This book completely blew me away. Once I started it, I’m became instantly addicted and finished it in one day. Let me add to that by saying that I’m not a particularly fast reader. Even if I only stop reading for bathroom breaks, it will still take me more than 5 hours to finish a 350 page book, but some books just won’t let you go.
Sophie Topper Quinn has done the unthinkable in her small town, she has cheated on Carey, her Marine boyfriend who is currently overseas fight the war. Or at least that’s what everyone believes, but nothing is every as it seems on the surface. Quinn, as she has been called for the last 6 years by her Marine father, didn’t really cheat because Carey isn’t really her boyfriend. He confessed that he was gay and begged her to pretend to still be his girlfriend while he was overseas until he found the courage to come out to his family and friends. Since he is her best friend, she promises to protect his secret at all cost, but little does she know that promise will cost her everything. A few days after Carey deploys, a picture surfaces of Quinn in her lacy undergarments with a guy too deep in the shadows to name and everyone in the town, including Quinn’s own father, turn on her. She is shunned and called names and tortured by the people who believe she has done the lowest thing anyone can do. And then Carey goes missing in action and things escalate even more. And the faceless guy? Carey’s best friend Blake, who Quinn is hopelessly in love with but can never tell the truth too….at least not until Carey comes out of the closet.
The first thing I want to say is that Quinn reminded me so much of Veronica Mars, how she was in the very beginning, but without the badass sleuthing skills. She puts off that same attitude, that same air of defiance, and the refusal to allow the mean kids to see her cry. I admired her courage and the determination it must have took to take this beating from everyone she loved instead of just screaming the truth from the rooftops to get away from all the bullshit. And Blake treats her like she has a disease, believing that she used him and lied to him, he wants nothing to do with her.
I loved how this book blended the present and the past together so beautifully. The pacing was absolutely perfect. While seeing what was happening in the present with Carey MIA, the story of the past slowly unfolds as well. You learn about Carey and Quinn’s first kiss, what really happened on that magical night between Quinn and Blake, about how Quinn’s mom deserted her and her father, and so many other things. It makes your heart break for this girl who really doesn’t deserve this fucking shit.
I also loved how, in the end, everyone isn’t perfect and summed up in a little bow. Quinn’s father, though he has started to show his love for her, is still a controlling, overbearing dick who doesn’t like admitting he’s wrong. Some things get resolved and some seem like they never will be. I also loved how Quinn seemed to curse like a real teenager would. Sometimes I think writers who write teens get caught in one of two stereotypes with teen cursing, Either they think that teens are good little kids who don’t curse at all (which is possible but extremely rare) or they think they are hooligans who curse every other word when parents/adults aren’t around (again, possible, but not the norm in my experience), so it was refreshing to see Quinn curse just the right amount at the appropriate moments.
So, if I’m raving about how amazing this book is, why does it only get 4 stars? That would be because I was not overly fond of the ending. First and foremost, I HATED that Blake and Quinn don’t end up together. I’m all about self-discovery and the need to put yourself first but if you love him like you claim to, there is now way I can legitimately see you just walking away when he asks if you can just start over. I get that you two have been through some painful shit, but that’s part of the relationship world, learning to work through it. I also hated that she moved in with her mother. I’m sorry, but regardless of the fact that your dad refused to let her see you after she left, it doesn’t excuse the fact that she left. I can understand that life with your dad was difficult and that you want to get to know mommy dearest again, but I just don’t buy it. Even if your dad did fuck up a lot, it is still apparent that he was doing his best and he could have easily shipped you off to a military school or boarding school to get rid of you instead of trying to take care of you. The one who sticks around is the one who cares the most, in my humble opinion, and lady you just chose wrong. I also hated how she gives Blake this whole lecture about how they have to stop putting Carey first and then she just runs to him at the end when he needs her like nothing has changed. GIR…the ending just wasn’t what I had hoped for.