When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole -- a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her -- she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate . . . someone who truly loves and understands her.
At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats.
As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose -- between her "true love" and herself. (From Goodreads)
Best Bits: Once again Jennifer Brown has written a gut-wrenching story about teens. I'd say that it's pretty accurate in terms of what an abusive relationship can be like. It certainly wasn't easy to read. It's not easy to see a character going through an abusive relationship when all you want to do is point out everything that the abuser is doing to hurt them. I don't think that this topic is often talked about with teens (or even in adults). Education about the cycle of violence is extremely important. I don't want to seem preachy here, but consider the fact that one in four women in the United States will experience domestic violence at some point in her life. That's not an acceptable statistic to me. The more education about the problem, the more work we can do to end it.
Nit Picks: I don't really have any for this one. I was so involved in the story that I honestly didn't notice any major flaws. I know that some people have mentioned that the plot is a bit predictable. I can see where they're coming from, you do know what's going to happen to Alex from the start. I don't think that detracts from the story, however. It just filled me with an impending sense of dread. I know that a couple other reviews mentioned that they were unhappy about Alex's friends. Again, I understand what they meant...but Cole was trying to isolate her. As a teen you're not really well-equipped to handle something like your best friend being abused. I'm not sure that all teens would know what to do in that situation. So, I thought that reactions of Bethany and Zack to Cole were well-written.
By Jennifer Brown
Published by Little, Brown