Written by Mindy McGinnis
Expected Publication: September 2016 by Katherine Tegen
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.
While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.
But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.
So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.
Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.
I just finished this book and I had to run to my computer to start typing up this review even though it’s almost 1 in the morning. My heart is still pounding from the ending. It was so emotional, so perfect and terrible all at the same time. I said “Oh my God” out loud at least a few times.
I really loved this book. I try not to read the backs of books until after I finish because I’ve had a few instances where they gave too much away and took away from my experience. I had no idea what this book was about when I started except for the title. At first I thought it was about a girl dealing with the death of her sister, but it was so much more than that.
For me, the book really picked up around 50 pages in and there were at least a couple nights where I stayed up very late because I couldn’t put it down. These characters were so alive. They were all so unique and interesting, and even though they were flawed (some of them very very very flawed), I wanted to know them. Perhaps because they were so flawed.
I enjoyed how logical, smart, calculating, and mature Alex was. The unique way she saw the world and the way that she talked like a book. I loved the romance between Alex and Jack. It was so real, so believable, and so deep.
I loved the friendship between Alex and Peekay. It was so touching how they bonded while volunteering at the the animal shelter, and how loyal they were to each other despite the short length of their relationship. An unlikely friendship but a true one that’s very rare in the world unfortunately. They connected on so many levels and I love that the reader experienced it from the beginning. I loved that Alex called Peekay (nicknamed so because she was the Preacher’s Kid, PK, or Peekay) by her real name, Claire, and was the only one to do so.
Ah, I just love all the characters so much. Even Branley, who’s supposed to be the (sort-of) villain. Mindy brings her to life and shows us all sides of her, shows us why she is the way that she is and makes her so sympathetic and likeable despite everything.
The writing was beautiful. Mindy’s voice is very unique. Her word choices, metaphors, and turns of phrases were lyrical, especially how she described emotion. I could feel everything the characters were feeling, which is partly why I liked them all so much, which is something I’m still marveling at because they’re so flawed and real, yet I liked them so much.
The multiple POV was used brilliantly. We saw each of the main characters through the others’ eyes, which gave them an added dimension (for example, we know things about a particular character, and then when the POV shifts, we’re reminded that the other main character doesn’t actually know all the things we know).
I’m trying to go back to the beginning to review the whole book, but I can’t stop thinking about the end. So much happened, so many things that were shocking and terrible but somehow it all made sense. It wrapped up so beautifully. All the characters’ reactions were exactly what they needed to be. All their epiphanies were exactly what I wanted to hear, but I didn’t even know it yet.
This was a fast-paced read. I enjoyed that most of the chapters were short. It kept me flipping the pages.
All I want to do is talk about the ending, but I can’t say much more because I don’t want to give anything away.
Long-story short: This well-crafted story—both in plot and character—will make you feel every emotion possible, and will leave you satisfied yet gasping for breath at the end. I can’t stop thinking about it. And the writing is lovely along the way. I highly recommend it!