For an unflinching examination of how issues between parents affect their kids, for a sweet and painful young love (assuming you can suspend disbelief a little bit)
Even if Jolene is accustomed to the way her absentee dad and her controlling alcoholic mother use her to spite each other, it doesn’t make it easy. Adam, on the other hand, is new to this whole family-falling-apart thing, and his primary coping method is anger. Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured soon become the best part of their lives. But when one’s life begins to mend while the other’s spirals out of control, they realize that falling in love while surrounded by its demise means nothing is ever guaranteed.
Sometimes I feel like such a curmudgeon. As I get older (and five years away from being a teenager is really not that much, the portrayals of love between teenagers gets more and more difficult to believe. They saw each other for a few days or had a few conversations, and now they know they’ll be together forever? I mean to be honest, that’s 100% an accurate portrayal of the way it feels when you’re that age. But now I just feel like the parents watching indulgently as their teens go through it. You smile and say, “Oh, she’s the one your going to marry, eh?” and prepare for the inevitable heartbreak. It’s probably due to my own lessons in how hard it is to actually find a love worth fighting for and holding on to.
But I digress.
If you can take the forever-at-sixteen romance with a grain of salt, then this is a sweet yet powerful read. Abigail Johnson didn’t pull any punches when it came to the horrifying things people, especially parents, can do to each other. Jolene’s relationship with her mother and her lack of a relationship with her father made me want to swoop in take her into my arms while scolding both parents the whole time with righteous indignation that would show them both the error of their ways. Adam’s anger and eventual understandings of what’s going on with his parents were gratifying to see him deal with, as his family re-learned how to be together with a piece of their puzzle missing.
I loved the Baggage and the Issues that the characters had to work through more than their romance, though I acknowledge that was obviously a key part of it. Wanting to better yourself to be better for the person you love is a seriously powerful motivator – trust me, I’m 25. xD This would have been four stars if I had been more able to get past Adam’s dramatic declarations, but only Romeo can pull those off for me.
Thanks to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for a free advanced copy of this in exchange for an honest review.