Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.
No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.
But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? – Goodreads
Ezra’s in a pretty dark place when we meet him. He’s lost his girlfriend and his athletic career – not only that, but he has trouble just walking up a flight of stairs. And to add insult to injury (literally), the experience of losing these things made him realize that he had not only lost his popular group of friends, but never really had them in the first place.
By the time summer comes to a close, he’s not looking forward to returning to school and finding out whether any of the popular crowd still accept him. Nor is he looking forward to the gawkers who will look at him with unveiled curiosity.
What Ezra doesn’t expect is that in finding a place among the outcasts, he is gaining much more than he’s losing. He discovers a world that is much more interesting and fulfilling – he regains his childhood friend, a group of witty (if nerdy) friends who actually care about him, and a new girlfriend who challenges him and pushes him beyond his comfort zone in ways that make him fall for her hard.
It’s a love story… but it’s not just a love story. It’s the story of growing up, of moving beyond the limited world of cheerleaders and jocks (and high school itself) and learning to deal with personal tragedy.
There are a lot of reasons why I enjoyed this book. But mostly I enjoyed that it was about real teens, with real voices and real lives. They swear, they drink, they skip class, they have parties and they aren’t all virgins. They’re not censored, nor are they whitewashed into teens who will be palatable to the parents of teens. And man, was that a nice change.
I also appreciated the secondary characters – some of whom I ended up liking even better than the protagonist. My favourite was Toby, Ezra’s childhood best friend and captain of the debate team, who is probably gay but has decided to deal with figuring it out in college. He’s witty, can make a good pun and has got some epic one-liners.
The only character I wasn’t thrilled with was Cassidy, Ezra’s love interest. Though I’m not usually a fan of split-narration, I think in this case we could have benefited from her perspective. Without it, she comes across as moody, high maintenance, cold and, by the end of the book, a bit of a bitch. I tried, but I couldn’t bring myself to root for her and Ezra, because I just didn’t like her very much. Don’t get me wrong, I have sympathy for her situation – it’s messy and full of confusing emotions – but I still didn’t like how she dealt with it. I also found the situation with her brother a bit predictable – I figured her big mystery was about him pretty early on (though not his involvement with Ezra’s situation).
And finally, Cooper. You guys remember my post on Book Turn-Offs? Well one of the items I added at the end was anything bad happening to animals. Well, something bad happens to Ezra’s dog, Cooper. It’s close to the end of the book – otherwise I would have abandoned it – but it was in there, and very sad. So for those of you who also can’t handle anything sad happening to a furry friend, this might not be the book for you. Particularly because there isn’t really any point to it.
As far as Young Adult reading goes, this book is somewhere upwards of the middle of the range. I certainly loved most of the characters, and I really enjoyed reading it. It’s pretty easy to get in to, and you’ll want to finish it (possibly in one go). It didn’t blow my socks off and clear across the room, but that’s okay because the weather’s getting chilly and I kinda need them.
Author: Robyn Schneider
Published by: Katherine Tegen
Released: August 27, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Tragedy, Popularity
Date Read: October 6-11, 2013
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