Rob, a once super popular lacrosse player, has fallen from grace but not on account of his own actions. His father, the local financial planner, was caught red-handed swindling from clients and everyone suspects that Rob knew. He did work as an intern at his father’s office but swears he had no clue what was happening.
As everything begins to be taken from his family, his father attempts suicide, leaving him in a state where he requires 24-hour care. Now a social pariah, Rob finds himself at rock bottom.
Maegan, a classic overachiever, has been living in her older sister’s shadow for years. Feeling pressured to succeed, Maegan cheats while sitting for her SAT causing consequences for everyone in the room.
Branded a cheater, Maegan sees her social standing slump as well. She now keeps her head down and just tries to make it though each day without too much embarrassment.
When they are matched together for a calculus project, neither Rob nor Maegan are happy about it. Begrudgingly, they begin to meet up to start their project and pretty quickly learn that you cannot always believe what you hear about people.
They begin to confide in one another and discover they have more in common than they ever could have guessed.
Nobody writes teenage angst quite like Brigid Kemmerer. She puts her characters through hell but the growth they are able to achieve is truly a beautiful thing.
Rob and Maegan’s relationship has its complications but it is also sweet, kind and pure. The writing is smooth and highly readable. The friendships were so well done. Rob and Owen. So many feelings.
There are a lot of hard-hitting topics included in this too. So much. The thing that I found most moving was the idea of learning to forgive yourself; of not letting one mistake define who you are. I think a lot of us should be reminded of that. Be kind to yourself. We are all human, we all make mistakes and it is okay to let go of that and move forward.
There was also a strong narrative between Maegan and her sister. As with many sisters, they certainly were not lacking in the drama department. I did like how much their relationship evolved over the course of the story and how they learned to see one another as they are, not how they imagine each other to be.
Overall, I felt this book has a lot to offer and is quite moving. I would definitely recommend it to readers looking for a hard-hitting contemporary. Kemmerer is an autobuy author for me and yet again, she did not disappoint! Well done.