While the romance takes precedence in this contemporary YA, the best part of this story is the way it deals with friendship, accountability, and redemption after an epic mistake. Nicole is trying to recover from a reputation as the ultimate mean girl. She lost her friends, her family, and her place in life when she made a huge error in judgement. Meaningful and enjoyable, this is a YA contemporary romance worth reading and discussing. I gave it five stars.
After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance.
The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That’s all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl’s suicide. Now Nikki’s been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can’t look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates – almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it’s like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance… and everyone deserves to be loved.
This book could have glossed over the journey back from a dark place, but it didn’t. Nicole’s struggle is real and ongoing, and I think that is what makes this book so relevant. However, the romance is the lure, and it works well. The budding relationship is engaging and swoon-worthy, so the lessons embedded go down easily but work all the same. I’m an adult, and my days of intrigue are long past, but I still found myself pondering the way you can rise from the ashes to be a better person. I found this story compelling enough that I finished it on a single read, and I can already tell that my high school girls will enjoy it as much as I did. It’s definitely going on my high school classroom library wishlist, and I am going to be handing it to fans of Miranda Kennely and Sarah Dessen. Language and situations are appropriate for grades 9+.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.