Oh, how I miss high school when I read a book like this one! The careless summers, the hopeless crushes, the bickering with the ‘parentals’, the gossiping with friends, the lack of perspective… When pick-up lines were lame and they still worked. If only life could have stayed that way!
This is a nice little story of two teenagers from very different walks of life whose paths suddenly cross and nothing is the same after that for either of them. While Lucy has big dreams for her future and a tenacious will to match those dreams, Jude is someone whom people usually write off as a lost cause. – “Jude Ryder wasn’t only trouble, he was trouble with a side of danger and a dessert of heartache.”
But while Lucy’s life might seem OK on the surface, appearances can be deceiving more often than not. Her family has survived a horrific personal tragedy that has changed the family dynamic irrevocably. Each one of them has learned to deal with their pain differently. Her father has ‘checked out’ from reality by filing his days with predictable routines and showing little emotion towards anything. Lucy’s mother fills her days with work and expresses her pain through anger and resentment. Lucy, on the other hand, while carrying a very heavy burden of guilt and sadness with her, has not lost all hope in the world. She mourns for the past and the happy family she once had but she also hopes that the future would be brighter. And that is why she lets someone like Jude into her heart.
Apart from the initial physical attraction between the two of them, I believe Lucy fell for the man Jude could be, not the one everyone, including Jude, thought he was and always would be. She never accepted that his future was written in stone simply based on his dark past – she wanted him to see that anything can happen and that he was the only one who could make things happen. She saw the spark in him that people usually brushed off, she saw how desperate he was to break away from this pre-determined path that people expected him to follow which would have inevitably led to prison or worse. Lucy never pitied Jude, she never allowed herself to cry whenever she found out some heart-wrenching detail from his past because she knew he did not need her to feel sadness for him. He needed someone to feel hope for him as he himself never did. She made him want to change and become the person he so desperately pretended not to be.
“I don’t need to believe where I’ve been is where I’m headed. And I don’t need to believe that one tragedy can shape the future … Only I can do that.”
It was hard not to feel sad for Jude and the cards he was dealt in life but this book is about not lingering on the past and things one can’t change, but rather living life in the moment and filling one’s future with hope.
“Don’t live life hiding behind your past, live for right now.”
Some very serious topics were addressed in this story – death, abuse, rape, depression, guilt, resentment – but I felt they were not really dealt with properly but rather skimmed over like pebbles bouncing off water. Even when characters were ‘dealing’ with issues, I felt it was a bit forced, rushed and with not much depth. However, I think this was quite appropriate for the YA genre of the book. It felt a bit like watching 90210 (am I showing my age here…?) but it was still a very fun and can’t-put-it-down-able read.