on January 24th, 2017
A YA debut about a teen girl who wrestles with rumors, reputation, and her relationships with two brothers.
Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt…and his slacker brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt’s bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing. But Raychel doesn't want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family’s eviction, and the dream of college slipping quickly out of reach. Matt tries to help, but he doesn’t really get it… and he’d never understand why she’s fallen into a secret relationship with his brother. The friendships are a precarious balance, and when tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Raychel has to decide which pieces she can pick up – and which ones are worth putting back together.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book but I knew that I wanted to read it. It looked like something I’d like, but I was also really nervous about it. I wanted this debut to be amazing and while it wasn’t amazing, it was really good. It did take me a little while to get into it, but I don’t think that was because of the book, but because I can’t really get into physical books right now.
Raychel was the kind of character that I love. She’s complicated, she’s real and I think so many girls can really relate to her. Not just with the boy troubles, but also with her family situation. Her mom is a single mom and they are just barely making it in the world financially speaking. So many teens can relate to that. So many teens can see themselves in Raychel.
With Matt & Andrew, I felt like I got to know Andrew a lot more than Matt which I found kind of strange. Especially since Matt had his own POV in the book. I wanted to get more from Matt and I was really disappointed that I didn’t get that. I found myself really enamored with Andrew and Matt really didn’t do much for me.
I was sure we were in for a love triangle, which I am not a huge fan of, but that wasn’t a part of this book at all. Matt is Raychel’s best friend as well as Andrew’s brother. Raychel is having sex with both them, but only feels something romantic for one of them. And that’s not even talking about Carson the boy who assaulted her once before and does it once again in the middle of the book.
As important as Raychel’s home life & her feeling about Matt & Andrew are to the story, It was the messages about consent that stuck with me. Consent has always been a big deal, but seeing it in YA books is something I am hugely passionate about.
“Is this okay?”
I am so excited to see explicit consent in this book. I think more YA authors need to tackle this. I LOVE that a debut author tackled it. Especially given the fact that Raychel WAS assaulted, not once, but twice. What book my heart was that she was so afraid to call it what it was-assault. She just didn’t see it like that simply because they had been intimate before. And that just isn’t true. Bottom line: Carson forced her to do something she didn’t want to. TWICE.
Final thought: Read this book if you’re a fan of complex characters & important messages.
After studying Spanish and history at a small liberal arts school, Kate Hart taught young people their ABCs, wrote grants for grownups with disabilities, and now builds treehouses for people of all ages. Her debut YA novel, AFTER THE FALL, is coming January 2017 from FSG. She also contributes to YA Highway, hosts the Badass Ladies You Should Know series, and will soon sell inappropriate handicrafts at The Badasserie.
Kate is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, and owns a treehouse-building business in northwest Arkansas, where she resides with her family.
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