I like books about country kids. I spent many a night cruising town, making pit stops at Sonic and trying to keep myself out of trouble in a place fairly empty of entertainment possibilities. I also understand the judgement and support that only a rural, small town society can dispense. This book came across as an accurate depiction of this kind of setting, so if you have a similar background (or just wish you did), you might enjoy this book, and maybe even this series about a trio of sisters who are uprooted from the big city to small town Texas.
New town. New look. New beginning. High school junior Ryan Quinn has a past. She will do just about anything to keep it hidden, even if means joining the ultra-conservative, no fun allowed, Purity Club. But secrets are hard to keep in a small town and when the Purity Club girls discover the truth, they viciously attack Ryan.
Justin is the kind of guy who can make Ryan forget her vow to change. He’s the kind of guy she should avoid at all costs. But he knows her soul secrets. He understands her and it is torture when she is away from him. But as she deals with the outward scars on her face and the inward shame of her past and Justin’s home life continues to spiral out of control, their relationship becomes as convoluted as their home life. Will they find the courage to open their hearts to each other in spite of their family drama?
I sampled this book before I requested it for review, and I have to say the surprisingly vicious attack that it opens with, followed by the simple, human heroics that cuts the attack short engaged me immediately. I requested it and read it straight through in a few hours. Part of my interest probably came from the fact that I hadn’t read the first book in the series, so I couldn’t even comprehend what prompted the inciting action. I think it might have been a bonus, actually, because I didn’t have preconceived notions about these characters, and the book did a good job of getting me up to speed on what I missed. I think I was also interested because these are my kind of people – country kids who knock around a small town focusing on football games and trips to the Sonic. I had a pretty easy time visualizing this town and the way it’s social systems worked. I even appreciated the fact that it deals with some pretty hard hitting issues and still managed to read like a book and not a counseling pamphlet. So, why did I only give it three stars? It does come across as a little “hard hitting issues lite.” The ideas are big, but there are a lot of them, and it feels like that took away from the time spent really covering any of them in a thorough way. No big deal, but it just isn’t going to have a huge impact on readers because they are dealing with a lot. Also, the pace was a little off for me. I thought there were some lags in the storylines. Finally, I just didn’t connect with either of the main characters. That is not necessarily the fault of the book because I am not the target audience, but it is worth noting that I didn’t feel as emotionally invested in the outcomes as I probably should have been. I still think it is worth reading, especially if you like to see two kids who are struggling find a connection that helps them both. Also, there was a really compelling kickoff to the next book in the last sentence of this one, and I’m really thinking I need to get my hands on it. That aspect reminded me a little of Sea of Tranquility, so if you enjoyed that book, you might give this one a whirl.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.