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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Alexi's life changed over the summer, but she can't manage to tell anyone about it. She goes through the motions of daily life, but spends her nights hiding in a closet, shredding baseball cards and scratching her neck trying to focus on the outer pain over the inner pain. Then Bodee, the weirdo boy next door, ends up moving in with them and she finds an unlikely friend in this quiet boy. This boy who manages to see beyond the facade she shows the world and lets her see the secrets he hides. The two grow closer and closer, helping Alexi face her past while she helps him grieve his mothers death.
Alexi is a character that is way too easy for me to identify with. She's smart and quiet, with a close circle of friends that she can depend on for everything, except that she can't seem to tell them the truth. She's been hiding her pain and taking it out on nightly counting compulsions and pain. Her need to hide the truth because she doesn't want to fuck up the offending party's life is both enraging and endearing. I can completely see where she was coming from on both sides of her argument. It's heartbreaking to watch her come to grips with what happened while Bodee does his best to comfort her.
Bodee is not your typical YA male. Sure, he's tall and attractive, but it's not immediately visible. Bodee is a social outcast. He's an awkward boy who slouches (therefore appears shorter) and literally dyes his hair every morning with Kool-Aid so it's never a normal color. But once you get him to open up, he's one of the sweetest guys I've ever encountered. Yes, I'm a sucker for the JLA type of cocky guys who have dickish tendencies in literature, but in real life, I'm all about the sweet guy next door type. Underneath that mop of rainbow colored hair, he's actually pretty adorable, and it's a winning combination. Watching him try to protect Alexi while simultaneously trying to get her to tell someone about whatever happened to her was completely addictive. This guy has won my heart over and over again.
This novel completely floored me. I knew when I requested this that it would be reminiscent of Pushing The Limits, but I wasn't expecting to live up to that level of awesome. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but this was much more. Alexi's journey to even use the term "rape" mentally is...I want to say something better than heart-breaking but it's the only thing that seems to fit. The plot seems so open and honest, but I never saw that ending coming. And I loved the response of the other female involved. Without getting spoilery, I was really worried that the girl dating the offending male would blame Alexi and take said male's side, but she doesn't. She stands with Alexi to take the repercussions.
This novel was everything I was looking for and more. I only had a few minor issues because I didn't particularly like any of the names, but what the hell kind of name is Bodee? And it also has minor twinges of religion that I could have done without, but the good far overshadows the trivial bad. I absolutely adored it and recommend to anyone who a fan of Katie McGarry or Stephanie Perkins or contemporary YA in general!
****Thank you to HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****