This review also appears on the Fictionators
I've been trying to figure out what I wanted to say about this book for a few days because nothing I say is going to be enough. So I guess I'll start at the beginning.
The past several books that I read before this one (with maybe one exception) were filled with flounceworthy, awful ridiculousness and to be honest, when I looked at the cover for this
book, I didn't want to read it. It's ugly, right? I thought it was going to be just another
poorly written, unedited book trying to grab onto the new adult wave with little regard to plausibility and good sense. I even seriously considered contacting the tour host and telling her that I changed my mind.
Thank Rob I didn't do that.
Because, Fictionees, this book is amazing
High school senior Maise is beating back end-of-summer boredom and temporarily escaping her crummy life when she checks out the carnival that's in town. She doesn't mind when the super hot guy who's noticeably older than she is slides into the seat of the rollercoaster next to her. After some flirting, her lying to him about her age (she says she's 21), and a couple more rides at the fair, the pair head out to his car.
The Guy pushed himself up on his elbows, panting. "Wait."
Then I was me again, hair sticking to my face, flushed. "What?"
He closed his eyes. I could tell breathing was a conscious effort on his part. He lowered his face, grazed my cheek with his sandpapered one. "I want you," he whispered into my hair, and a million filaments of electricity raced across my scalp. "But I want to know you. I don't just want a hookup."
Guise, if you buy this book for nothing else, buy it for the lemon that happens in the front seat of Evan's car. It's worth the three bucks just for that. Even if there. is. so. much. more to this story.
And I'm not just talking about the lemons, though they were so,soooooo
You know what happens, right? A few days later, Maise strolls into her class and discovers that The Guy (Evan) is none other than Mr. Wilke, her new film teacher. And that's how he finds out that she lied about her age. Evan tells her he'll quit, or that she can transfer out of his class, both of which are not options to her.
"You won't break me," I said, my voice low. "I'm not a doll. I'm not fragile. And you can't possibly screw up my life any more than it is."
That furrowed look, the mournful angel observing human tragedy. "It's not just about damage control. It should be more than that."
"Then give me more," I said.
Along the way, Maise befriends Wesley, another film-making aficionado, and finds out that life is more complicated than even she realized. This is a coming-of-age tale in its purest form, and there are twists and turns and mysteries and angst and happiness and heartbreak and just...all of the things.
One of the things that I loved the most about this book was the writing. Raeder has a unique writing style that brought even more dimension to this book. Maise thinks about life as if it were (or would be) a film and that experience comes through to the reader in cinematic perfection.
I'd done nothing but fuck him all day and wanted to do nothing else for the rest of this week. Month. Life. When he drove away I took a picture of the receding tail lights, and after his car was gone I stood there holding the photo up to the street, pretending. What is this feeling? I wondered. What is this hunger that grows worse the more I feed it?
They'd come up with a name for it a long time ago. But you already know what it's called, don't you?
Another thing that I love is the swoon.
"I keep pretending I'm okay, looking at you in class and playing Mr. Good Teacher, when all I want to do is take you in my arms. And I wanted you to know that even though we have to do this, the hiding and pretending, there's not a moment that goes by when I'm not thinking of you, wishing it was different."
The characters were real and though there were definitely
twists and turns that I didn't see coming, they all fit within this story and this world perfectly. I love that Maise and Evan have this forbidden relationship and they recognize that it's not all puppies and rainbows to be in the situation that they're in. I loved Wesley, and even though he does some things that I don't love, I kind of love him even more for doing them. Also, the ending? Perfect ending is perfect. I can't believe this wasn't published by a major publisher, and I'm sure that it will be before long. Regardless of what happens, Leah Raeder is without a doubt an author that I will be stalking following closely. I know I keep flailing about this, but trust me, Fictionees, I'm barely skimming the surface of the awesomeness of this story. I know this isn't the type of story for everyone, but really. You don't want to miss this one.