Published On: July 18, 2017
Published By: Kylie Scott
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After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrols at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.
While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.
An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.
Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.
*A copy of this book was provided by the published via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
I had heard a lot of good things about Kylie Scott, particularly her Stage Dive series, so when I came across this book on Netgalley I was intrigued, even more so when I read the synopsis. This wasn't quite what I was expecting. I was expecting New Adult and was surprised to find the characters were still in high school, however the content was definitely more what I would expect in NA. Other than that confusion, I have some mixed feelings about this book but enjoyed it overall.
The start of this book is so intense that I was instantly drawn in and had to keep reading. I loved the intensity of the opening scenes, particularly as they were written so well that it made me feel like I was right there in the story. After such an enthralling start, the rest of the book wasn't quite as exciting and I wasn't as invested in the story as I previously had been, however it was still good.
It is frequently mentioned throughout the book that our main character, Edie, is a bigger girl, which made a nice change from having a super skinny protagonist as is quite often the case. I liked that this raised issues of body confidence and a lot of Edie's struggles with her weight were relatable. There were some comments about her weight, bullying and name-calling that I found a bit uncomfortable to read about, though, and I occasionally felt that it wasn't made clear how wrong and hurtful such comments could be.
There were a couple of things I had an issue with in this book, one being that I didn't like the way mental health was discussed. There were some good points in which Edie mentioned her mental health improving since starting to see a therapist. However, a lot of the discussion surrounding mental health could be potentially harmful. The characters have gone through such a traumatic experience at the beginning of book that it is not unexpected that they exhibit signs of PTSD and anxiety as the book develops. Edie often mentions experiencing symptoms of these things but describes herself as "crazy" for this, as well as for needing to see a therapist. For me, there wasn't enough discussion about the benefits of seeking help for mental health problems to outweigh the negative content regarding mental health. From a personal point of view, as someone who suffers from anxiety and frequently experiences panic attacks, I did not appreciate having a panic attack being considered a sign of being "crazy". I think this kind of thing could be potentially harmful to those going through similar situations.
Another thing I didn't really like within the book was the way virginity was handled. I more often than not find myself rolling my eyes at the discussions of virginity being so precious and the protagonist worrying about it being perfect. However, this went to the opposite end of the scale. Losing your virginity was treated like it was nothing. It was discussed as something that you just needed to get it over with with the first person you find. I don't think it needs to be made into such a big thing as is often the case in the books I read, but to discuss it as thought it is completely unimportant was uncomfortable for me.
Despite the issues I had with this book, one thing I really loved was the friendship aspect. There is an emphasis on friendship, particularly as Edie's trust is broken by a good friend so early on in the story, and I really enjoyed seeing her develop her trust with the new friends she makes. I absolutely loved Hang, I think because it seemed like such a different friendship than the one that had been broken and it illustrated the fact that all friendships are different but just as important.
My favourite friendship of them all, though, was Edie and John's friendship. For that reason, I didn't love the romance. I obviously knew it was coming and how their friendship would play out but I loved them much more as friends. They had a great friendship that to me didn't really evolve into a relationship, it just happened due to the circumstances. If it had been more of a gradual thing I would probably have liked the relationship more and it would have felt more natural to me, as it felt quite awkward and unnatural the way things happened.
Overall, though I had my issues with a few things in the book, I did enjoy it. It was a darker, more intense contemporary but still an enjoyable read. There were some more mature themes within the book so I would be aware that it is perhaps not suitable for younger YA readers. I would definitely pick up more from Kylie Scott in future and am now even more interested in her previous series'.