A vulnerable, abused and lonely intellectual girl with artistic talents and good-looking, wealthy, musically talented boy come together in this opposites attract coming of age story. This is only the first segment and thank Dove Dark Chocolate for that because it left me emotionally drained and hurting amongst the candy wrappers just hoping that things get better from here. Yep, this is one that digs deep into the heart and cuts painfully. Not something to grab up when in the mood for light and fluffy bunnies and rainbows. I am devastated and angry right now and I just want to go into a spoilerish rant. But. I. Can’t. So bear with me as I try to communicate my love-hate relationship with this book.
The story opens at the beginning of senior year at Philadelphia High School which is possessed of the usual teen social hierarchy. Firmly entrenched in the geek category though left mostly alone is Bianca Grey. She’s known to be odd, quiet, smart, driven and artistic, but nobody knows about the hellish home life she hides from the world not even her only friend Lilly who is bullied and yet has aspirations to be accepted and dated by one of the popular guys. The year starts out normally with Bianca living like a ghost in her own home and promising her hating, abusive adopted mom that she’ll move out as soon as she graduates. Fine with Bianca, she has been planning her escape for years and has save most of what she has earned at her job to move on. She keeps herself apart from everything so that she is nearly invisible everywhere she goes until someone finally notices her and the beautiful guy lights up her world and amazes her. He really sees her, wants to know all about her and most terrifyingly of all, he really cares. He loves her, but she doesn’t think she can ever feel that emotion and probably wouldn’t recognize it if she did.
Pete can have any girl in school and pretty much any college girl at the bar and he has, but it is love at first sight when he sees Bianca on the train. He has his work cut out for him since he didn’t recognize a girl he has gone to school with all along. Just the thought of her turns him to his music and he produces songs and melodies that are the best he has ever done. They are finally together, but he soon realizes that she holds her feelings and anything personal to herself with no intentions of letting him in. She is an enigma, but he believes that patience and love can win her over. He learns a little of her life and secretly protects her, but she rebuffs any attempts to take care of her. Out of the blue, she pushes him away and begs for space. Senior year is almost over and he can only hope that he can get things back to what they are before.
Alright, first of all, I give the author kudos for engaging me in her story and engaging my emotions. High School drama can be iffy for me because it can get too clichéd and stay in the shallow end of the story pool. This one has the clichés, but there are some extras that dressed it up and made it refreshing. There were a few occasions when the dialogue or thinking was not that of a teenage guy like Pete, but it was just a few times so I shrugged it off. There are also some things that test my credulity too, but again, no more so than the average YA book will do.
What didn’t fly was that these kids are sleeping around and there is nary a mention of condoms or the pill. Good night! I wanted to old lady finger waggle and harp at them. Suit up, bros! Make them suit up, girls! And yeesh, there were virgins giving it up right and left, the heavy drinking and the parties and lack of parents in the picture! I know that’s how it is sometimes, but man these aren’t college kids so this was tough for me to read. Guess I’m too old! I would definitely advise not putting this in the hands of any, but the oldest of teens.
Um’kay, so moving on. Sorry about that! Well, I really want to talk about the characters. Here’s the thing, Bianca has a super tough row to hoe. She’s lived her whole life unwanted, despised, abused and hated at home and she has had to raise herself, take care of herself and all she has is her dignity. She hides so much and doesn’t want anyone to know or see. She let’s Pete in just so far, but no more. He is young and naive enough not to realize the train wreck waiting to happen as he gives and opens up full throttle. Bianca is Pete’s everything. She is his dream, his melody, his happiness and it isn’t until near the end of this first segment that he even gets a hint that disaster is headed for him. Because of the author’s work in painting Bianca’s character and letting the reader inside her head, I understood. Bianca herself is innocent and confused and doesn’t realize what her actions and behavior is leading to and will do to them both. But man, I just wanted so badly pull Pete away from her and do a mind wipe. She’s toxin for him right now and I don’t say that out of hate or anger because I really pity her for being the way she is. What I hated was seeing what her issues were going to do and then finally do to Pete. The end of the book is left with both characters in a bad place. It very much is leading to more so this was like reading a first volume in a longer story.
So yeah, those are my jumbled thoughts about this story. It was a really tough read and left me edgy and angry. But I want more… yes, I really want to stick around and see what happens with poor broken, blind Bianca and heartbroken and disillusioned Pete. Like I said, this is for older YA and up and its definitely for readers who are in the mood for a deep, affecting tough read.
My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Books N Tunes
Gwen Stefani’s 4 in the Morning
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