Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Karole Cozzo
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Nikki Baylor was incriminated in a cyber bullying incident. She loses her friends, her cheerleading, her show choir involvement, and the trust and respect of her parents. It seems that no one can see past her mistake and look deeper into what really happened or how she feels, until she meets Pax one day at the rehabilitation center she works at. Pax is the only person who can forgive Nikki for her past and look forward to her future. But as Pax and Nikki begin a relationship, they realize that it might be more difficult than they thought. Nikki is willing to stay at Pax's pace and understands that he can't do everything in his wheelchair, but Pax isn't so sure she'll always feel that way. And Nikki still has to learn where her sense of self should really come from. Ultimately, they come together to recognize that while no one can see into the future, they are each other's bright source of hope in the dark and murky world of moving beyond past mistakes and challenges.
At first glance, this book is nothing but a fluffy high school romance. But from the start, the story hooks readers and will keep them engaged fully until the very end. Yes, this book centers on the romance between Nikki and Pax, but the author tackles so many more issues in an understated but very real way, issues like bullying, true friendship, forgiveness, family relationships, and the uncertainty of the future that everyone faces when they're young. The emotional notes hit just right, with the sweet moments leaving the reader smiling and maybe even squealing a bit, and the sad moments nearly bringing any reader with a heart to tears. Overall, this is a book that sets out to provide a nice romantic story for teen readers and accomplishes all of that and so much more.
*Contains moderate language and moderate sexual content.