Author: Kristin Halbrook
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
So, last year I discovered that I liked contemporary YA novels. This year, I decided to see if I like grittier contemporary novels. If this book is any indication, the answer to that question is a resounding no. But I'm not going to give up on them. I did like Send Me a Sign last year, and it was full of the sads. So maybe it was just this book and I that didn't mesh well, not just the fact that it was dark.
The fact is, these two kids have had really effed up, crazy lives, and them taking off on their own isn't going to change that. But I know from experience that sometimes it does help to put distance between you and your problems, if only to gain some clarity. Though, that isn't what happens in this story. My heart hurts for these characters and everything they've been through -- and are still going through -- even though I never developed an emotional connection to them. Which is really sad because I really wanted to love them, to love this book.
This book was all gogogo and I was all, Hey, wait a minute...we're moving on from this already? The brief glimpses of Will and Zoe's lives prior to their, well, for lack of a better word, escape, are fleeting and pretty much serve to garner more sympathy for the characters. But while that tactic is successful, for the most part, it also made me question why they were being so impulsive and not facing their fears head-on. Zoe seemed to have a relatively good head on her shoulders, so why was she running? At times, she would second-guess their decision to hit the road, but then she'd think about Will and his love for her, and she would settle back into her resolve to start a life with him.
Will. This guy is one I would never give a second thought to, except to remind myself to stay away from him. Not because he's a shelter kid but because of his freakishly scary mood swings and easily provoked anger management issues. Honestly, he reminds me of someone I know, which freaks me the eff out because guys like that really do exist and they end up just like the man Zoe is so desperate to flee. But Will and Zoe both believe that they're saving her. Will who is 18 and Zoe who is a mere 15. Will knows how much trouble he could get into for high-tailing it with a minor across state lines, but the wacko already thought of this and got her a fake ID stating she was of age, prior to their road trip from hell.
This story is just one bad decision after another, and it doesn't end well for either of the characters. All I felt throughout the book was a penetrating melancholy, and I kind of wish I'd never read this. I know this story isn't completely fiction. That things can go terribly, terribly wrong in a matter of moments, based on few bad decisions and that a story like this is the result. But I read to escape, to feel good, and this book achieved the exact opposite. It was like watching a bad car chase, and it ends about the same as one, too. It wasn't terribly written, but it also wasn't the book for me.
I know, I know...I still haven't put up my DAC 2013 post, but I'm counting this book toward it, as well as using it as my "outside of my comfort zone" book for the January mini-challenge.