Publishers Weekly Review
In this touching debut novel from Irish author Collins, British 16-year-old Emerald's problems with family and friends are exacerbated by the social media feeds she can't turn away from. Emerald's mother has just entered rehab for her addition to prescription drugs, and Emerald is sent to stay with her estranged grandmother on the Irish coast for the summer. There, she meets a kindhearted boy named Liam with family troubles of his own, and the two quickly fall for each other. Told in Emerald and Liam's alternating perspectives, this novel largely focuses on their various dates and other encounters, though Emerald's story drives the narrative and Collins expands the thread of her family worries to include her grandmother and father. Though the romance doesn't offer many surprises, Collins's voices and setting are vivid and fresh, the teens' relationship is engaging, and Liam is a particularly sensitive and devoted love interest. As Emerald watches her friends' lives go on without her online, her visceral sense of pain and loss (and FOMO, really) will resonate with many readers. Ages 14-up. Agent: Marianne Gunn O'Connor. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-As punishment for blowing the whistle on a bullying incident at school, Emerald Byrne is being ostracized by her popular clique, which in Instagram-land means wearing a 24/7 digital target on her back. This seems tragic, until Emerald comes home to find her mother unresponsive with an empty bottle of pills in her hands and real life comes crashing down. Suddenly, she finds herself sentenced to a summer at her grandmother's house in Ireland on a self-imposed exile from social media. An evening beach walk puts Emerald in the path of Liam Flynn, a local boy with family hardships and hidden dreams. As loves grows between these two teens from different worlds, the shared stresses of family responsibilities and the pressure of impending exam results creep in from every direction. Soon, Liam and Emerald must face the devastating facts of their families' shared histories and decide whether they can love one another without a rose-colored filter. Both a coming-of-age story and a romance, this novel weaves together issues of suicide, poverty, unrequited dreams, betrayal, and bullying into a narrative that might seem too ambitious, but is handled well by Collins. The end result is an unpretentious and enjoyable tale set against the unique backdrop of the Northern Irish coast. Readers may find the dialogue hard to follow at first, and there are several scenes of drinking and partying, but the quality of the writing makes it a justifiable addition. -VERDICT A good choice for most collections.-Sarah Lorraine, J. Sterling Morton High School, Cicero, IL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.