I love it when a book packs the kind of emotional wallop that leaves me sitting in my chair well after I’m done, stunned into speechlessness. When that book is only about 150 pages long, I consider that amazing. A quick word of warning–this is a young adult novel, and it’s not an easy story to read, so people expecting a traditional HEA will be disappointed, but if that doesn’t matter so much to you, this is definitely worth a try.
Casey Smith has moved all her life. It’s just something she and her dad have done so often it’s routine. She’s expecting this time not to be any different, but it appears that now she may be putting down roots. She’s even reluctantly made friends with Ethan, a cute guy in several of her classes. But then one day there’s a knock on her door and everything she thought she knew about her life changed.
It’s important in first-person books that the reader like the protagonist. I really liked Casey. She felt like an authentic teenager, struggling with wanting to grow up and yet not wanting things to change at all. I thought that the relationship she had with her dad was incredibly realistic, even though they didn’t always get along. I could tell that she loved him, despite his foibles. And I liked that she was tough and yet secretly vulnerable.
Ms. Reilly does a great job with the other characters. We see them through Casey’s eyes, but that doesn’t diminish them. Casey’s dad in particular fascinated me, because he’s the type of character that should have deeply repulsed me but didn’t. I could see why he loved Casey, and it’s still obvious he has a lot of maturing left to do.
The love story here is really sweet, too. I thought that it might overpower the coming of age bits, but it really just added to them. I especially liked that Casey and Ethan got to be friends before deciding they wanted to be more, and Casey doesn’t spend the book acting like a boy-crazy twit.
I can’t really talk about the plot without giving spoilers away, but I will say that it all worked for me. The ending is uncertain, with one chapter of Casey’s life coming to a close. It’s kind of bittersweet, because, at least for me, I knew that Casey was really in a better place than she was in the beginning, but I felt for her uncertainties and her sadness about what the future would bring. Some readers might not like that nothing is wrapped up in a tidy bow, but that actually felt more realistic to me and I don’t know how the book could have ended any differently.
This is one of those books I don’t imagine will have caught many people’s eye, but I definitely recommend it.
Home is where the heart is. Until the truth comes knocking.
Casey Smith and her dad move around a lot, so packing boxes, driving all night, and moving into a new apartment in a new town is nothing, well, new to her. While it’s weird that her dad is so restless, she’s never really minded before—after all, there’s nothing she can do about it.
But this time is different. This time they’ve moved to a place where she almost fits in. She’s even made some friends, including Ethan, a gorgeous guy who could turn out to be more than just a friend—if only she could be sure she’ll have time to really get to know him.
Just when her life is starting to have all kinds of possibilities, a knock comes on the door.
And everything Casey has ever known is turned upside down.
Read an excerpt.
You can read an excerpt here