Publishers Weekly Review
High school seniors Raychel and Matt have been best friends forever, and any day now, Matt is going to tell her that he loves her. But while he's dawdling, his younger brother, Andrew-the designated screw-up to Matt's responsible A student-makes his move. In addition to the questions of brotherly rivalry, secrecy, and family dynamics introduced by this turn of events, Raychel is also struggling with a nonconsensual sexual encounter and worrying about her future, since there's no money for college. Hart's debut novel has a lot going for it-well-defined and believable major and minor characters, in particular-as well as a lot going on. The book takes up consent, slut shaming, issues of class and (to a lesser extent) race, unrequited love, and competition between siblings-and then adds a tragic accident and the resulting guilt and fractures. Although it can feel overloaded as a result, Hart holds it all together and closes with an ending that retains a measure of hope without becoming unrealistically perfect. Ages 14-up. Agent: Adriann Ranta, Foundry Literary + Media. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Seventeen-year-old Raychel describes herself as "poor white trash from the Delta," while her best friend, Matt, is the son of a physician and a university professor. They've been friends for so long that Raychel is an unofficial member of Matt's family. Matt has a secret crush on Raychel, but he doesn't act on it, because Raychel has a strict policy of not dating high school boys. So he's surprised when he hears a rumor that Raychel has "hooked up" with Carson Tipton, star of the school baseball team. Matt knows that Raychel often drinks too much at parties, but he's shocked that she'd break her own rule with Carson, of all people. Raychel was chatting with Carson at a local frat party, and when he asked her to continue their conversation outside while he had a smoke, she agreed. But does that mean that she agreed to perform fellatio on him? She feels confused and guilty and is unable to talk with Matt about her experience. At first, this title seems like a well-written examination of the definitions of assault and consent. But as a relationship blossoms between Raychel and Matt's brother, Andrew, questions about communication and honesty emerge even more strongly, and after a family tragedy, grief and guilt are also brought into the mix. Those are some pretty heavy themes for one book to explore, but Hart does a good job of handling her ambitious plot. VERDICT Like Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and Courtney Summers's All the Rage, this is an important novel for teens and adults to discuss together.-Marlyn Beebe, Long Beach Public Library, CA © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Matt is always there for Raychel. He's the kind of best friend who carries her on his back for three miles after she twists her ankle. But Matt only sees the parts of Raychel that he wants to see, unlike Matt's brother, Andrew. Fun-loving Andrew is the perfect counterpart to responsible Matt, and when sparks of attraction fly between Raychel and Andrew, Raychel instinctively tries to hide them from Matt. This choice, along with Matt's inability to see the truth, leads to a terrible tragedy, and Raychel and Matt have to learn how to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on while making healthier choices. Hart's poignant debut novel unfolds slowly, alternating between Raychel and Matt's points of view, which allows readers to experience their respective emotional journeys. Thought-provoking moments regarding such issues as female sexuality, racial microaggressions, and class differences add depth to the characters. Recommend to fans of character-driven novels such as Sara Zarr's How to Save a Life (2011) or Jennifer Niven's All the Bright Places (2015).--Colson, Diane Copyright 2016 Booklist