
Short recap: Nicu, an immigrant from Romania who is being forced into an arranged marriage, and Jess, a teen with a very troubled home life, cross paths in an unusual way. As they become closer their dark secrets are revealed. Just how far are they willing to go to help each other out of their bad situations?
This story hit me right in the feels. Hard. The writing style too me a minute to get used to but once I did, this story flowed. It was beautiful, emotional, heart shattering, and raw. I loved every minute of this story. It is told in alternating POV so when it was Nicu’s chapter, the broken English made me feel as if he were sitting next to me telling me his story. It felt real. It felt believable. It was captivating. It made me connect to him even more. Same with Jess’ chapters. The horrors that girl went through on a daily basis hurt my soul. I wanted to save her myself. These two together just worked. Nicu was trying to escape his parents and the arranged marriage they are setting up. He does not want to marry a stranger, he wants to live his own life. Jess wants to escape her abusive stepfather and enabling mother. Together these two try to save each other from what could be a terrible future. The ending is one I did not see coming. Just when I thought I had it figured out, Crossan threw a wonderful curve ball that knocked me for a loop. Well done!
This is a very quick read but it is a powerful story. Crossan did a fantastic job of breathing life into her characters, as did Conaghan. This is not just a story of two teens trying to run away from a bad life, it touches on heavy, serious social issues like domestic violence, racial profiling, and racism. Some of the comments made toward Nicu were hard to read. That may be because things like that are said every day whether we realize it or not.
I hope everyone gives this story a chance. It is an important and current story. I think this is one that needs to be told. It is about transcending barriers and testing friendships. As I mentioned, this was an emotional read and it has stayed with me long after I put the book down. Please, add this to your TBR. Read it and come back to talk to me about it. Let me know your thoughts.