Author: Colleen Clayton
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Source: Southern Book Bloggers ARC Tour
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
I've never been in Sid's situation; I've never been sexually assaulted. But I was in an abusive relationship as a teenager, one that lasted into my very early twenties...much, much longer than it should have. And though I can't liken my experience to Sid's, I was able to identify with her decision to keep things secret because I've been there. I thought that the shame and guilt and pain was mine alone to bear, as did Sid. In the beginning, I shouted at the book, at Sid, "Why won't you tell anyone what he did to you?!?" And then I thought about how I would've handled the situation at that age. And, yeah, there's a very real possibility that I would have reacted the same way.
And that's one of the reasons why I think this book is so great, why I loved it so much, even though it made me feel all the things...because it made me feel all the things, and if given to the right girl, it might help her to feel all the things and might help her better handle a situation like this. Because as much as we'd like to believe that this would never happen to us or someone we know, it does and it could. And girls should know that they did nothing wrong...it's not their fault and they should tell someone who can help them, someone they trust. I wish every young adult would read this book, boys included, because they could learn a thing or two about what it's like to be objectified by their peers on a daily basis and what it does to a person.
I loved Sid's voice. She's quirky and sarcastic and, eventually, pretty honest with herself. Sid's in denial for the better part of the novel, but not in complete denial. Every once in awhile, she lets the psychotic part of her brain (her words, not mine) slip and admit to the rational part of her brain that she's not dealing with this well. She realizes that she has an eating disorder, that she might need counseling, and that she should tell someone what was done to her. And yet she remains silent.
Even though her friends have turned their backs on her and she's been kicked off the cheerleading squad, there's still a bright spot in all of this. Sid ends up in the AV room with Corey, which she has severe reservations about because of his reputation as a total slacker/stoner type. But they eventually become friends. And then more than friends, and as Corey proves again and again why he is one of the best-written love interests I've ever read in a YA novel, Sid falls hard for him and puts aside all of her previous prejudices as she discovers who Corey really is.
This novel is so multi-faceted, so jaw-dropping realistic and true to life. I gasped in shock. I blubbered and read through tears. And I cracked up because Sid is seriously funny when she's feeling up to it. I wish I could unread this book so I could experience it all over again for the first time. Yes, it's sad. Yes, it's dealing with tough subject matter that deserves some serious attention. But I wouldn't have it any other way because this book is as real as it gets. And the author deserves kudos for going above and beyond and writing such a tragic yet beautiful story featuring real characters dealing with real life in a less than perfect way, but dealing with it all the same. This is a book that I definitely want my daughter to read when she's ready. I hope it touches her the way it did me.
"I spend the whole day shoveling. First the driveway, then the sidewalk, then the neighbor's porch. Every two hours, the snow is back. The menial nature of the job is a relief from having to think too much, and I enjoy the backbreaking pain of it. I look over at Mr. Snowblower three doors down and stifle the urge to yell "Hey, pussaaay! That all ya got?"
"Far southwest corner. He's over there. With her. Don't point."
I scan the yard. The crowd is getting bigger by the second.
"Southwest corner? I'm not a park ranger, Kirsten. You mean by the hot tubs?"
"No. By the fire. Sitting on the picnic table."
"And I never thought I'd ever be sitting here with you like this. In my wildest dreams I never dreamed it. I sat in that AV room for eight weeks, watching Deadwood so I wouldn't have to look at you, so that I wouldn't grab you and kiss you and thank you for getting me through something that was really, really awful. I would watch you out of the corner of my eye, though. God, I wanted to kiss you so bad it hurt. I've always, always thought you were beautiful, Sid. Always."