- Almost-opening line: "She's lying, and he knows it."
- Reason I picked up the book: The synopsis sounded intriguing.
- And that would be? Are there any answers when someone you love makes a tragic choice?
- Before and After. That’s how Rowan Areno sees her life now. Before: she was a normal sixteen-year-old—a little too sheltered by her police officer father and her mother. After: everything she once believed has been destroyed in the wake of a shattering tragedy, and every day is there to be survived.
- If she had known, on that Friday in March when she cut school, that a random stranger’s shocking crime would have traumatic consequences, she never would have left campus. If the crime video never went viral, maybe she could have saved her mother, grandmother — and herself — from the endless replay of heartache and grief.
- Finding a soul mate in Eli, a witness to the crime who is haunted by losses of his own, Rowan begins to see there is no simple, straightforward path to healing wounded hearts. Can she learn to trust, hope, and believe in happiness again?
- Favorite paragraph:
"Oh yeah," he murmurs, his gaze searching my face. "She is gonna beat his ass for a week once she gets a look at you." He releases my hand, fingers lingering, and ambles back a few steps. "So would you have gone? To the prom with me, I mean?"
"As a friend?" I tease, sauntering after him.
"Hell no," he says, flicking back his hair and giving me a slow, dangerous, pirate smile.
Oh God, my heart. "Well, what do you think?" It comes out husky, almost a whisper.
He studies my face a moment and his smile widens. "I think I should have asked."
The warning bell rings and the moment is over but the glow lasts all day.
- Recommended for: fans of romances, YA (Young Adult) books, people overcoming sad situations books.
- Something to know: You will need Kleenex for this book. I was reading it on a plane and luckily my seatmate (someone I wasn't traveling with) was asleep, because my eyes were tearing up. The plot takes an abrupt turn in the middle that changes the novel entirely.
- What I would have changed: I would have developed Eli, the male romantic lead, a bit more. We do learn some of his history but there's a lot we don't know about him. I kept picturing him as looking like Avan Jogia (TV's Twisted), though, as Eli has a ponytail in the book.
- Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars.