by Paige Harbison
Published by Harlequin Teen Release date : January 28th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Family, Young Adult
Source: The Publisher | Format: eARC
Purchase at: Amazon (Affiliate Link) • Audible • The Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads
Nothing should come between best friends, not even boys. ESPECIALLY not boys.
Natalie and Brooke have had each other's backs forever. Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies. Brooke is the movie—the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.
Then it happens—one crazy night that Natalie can't remember and Brooke's boyfriend, Aiden, can't forget. Suddenly there's a question mark in Natalie and Brooke's friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means
I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Two friends. One guy. One night. Changes everything.
I have said it probably a 1,000 times; anytime an author can bring infinite amounts of emotion from you, they are doing something right. Whether it be sadness, despair, giddiness or in this case, anger. And it’s hard sometimes, to separate your emotions from a critical standpoint when it comes to rating and reviewing book. (or really, life in general). Of course, a book is going to affect you, regardless, but sometimes emotions get the better of us and we can’t see beyond that. This is why this book is so difficult for me to review.
Let’s break it down a little, shall we? Also, spoilers below.
From a critical standpoint– I loved that Paige braved it and wrote about something that you just don’t see that much in YA. I can’t count on both hands how many times I witnessed a situation like this in High School. It’s realistic, it happens.
With the drinking, drugs and blackouts, I really do think this was handled honestly and accurately. If you honestly think teenagers don’t go to parties, hook up and possibly blackout, you are wrong. If you don’t think some parents turn a blind eye to these events? You’re wrong. As much as Natalie’s indifference to her situation was, it’s realistic. No one wants to admit to blacking out and possible having sex with someone. She confided in Brooke, so at least she told someone. Should she had seen a Doctor? Hell yes. But you can’t honestly say, 100%, everyone would.
I really enjoyed how everything was going until about 40%-ish, when we have the pleasure (sarcasm) of getting Brooke’s side of things. I understand the reasonings for it and I applaud the attempt but it didn’t work. I was so invested in Natalie’s story (which is Brooke’s too) and everything happening to her from her POV to care what is going on with Brooke. Not to mention, the scenes were the same scenes we already witnessed. Honestly, I hated her more after we see things from her POV — but more on that later.
Both Natalie and Brooke have very different voices and are so different it’s crazy. It’s not just because Brooke is a royal B and Natalie wasn’t. Brooke reminded me of a valley girl. Stuck up, stupid, hypocritical and selfish. Was she? Well, she wasn’t stupid, I’ll give her that. She was incredibly selfish and self-destructive. I was questioning Natalie’s intelligence though, for being friends with her. I just can’t fathom why anyone would want to associate themselves with someone like that. She is quiet, reserved and more a home body. I was wholeheartedly invested though, so points there too.
Now, on to my emotional standpoint– All these characters were a hot mess. I think what angered me the most was Aiden. I don’t want to get into it about date rape or whatever, as I have seen some comments about that, but it was NOT RIGHT that he blatantly lied to Natalie. Not only is it wrong to not disclose such things but to flatout lie? No. At that point, I lost all respect for this guy.
The ending too, really ticked me off. I was so invested in Natalie, as I’ve mentioned, and I could have cared less what happened to Brooke. I wanted to know more about Natalie, her father, Aiden and *the twist*. Not how Brooke did all this growing and wasn’t this major bitch anymore. Not only that; the epilogue was a cop-out. Don’t show me Brooke’s true colors and then TELL ME she changed. And another thing, when Natalie confided in Brooke about that night, she specially said she blacked out and wasn’t positive what happened. So when things came out in the end, she acted like Natalie lied to her about who she slept with. I know she was hurt about it, although she was more hurt someone got the best of her instead of actually caring what Aiden did, or Natalie for that matter, because HELLO, she did the same shit sober.
I’m getting ranty so I am walking away.
My Peeve- What it all boils down to? I didn’t like how Brooke’s character was introduced (I didn’t like Brooke, period, but that’s not the point). Her side kind of wraps up nicely and while we see a little bit regarding Natalie and Aiden, I was overall, more invested in what happened to them and not Brooke. The change was really frustrating.
Overall- In the grand scheme of things, I did enjoy it. I obviously had my issues with it, but it was a realistic and emotional story. It’s hard to say who I could recommend this too; so I will just chalk it up to a warning. Read at your own risk.