Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Rebecca Phillips
Publisher: Harper Teen
Everything is broken when Dara's best friend Aubrey is killed in a horrible accident, one that many people blame Dara for causing. Now it's Dara's senior year and she is back in her hometown after a year away. Things are still uneasy wherever she goes. Her relationships with her parents and little brother are strained, no one at school wants to talk to Dara because of the accident, and Aubrey's younger brother Ethan seems to be forgiving and gentle - but who could forgive the person who caused their sister's death? Dara has to learn to heal, to allow herself to fall in love again with the other person who knows Aubrey best, to rediscover the fearless girl she used to be.
This is a wonderfully heart-wrenching book that tells its compelling story through alternating timelines from Dara's sophomore and senior year. Through the flashbacks, the reader comes to understand Dara and Aubrey's friendship better, as well as Dara's early relationship with Ethan. While this book is definitely written for older readers, it deals with many difficult subjects teens face like sex, drinking, peer pressure, dating, and friendship in ways that are realistic and relatable. The emphasis is not on "taboo" topics but rather on how teenagers interact with the world around them in a myriad of circumstances. This is a must-read for teens and adults who appreciate a deep, thought-provoking story told by a wonderfully flawed character.
*Contains severe language, severe sexual content, and mild violence.