I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.
My, my, this was a sneaky little book. When I read the synopsis, I was expecting to laugh, swoon, and maybe even cry a little bit. And while I did do all of those things, I didn’t do them for the reasons I expected.
Cyber bullying is a big deal. There is simply so excuse for doing something as awful as posting sexual pictures of a drunk girl on the internet, and that is exactly what Nikki and her friends did. As the story progresses we learn more about how something so disgusting happened and why Nikki did what she did, but there is no good reason to do something like that and the book never lets Nikki off of the hook for her bad choices. Even when I felt sorry for her because a cute boy yelled at her for being a bully and all the kids at school treated her like a leper, those were consequences for her actions so I didn’t cry for her or anything.
What did make me cry for her, what made me care about this girl so much even though she did such a stupid and mean thing, was the fact that her parents treated her the same way everyone else did. There is just something about parents–the two people in the world who are supposed to love and comfort you no matter what–treating you like they don’t know who you are or like who you have become that makes you want to cry. It felt like Nikki’s mom was perpetually punishing her for what she did as opposed to trying to teach her to be a better person. And her dad? Well, he didn’t even want to look at her.
These reactions would have been easier to accept if Nikki didn’t already feel remorse for what she did and had not spent the last six months working hard to earn their trust back. The fact is, kids make mistakes sometimes, but I can’t think of anything that should keep a parent from comforting their child when she is in pain. She got enough blame from the rest of the world, she didn’t need it from them too.
Okay, enough of the stuff that made me cry. On to the happy parts.
Nikki meets Pax in the first chapter of the book, and he is amazing. He is strong, handsome, funny, and in a wheel chair. The great things is that he isn’t a wonderful guy who happens to be in a wheel chair, he is a wonderful guy because he is in a wheel chair.
I got the feeling that when he had a “perfect” body and felt invincible, like so many athletic, young people do, he was a nice enough guy. But when he had is accident, it changed him in some amazing ways. He learned to rely on his brains more than his brawn and he started paying more attention to the world around him. This made him so empathetic and thoughtful that anyone in their right mind would fall head over heals in love with him for that reason alone. But on top of the thoughtfulness, he was charming and gorgeous.
I never felt like the author gave him these great attributes to make up for the fact that he was paralyzed. It’s just Pax was a strong person who became stronger in the face of adversity.
The relationship with him and Nikki was so cute. Before she met Pax, Nikki felt like the whole world hated her (And she wasn’t really wrong). She was lonely, consumed with guilt, and miserable. Because Pax was such an emotionally strong person, she never even thought twice about unloading some of her baggage on him, and he seemed to enjoy taking care of her. however, Nikki didn’t become so attached to him that it became unhealthy, and she took care of him right back. They had each other’s backs.
This was one of those books that kept me interested the entire way through. Even when I was mad at some of the characters, I never wanted to give up on them. I have read a lot of good books lately and I am not easy to please, but this book was simply fantastic. If you want a cute, emotional, romantic read with some great character development, you’ve found it.
Because of language and some mild sexual content, I would recommend this book for ages 15 and up. There were no sex scenes.