Almost sixteen-year-old Aria Jones is starting over. New postal code, new last name, new rules. But she doesn’t mind, because it means she can leave her painful regrets behind. In the bustling town of Eastmonte, she can become someone else. Someone better.
With the Hartford family living next door, it seems she will succeed. Sure, Cassie Hartford may be the epitome of social awkwardness thanks to her autism, but she also offers an innocent and sincere friendship that Aria learns to appreciate. And Cassie’s older brother, Emmett—a popular Junior A hockey player with a bright future—well … Aria wishes that friendship could lead to something more. If he didn’t already have a girlfriend, maybe it would.
But Aria soon finds herself in a dicey moral predicament that could derail her attempt at a fresh start. It is her loyalty to Cassie and her growing crush on Emmett that leads her to make a risky move, one that earns her a vindictive enemy who is determined to splinter her happy new world.
I had high expectations from K A Tucker’s next after I absolutely adored The Simple Wild.
Did I love this book as much as The Simple Wild? No.
Was it a good book anyway? Yes.
Why didn’t I love this book? Aria. She’s a real character. The way she is written is excellent. She’s a teenager and the author does so well to bring that to life! But her being a teenager is the reason I could not endear myself to her. I just couldn’t relate to her angst. And when the cause of her angst was revealed, I was even more conflicted. How can I elucidate my feelings towards her for most of the book? I don’t necessarily like her as a person but as a reader I absolutely love the character? Does that make sense? Nevertheless, at the end, she does something truly brave that earned my respect.
My favorite character of the book was Cassie. I want to read more about her. Would it be too much to ask for a separate book for her? I also liked Emmett. It’s rare to get a nice guy as a hero these days. Especially in books about high school. These guys are usually written as broody and intense. And that’s why I found him such a refreshing character! The romance felt very natural and uncomplicated. I was not as invested in it as I’d like to be but that’s fine because this story was not about the romance.
The story here is not fast-paced. It takes time to build up. There’s not many important things happening and it’s more character driven than anything. And I appreciate that. It felt very real. The themes of bullying, forgiveness and second chances explored here ring very close to reality. I think everyone should read this book!