Top positive review
I Read it 3 Times in 2020
Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2020
"One choice doesn’t determine your whole future."
I have read this book twice in two months. On both occasions I started it after my family had gone to bed, intending to read until I fell asleep. In both cases I finished at one o'clock in the morning, crying my eyes out and even more determined to write my own book. This book is the kind of story I want to write: messy, complicated, with the right amount of heart-string tugging and important conversations taking place.
This has easily become one of my favorite books of all time, and to think I only picked it up because it shares a title with a Taylor Swift song. The best things in life have a way of sneaking up and planting themselves in front of you, refusing to budge until you immerse yourself. This book is exactly that.
I would recommend going in with little knowledge of the plot. We follow two characters, both broken, both burdened with secrets that aren't even fully their own and unsure with whom to trust. They're drawn together in the usual YA fashion: forced group project. Instead of remaining just classmates, they become a refuge for each other. While there is a romance, the relationships in this story are more of an allyship than anything else.
"The good memories didn’t vanish just because there were bad ones in there, too. All those memories are a part of who I am. The good ones and the bad ones.”
I love the discussions in this book. It handles some pretty intense topics, ranging from classism to white privilege to abortion. The main theme of morality and what it means to be a good vs bad person is so well done, with both characters impacted by the experiences in different ways. What it means to be a parent. What it means to be an ally. The pacing and writing style is flawless, the humor and vulnerability balanced to perfection. The execution of this story is remarkable, and I don't think I will read many that tell stories like these in such a professional and sensitive way.
CW: attempted suicide, discussion of abortion