You know that moment when you make eye contact with a stranger on a bus or at the grocery store or standing in line at the post office, and you really wish it meant as much to them as you? You know that moment when you realize that, Hey, this guy might really be hitting on me, and then dismiss it because, really, why would this guy bother with you? Yeah, so does Beatrix. However, this is one moment that actually does blossom into something more, something big, and Beatrix’s whole world gets a good firm shake and her heart might not survive the encounter. I think readers who have enjoyed the slightly off tune romances of John Green and those who like the more social issue driven romances of Sarah Dessen will both be quite pleased with this book.
Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.
Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Why? Every person in this book was a great blend of unique and universal that I found surprising and understandable at the same time. These YA characters felt like real teens who made stupid decisions based on completely believable and justifiable emotions, and the adult characters did the same. They felt real. I liked the romance for its unlikely beginning; its realistic mix of impulsive, thoughtful, and unsure moments; and its surprisingly agreeable blend of happy and “that’s life” ending. The setting wasn’t one I was familiar with beyond pictures, but the writing was visual enough that it ran like a movie in my head. It was well paced to develop all of the important relationships without awkward lulls, and it ended before I was quite ready to let go of the friends I made. Sometimes when an author writes something that has a little quirky, it comes across as trying too hard, but this book just worked. Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers, but I think adult readers of contemporary YA romance will enjoy it just as much.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.