First – I LOVED this story!
Alex and Sean are neighbors and have been best friends since childhood – they know one another’s secrets and oddities and accept them. Now seniors, they are both struggling to overcome issues from their past. When their friendship turns into romance, their relationship quickly morphs into something unhealthy that falls apart in a final climax.
A lot of authors attempt to write teens that come off sounding stilted or whose motivations feel hollow or forced, but not so in this book. It was like stepping in a time machine and going back into my own youth – I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I *knew* these people (or people like them). I understood and connected to so much of it – the small town atmosphere, the floating indecision, the pressures to make a choice and have ambition when you can’t even figure out what you want to do, and the apathetic way of being swept into things you really don’t want to be just because you’re “supposed to” or because you think someone else “wants you to”.
I’m not usually a fan of first person present tense, but it felt effective in this story. The back and forth between the character’s point of view was also good. I enjoyed getting to peek inside both their heads and understand why they did what they did. I also liked that though the book is beautifully dark, the ending is bright. So many of these type of stories stop at the tragic point and never bother to go on to the part where the characters start to grow up a little, and I was glad to see that this one did.