A gritty but hopeful love story about two struggling teens—
great for fans of The Spectacular Now, Willow, and Eleanor and Park
has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend, and a
reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself. And
Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering
(verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money). Tyler
finds a job that crashes him into Jordyn, his former childhood friend
turned angry-loner goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected reprieve
from the never-ending pity party his life has become. How could he not
fall for her? But with his dad more brutally unpredictable than ever,
Tyler knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into the chaos. So
when violence rocks his world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the
way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find
it in himself?
My Review: 5 Stars
This book. Wow. This book was absolutely amazing. It is emotional and so well written and it probably have made me cry if I were a person who cried while reading books. It has a great male narrator, and an amazing hate-to-love love story.
First, there is the main character and narrator, Tyler. At first, he doesn't seem that great. He pushes everyone away, and strings along his girlfriend. He thinks a lot of negative things about his girlfriend, some of which were probably true, based on what I read about her, but he still should have broken up with her if that's what he thought about her. But Tyler's behaviors are understandable once you find out about his horrible home life. His father is an abusive jerk, and his mother killed herself. Tyler really loved his mother, so it is understandable that he tries to push people away so he doesn't have to lose another person that he loves.
Tyler's dad is absolutely horrible and I got so angry at him. He is not at all what a parent is supposed to be. He seems to hate his son. He abuses Tyler emotionally as well as going on drunken tirades and physically beating him. He not only does all that, but he also refuses to provide anything for Tyler at all, including food and toilet paper. Tyler is forced to get a job to be able to eat, when his dad should be getting food for him.
Jordyn and Tyler start out with a relationship where they hate each other. Or truthfully, it's really more like she hates him and he doesn't really understand why for a while. They were friends as kids because their moms were friends, but Jordyn's family moved at some point, and they fell out of touch, but she had come back in high school, and Tyler hadn't realized that, since Jordyn had become Goth, and he didn't recognize her with all her makeup on. I loved watching how Jordyn slowly warmed up to Tyler again, and how she really began to care about him and feel protective of him once she found out what his dad did to him. It was the kind of relationship that Tyler really needed, and I loved it so much. I loved the tender romance that developed.
Jordyn's family is so adorable. I loved how her parents are divorced and both are remarried, and all four of them (her mom and dad, and her stepmom and stepdad), are all like one big family with Jordyn. They are also pretty funny when they are interacting at the family holidays. Henry, her stepdad, is completely the sweetest guy, and he is great for Tyler too. He cares so much about Tyler, which is what Tyler needs. The rest of the family is great and really welcoming to Tyler, especially Jordyn's mom too. When he gets into a bad situation, they are there for him, which is really great. They do more for him than someone would ever typically expect from someone who isn't their own family.
If you like YA contemporary with some dark parts, read this book.