Customer Review

Reviewed in Australia on 6 October 2015
Abbi Glines has gone back to her YA roots with this one. This series opener introduces a new bunch of characters that look promising for stories to come. Be prepared for an emotional read in this first one.
After spending two unhappy years with her godmother, Maggie moves to Lawnton, Alabama to live with her uncle and aunt. Their son, Brady is the same age and the star quarterback of the high school football team. His circle of friends? The other guys on the team. Her Aunt Coralee has put Brady in charge of helping Maggie settle in at school and into his social circles.
Big problem. She doesn't speak, hasn't since undergoing the trauma of losing her mother. She needs a safe nurturing environment so she can start to heal. For the first time in a long time she feels that it might be possible, but being forced to attend field parties and football games is not helping.
She’s hiding out among the trees and parked cars at a field party when she spots West Ashby having a meltdown. He’s going through a rough time of his own, but doesn't like to let it show. He chooses to lose himself in a willing girl or several bottles of beer. He notices Maggie watching him lose his cool and tries to scare her away by coming on strong, but there is no scaring the girl who sees right through the façade and has been through unimaginable pain.
Maggie gives him what no one else can—understanding. She becomes his shoulder to lean on and in helping him she is able to find some peace of her own. But, is West becoming too dependent on her? When the pain fades, will he still want to be with her?
I was drawn in immediately. I feel like Glines has returned to her best with the Vincent Boys vibe. We didn't see as much of the trademark alpha in West’s character because he was suffering and because Maggie is able to step back and assert her independence. Hooray. Maggie and Brady were stand out characters for me. I loved the quick sibling-like bond they formed. Brady’s determination to protect her even when she's in her little Maggie/West bubble is commendable.
I normally wouldn't want to read about the jock squad and all their hangers on (most annoying character? Rayleigh. You’ll see what I mean) but, these guys have heart and stick together through the tough times. Looking forward to more from this crew.
There’s plenty of emotion and humanity packed in to this story.
I'm giving this one 4.5 flares because it made me cry.
*Review Copy generously provided by the publisher for review consideration.*
Cheers
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