Almost sixteen-year-old Aria Jones is starting over. New postal code, new last name, new rules. But she doesn’t mind, because it means she can leave her painful regrets behind. In the bustling town of Eastmonte, she can become someone else. Someone better.
With the Hartford family living next door, it seems she will succeed. Sure, Cassie Hartford may be the epitome of social awkwardness thanks to her autism, but she also offers an innocent and sincere friendship that Aria learns to appreciate. And Cassie’s older brother, Emmett—a popular Junior A hockey player with a bright future—well … Aria wishes that friendship could lead to something more. If he didn’t already have a girlfriend, maybe it would.
But Aria soon finds herself in a dicey moral predicament that could derail her attempt at a fresh start. It is her loyalty to Cassie and her growing crush on Emmett that leads her to make a risky move, one that earns her a vindictive enemy who is determined to splinter her happy new world.
To say this book left an impression is an understatement. This is a YA book with a sweet, clean romance and explored the dynamics of friendships, social media and bullying in high school. The writing was flawless and the message was so simple yet powerful.
K.A Tucker did such a marvelous job of writing about teenagers who displayed age appropriate behaviour in such a way that was neither childish or annoying. Aria’s story was a glimpse into the vicious world that teenagers experience everyday by just going to school. Her story was so current and relevant. The complexity of social hierarchy in high school, in real life and online, was eye opening and brutally honest in this book.
I’m such a fan of young love and this romance was done perfectly. Aria is the new girl in town and Emmett is the popular hockey star. She is seriously crushing on him but from afar because Emmett has a beautiful girlfriend. Circumstances change and watching these two navigate their newfound relationship was so cute and sweet. They have some sexy moments too but it’s very mild.
This review would not be complete without mentioning Cassie who is Emmet’s sister who has autism. She was such a fun character. Full of life and brough laughter to anyone around her. Aria establishes a friendship with Cassie that she never expected. Of course there are many people, especially high schoolers who find it difficult to accept anyone that’s different. The way Cassie was treated in this story was painful to read at times but we also get the heartwarming moments where we see how much Emmett and eventually Aria care for her.
What a thought provoking novel! Everything is not as it seems and everything is not black and white. The story really exposes the truth that people are both good and bad. We all make mistakes but the message of hope and redemption for everyone rings loud and clear in this book. I highly recommend this absolutely beautiful story!
Heat Level: Very Mild
*ARC generously provided in exchange for an honest review
ABOUT K.A. TUCKER
K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.
She is the USA Today bestselling author of 17 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild.
Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher’s Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.