Two teenagers “meet cute” in a grocery store, with the guy asking the girl if he’s met her before. As it turns out, well … I don’t want to spoil it. Suffice it to say there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye. Seventeen-year-old Sky doesn’t quite know what to think when Holder talks to her. She knows he’s good-looking, and she also learns pretty quickly that he’s got a bad reputation. What’s most compelling, though, is that he’s the only guy who’s ever made her stomach fill with butterflies, her knees turn to jelly, etc.; all the others she’s dated (and made out with) have left her feeling absolutely nothing, just numb. So Sky’s willing to give Holder a couple of chances to explain himself and what others have been saying about him.
Their relationship is passionate, consuming, and honest. Well, Holder says he’s always going to be honest with Sky. But it turns out he’s keeping some big secrets, and Sky is devastated by what she learns about the past.
I hate to say much else about the story; it’s intense and riveting. It also packs some wallops of emotion and plot reveals. It’s not for the faint of heart, and not for young readers. The characters have experienced some truly tragic and heartbreaking events, and they deal with them honestly and bravely. Despite the intensity, it’s a beautiful book that I thoroughly appreciated reading. The characters were wonderful and their dedication to each other and to overcoming their challenges inspiring.
Rated: High. There are between 20 and 25 uses of strong language alone, as well as a fair number of mild and moderate terms. There are a number of detailed sexual scenes, as well as one scene of unexpected violence with a little bit of gory detail. There are references to rape and molestation without much detail.