Published On: January 4, 2018 (Originally April 25, 2017)
Published By: Hodder
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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Rosie is a beautiful girl - and it's always been enough. Boys crush on her, men stare at her, girls (begrudgingly) admire her. She's lucky and she knows it.
But it's the start of a new school year and she begins to realise that she wants to be more. Namely, she's determined to be better to her best friend, Maddie. So, when Maddie connects with a football player who Rosie was hooking up with, she's prepared to get over it in the name of friendship. Plus, someone even more interesting has moved to town. Rosie is drawn to Alex in a way she's never experienced before - and she is surprised to discover that, unlike every other guy, he seems to see more to her than her beauty.
Then at a party one night, in the midst of a devastating storm, something happens that tears apart Rosie's life and forces her to face uncomfortable truths about reputation, identity, and what it means to be a true friend.
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Yes, you did read that right, I gave this book 5 stars! It is very rare for me to give out five star ratings but this book deserved it. I wasn't sure what to expect going into it as the synopsis wasn't giving a whole lot away, but it did intrigue me enough to want to know more. This book follows a not particularly likeable character and deals with some pretty hard-hitting topics, so really my opinion could have gone either way. However, I feel this is one of the best books I have read in a while.
I was so invested in this story and the characters in the book. I didn't want to put the book down while reading it, and in those times when I had to go and do other things, I couldn't stop thinking about this book and these characters. I wanted to stay in the story, I had to know what was going to happen and how Rosie, our main character, was going to deal with her situation. I felt like part of the story, I was living these horrible events right there alongside the characters.
I think the reason I loved this book so much, and why I found it such a powerful read, was due to the content covered. This book deals with the sexual assault of a girl with a bit of a reputation and focuses a lot on the slut-shaming we see within society. It was very difficult to read about how slut-shaming can be so detrimental in a situation like this, particularly in that victim blaming can become a real issue. It was very relevant to today's society, which made it even harder to read, and encouraged important conversations about the likes of slut-shaming and victim blaming. I am very impressed that such difficult topics were written about and handled so well.
Rosie herself was another reason I loved this book so much. Rosie is not a likeable character, she can be selfish and disregard the feelings of others. She is flawed in many ways, but she is very real. She felt like a genuine teenage girl, which made her easy to relate to and connect with. I actually saw much of myself in her, though I'm not sure that is something to really admit. Despite everything she faced throughout the book, she was incredibly strong and brave, and only grew as the book went on. Her strength and the way she faced the situation she found herself in, though heartbreaking, I found to be very empowering.
While there was, obviously, a fair bit of plot to this book, the characters are what really kept it going. As well as out main character, Rosie, there were many side characters who really added to the story. There is a very strong friendship theme running through the book, with tensions rising between Rosie and her best friend Maddie. Maddie was a character I had very mixed feelings about, however the friendship group was another aspect of the book I loved. The friendships felt very authentic and real, as did the tensions arising throughout the story. I particularly loved Rosie's friendship with her work colleague as not only was she a really lovely, genuine character, this illustrated that you can find friendships in places you least expected. I also really loved the family aspect of the book, particularly Rosie's strained yet sweet relationship with her younger sister.
Among all the drama taking place in Rosie's life, Amanda Maciel decided to throw a love interest into the mix. I found this a little strange at first and I wasn't sure how this would work with the story. I was worried this book might follow the 'love interest comes along and fixes all problems' trend, but was very glad to see this didn't happen. I really loved that what Rosie needed most was a friendship and that is what she got. Alex did not take away all of her problems, but rather helped her to see herself differently and really aided her character development. While I still don't really understand the relevance of his odd back story, I think Alex, and the romance element, ended up adding to the story rather than ruining it, as I had feared.
Overall, this was a very hard-hitting book, dealing with some very serious topics, particularly relevant to today's society. I found it both heart-breaking and empowering, particularly as the main character felt so real and easy to connect with. It was all too easy to put myself in her shoes and feel her emotional turmoil. I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for something to not only break your heart but make you think.