Disclaimer: I was sent this book (unsolicited) by Bloomsbury, prior to its release, in exchange for an honest review.
I really didn’t want to like this book…
This novel started off in a way that made me immediately not want to like our main characters, but I did. I liked this book!
Blurb: When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care. Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle. When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship... This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?
This is one of those books where you have to read the blurb before you start the novel, and that’s something coming from me because I never read the blurb before the book.
The novel is told in dual perspective. Opening with Rob, the boy sounds spiteful and rude in his point of view talking about how much he despises the man who sits across from him. It’s all quite confusing out of context, but once you continue on and understand who that man is, seeing things from Rob’s point of view isn’t too hard.
Then there is Maegan, a girl who opens out her perspective by being grateful for her sister’s shitty situation because for once she is not the disliked child in the family. As with Rob, it isn’t until you know what Maegan has been through do you truly understand why she acts the way she does.
These two teenagers whose lives have been monumentally screwed up – either by their own hand or another’s – and shunned socially within their school, find themselves thrust together since after all, they are pretty much the same. Right?
This book had the ‘forced friendship’ trope, which I guess is kind of similar to the ‘and they were roommates’ trope that I love so much.
The two social outcasts are forced together in a group project which becomes less about the project and more about their growing friendship, until… well, it all becomes too much. Dealing with their own personal lives and the opinions of others, both parties are pushed apart.
One of my other favourite tropes is ‘yearning’ and ‘denial in love’, like when two people know they want to be together but they both think the other person doesn’t want them. This book was a perfect illustration of those feelings.
Over the course of the novel, friendships are made and broken and mended again. Secrets are uncovered and betrayals between people as close as family occur. It becomes all too much for some and the side characters take their turn in the spotlight, showing how other people’s actions, no matter how noble can impact the lives of others entwined in the same web of lies.
One of my favourite parts of the book was actually the sweet ending. It ends happy and well off for our unlucky in life main characters. They get some form of comfort and love that they deserve in the end, even if it is not all as they would wish it to be.
★ Rating ★
I rated this book a ★★★★☆ (3.75/5 stars) because of the happy ending and troubled characters that I am an absolute sucker for! Also, the tropes are the ones I always turn to in a good fanfiction, and to have them done right in a contemporary novel makes me very happy!
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