No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.
But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.
Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
I’d lost and I’d won. I’d lost the dreams I had, but won new dreams.
It was way too long. I have to admit that I skipped several descriptive parts, and focused on only dialogues. Maybe I’m too old to enjoy wholeheartedly Young Adult fiction…
Anyway, the novel tries to represent serious values and moral issues, such as love, trust, respect, forgiveness, sacrifice, and selflessness. It also deals with grief, drug use, hasty sex, child abuse and abandonment. But the writing is elongated, repetitive, over-explained. An example:
A cold wind swept across the patio, causing me to shiver. Noah shrugged off his black leather jacket and tossed it around my shoulders. “How are you going to tutor me if you get fucking pneumonia?”
I cocked an eyebrow. What an odd combination of romantic gesture and horribly crude wording.
The last sentence is supposed to be written by reviewers after reading it and noticing that contrast between inner kindness and behavior presented outwards. Not by the author. I would prefer being let to have the pleasure to enjoy the writing without being said what I should think. Is this didactic writing really necessary for younger readers to understand the message of the story?
Both the main characters and the secondary characters are likeable. Echo and Noah both had serious traumas, and I really felt for them.
Echo’s character develops nicely throughout the story. At the beginning her behavior is very self-oriented, her fear of gossip is exaggerated. But her attitude changes by the end of the story. She is able to forgive her father and Ashley, but she easily oversteps the love she feels for her mother. The main part of the story is about that how Echo loves her mother, misses her mother, adores her mother, etc. And after only a short conversation, Echo determines that her mother doesn’t deserve her love any more.
Noah’s character is the typical bad boy: sweet, charming, but clichéd, using over-the-top annoying endearments for Echo (baby, siren, etc.).
“One month before school lets out—she disappears.” Beth’s eyes widened and she spread her fingers out like a magician doing a trick.
Isaiah nodded. “Poof.”
“Gone,” added Beth.
“Vanished,” said Isaiah.
“Gone,” repeated Beth. Her eyes glazed over and she stared down at her toes.
“Beth,” I prodded.
She blinked. “What?”
“The story.” This was the problem with hanging out with stoners. “Echo. Continue.”
“Oh, yeah, so she disappeared,” said Beth.
“Poof,” added Isaiah.
Not this again. “I got it. Moving along.”
Noah has great moments of course, but a very important thing is missing: what about his guilt about his parents’ death? Is it evaporated? Vanished? Gone? Poof?
All in all, it is definitely not for me – of course I’m not the target audience – but I can imagine it could be an enjoyable book for YA readers.
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