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- Publisher: Walker & Company
- Publication date: 4/24/2012
- Pages: 368
- Source: NetGalley / Bloomsbury (Walker)
Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.
When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.
When I fist saw the cover for this book I was drawn to it, then I read the synopsis and knew I wanted to read it. I love a good mystery. They have always been a favorite of mine so I was excited to read this one. I have also been trying to read more contemporary books lately too, so this was a double win. The beginning of this was a bit slow for me, but as the story went on, I was getting pulled deeper into the sad, sick world that Allie is living in. Some of it in her head and some from the actual world. It was deep and emotional. It touched on a very dark subject. I thought the writing was excellent and that Jennifer did an excellent job at really letting us get into Allie's head and go through the emotions she is going through with her. (Although thankfully not on such a deep level)
Allie is a very lost person. She is not necessarily weak, but she is very broken. I can't really know how she felt dealing with what she has gone through, but I really did feel that I had that character connection. I was anxious and worked up when she was. I felt her happiness when she allowed herself to feel it. I really thought that her character was done very well. She portrayed an abuse victim exactly the way an abuse victim would act and think. It's so sad, but she thought it was her fault. If only she didn't make Trip mad, or if she wasn't late, or... whatever. She thought that if she had done things different that he wouldn't have hit her. She is misguided and afraid, but she finally starts to heal. It is really intense following her on the journey. There are times where I wanted to be like "What is wrong with you? Snap out of it!", but I know that in her situation, she really just couldn't.
Blake, her friend since forever is so awesome! I loved how even when she was literally falling apart and pushing everyone away, he was there for her. Even though she had completely abandoned him and tossed him aside for Trip, he was still the friend that everyone wants and needs. I can't say enough how much I loved his character. Yes, he made mistakes and is not in any way perfect at all, but that's what makes him so great. There is so much more to Blake that I can't even get into, but he is just an awesome person.
All of the characters in the book really play important roles. The way her parents act, how protective and intuitive her twin brother is. (Of course, they are twins. They have a special connection.) Trip's Parents...Now they are something else. The kids at school are such jerks, which I can understand to an extent, but I mean everyone? I know it's a small town, but it seemed a bit far fetched to me that the whole entire school would act the way they do.
The mystery to this story was pretty great too. I have been big on mysteries since as long as I can remember, and I can usually figure them out pretty quick. Not the case with this book. I will admit I did figure it out much before it was revealed, but it wasn't until more than half way through the book. I would have theories and have them totally shot down. It took a while, but I did finally piece it together. I really enjoyed that it kept me guessing for so long.
This story is great suspenseful mystery. It is dark and emotional and got me worked up at times. I would find myself gripping my nook, or notice I was getting a knot in my stomach. It's not perfect. I did think it was a bit slow to start, but the character development and mystery unfolding were great. I wanted to love it, but I just liked it. I also don't read too many contemporary books, and when I do they are usually a bit happier, so that could be why. I think that it is a book that a lot of people will really love though. The story felt very real with the exception of the whole students at school thing. This is Jennifer's fist book and I think she did great. I look forward to more of her work. 3.5 out of 5 stars.