Hannah Cohen has always lived her life by a set of carefully constructed rules to maintain her family's image of perfection. But now, the rules aren't helping control the chaos that is quickly taking over. Her father's gone into rehab for a prescription drug addiction and her mother's grown even more cold with her 'social' drinking. She opts out to spending the summer in
Paris with her mom, and
instead heads to the mountains of to stay with her estranged aunt. The North
Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains provide a safe haven where her
secrets can be forgotten. Then Hannah crosses paths with a new set of friends,
including Jude Westmore, and she finds herself breaking out of the comfort of
her rules and doing things she had never dared before. As the summer passes,
Hannah and Jude grow closer and make up their own rules for dealing with life. But
then the reality Hannah has tried to forget rears back, and she has to choose
between following the same lonely road she'd grown used to and what she really
wants for herself.
I don't read a lot of young adult, even young adult romance, but something about this premise drew me. I'm glad I chose it. This had a smooth, polished heroine on the surface, but underneath she was a white, hot mess. The hero was tortured, having forgotten his own dreams after tragedy. Watching these two come together was sweet and satisfying. The array of secondary characters were needed adds and had me wanting to do everything from spit nails to hug them. That's proof the author knows how to get the reader invested. She also understands the age group and target audience to create uncertainty, interest, and relatability. The setting was well-crafted and the conflict strong. Most impressive was the evolvement of all the characters involved, leading to a realistic and fulfilling conclusion.