This was such an intense novel and I think, by far, one of the best contemporary ya’s I’ve ever read.
“To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.
Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.
As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.
West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…”
My thoughts on the book:
I started reading this book at night on a weekday and stayed up late to finish it. It was one of those very thought out books with so many emotions that you didn’t feel the lack of action.
Maggie is one of the protagonists and she’s seen her father kill her mother. To cope, to protect herself, Maggie stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken in two years until she meets West. Cruel, burdened West with the face of an angel may possibly be the only one who can break Maggie’s shell and not break her with it too.
West Ashby’s father is struggling with cancer of the incurable kind and he’s afraid to lose his hero. West has become unfeeling, cold and pretty much an asshole to everyone who’s ever loved him. Until he meets Maggie, the girl who refuses to speak but kisses like she’s parched and you’re a tall glass of water. Maggie knows what’s it’s like to lose. And maybe, just maybe she can make him feel joy again? Make him smile for real again?
Let’s first talk about how, if Maggie and West both were not hot then they would have never have met. Towards the start of the story, the only reason Maggie grasps West’s attention is because she’s breathtaking beautiful and refuses to speak. And the only reason Maggie let’s West kiss her is because he’s hot af and very overpowering.
But the relationship goes on to develop into a sort of crutch system where honestly, it’s just West needing, wanting, taking Maggie.
The basic notion of their relationship started out with a friendship. Two people bonding over grief and it was very beautiful and serene, for a while at least. After a while, these two people start having feelings for one another, which is perfectly acceptable. They then start to realise that this person, who was once only their friend helping them with their grief is now more than a crutch. The overall start of this book was very pulling and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
When Maggie and West finally accept their feelings for each other with extreme joy and self satisfaction, that’s when things go down.
West becomes very, very possessive.
This boy is in his final year of school, he’s playing football, writing applications for college and has just lost his father. He doesn’t want to lose Maggie too which is understandable but cannot be used as an excuse to what he’s doing.
The author made him this way on purpose which you realise, to show the extremity of his insecurities and his grief or to just show how an unhealthy relationship can begin with the utmost love. West’s character was so intense that I stopped sometimes, to just comprehend his line of thought.
Now, West gets very possessive. And the good thing about it is that Maggie realises that, she realises that he’s being too insecure and this is not how their relationship is supposed to be like. They fell in love so fast that there was no time to like.
So she breaks it off.
Now until here I was greatly appreciating the existence of this book and thought I’d finally found a ya contemporary that I could show off to my strictly fantasy reading buddies.
But then Maggie takes him back.
Why? Because she believes he can change himself, she believes he will.
See now, Maggie has her fair share of insecurities though, too. She thinks West is only using her as a crutch as he did to those other girls who came before her. She thinks once he’s emotionally over his father, he’ll dump her and she wouldn’t know what to do. But scared as she is she dumps him because he was being too overpowering, not because she felt he was using her.
And then, she takes him back because he tells her how much he loves her using spectacular wordplay
Let’s all take a minute and take this in. This is how 70% of abusive relationships start! One of them goes whoops with the SO goes it’s okay. The person goes a little more than whoops and this time the SO gets angry, but the person gives an apology and everything’s okay. After that the person makes a huge, massive, whoops but either the SO is afraid, too much in love that they’re blind or simply wonderfully forgiving.
I understand you don’t leave someone if they make a mistake, once or twice or even thrice. I’m just saying that maybe some policies should be laced down after the third/fourth/fifth time. You can see in the story, that even the relationship between Maggie’s mother and her father was abusive. Her father verbally and sometimes even physically abused her mother multiple times until he just shot her. So she knows what she’s doing but forgiving West in less than a day was…
It’s not the SO’s fault, no matter what someone says.
I really enjoyed the book until the very end. I enjoyed it so much that I don’t want to read the next two because I’m afraid they’ll ruin it for me like the ending of this one did, and I’m not sure I can take so much pain.
Maggie and West get together in the end and I wanted to slap the absolute shit out of everyone.
Very, very disappointing.
God, this was long. Well I hope you enjoyed this sad, informative review.