**I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review**
SYNOPSIS: Hank Kirby’s plan to ask the most popular girl in school to prom goes horribly wrong when he accidentally sets the tree in her front yard on fire. The only witness is Peyton, the strange girl that nobody talks to. Their mutual secret sparks an interesting and unique relationship that blossoms into something so much more.
Contemporary YA novels are either the most enjoyable thing that I have ever read or the most annoying thing that I have ever read, luckily I found this story to be enjoyable. I’m not going to lie, at first I thought that Peyton was going to be some Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but her issues were actually fleshed-out and well-defined. I liked that she had issues that stemmed from real problems and that she wasn’t magically better at the end of the book. She was in a better place, but there was still work to do. The same can be said for Hank. He ends up in a better place at the end, but still has some ways to go. I liked that Hank and Peyton’s problems felt real. It helped that both occasionally backslide into the people that they were at the beginning of the novel, but had each other to pull them back up again. I also liked how both of their home lives weren’t the best. Usually in YA contemporaries with a “strange” person in the relationship, the less strange one has the perfect home life that they bring the other one into, and that wasn’t the case. They were both in equal footing in terms of home life and the only thing that changed was that Hank’s took a step in a good direction. I also really liked that Hank’s dad’s girlfriend was a stripper and when she decides to stop stripping it isn’t because Hank’s dad asked her to, but because she wanted to. I think often times in the story line of a stripper, she ends up quitting for a man and I really liked that she quit for herself. She had dreams that she wanted to come true and she took the steps to get herself to that place. Also there were moments when Hank was a total teenage boy and not the perfectly sweet teenage boy that you come to expect in a YA novel and while I love those perfectly sweet teenage boys it was fun to see a real one for a change. There were times that I felt things were glossed over, like I wanted Hank’s guilt to be dealt with a little more and I wanted Peyton’s issues to be talked about just a tad more, but I think both of them were authentic and didn’t feel like drawn up people to push different problems and anxieties on to make them seem relatable to teens.
Thanks Sourcebooks Fire for letting me read this book! Buy your copy here.