Okay, so, this book is really hard to rate, especially when I felt like I was reading two books. So, what I'm going to do now is that I'm going to spill this book in two parts - the present and the past, as the book was going back and forth between those two. I will find it much easier to review like this so here it goes.
Rating: 2/5 stars
I didn't enjoy the present part of this story much. Some things were way too rushed, it was lacking a real emotion, and some things were just so different than the others that I've felt as if I was reading two books at once (this is only the present and if you count the past, too, it is actually three books). The first chapter has nothing to with the rest of a book - writing wise. When I started reading, I've felt like I was reading some angst-y teenage diary, with slut-shaming and everything else that some teenager can think of writing (I'm still a teenager, I would know). You could probably imagine my reaction. Now, we have the rest of a story and it's a completely different story. It is like some other person has written the rest. I don't get it. We have girls in tight skirts and acting really bitchy and we have drinking and drugs and, can you imagine - MC (or Andy) didn't shame any of them. In fact, she becomes best friends with slutty girl and she participates in other activities. My surprise was bigger than the Eiffel Tower.
Andy is like completely different girl. She is sweet, she helps the others, she is fragile and, guess what, she's not perfect. She doesn't act like she is superior over the others. She doesn't let her friends down. She's not a bitch. So, in conclusion, the first chapter is very misleading. And it seriously needs to be changed.
Although, I wish the rest of the story was going the way the first part did. We have Andy in group home, Haywood House, and we follow her life there a bit. We get to see how's the girls' live there, how they act and how they function. They are very close-knit and they all keep together. Then the new girl comes and she is different. She doesn't want to hang out with anybody, she thinks she is better than anybody else and she doesn't want to be accepted because she thinks she is going to get out of there soon. After one event though, she breaks down and becomes best friends with Andy.
This character's development, Trina's, is amazing. We see her like someone who's pissed at the world, angry and sad, and we see her grow in this happy person who hopes for her happy ending and we see her fall again. If you ask me, she is much more developed than a main character and I would have liked if she took that role because she is more interesting and more complicated than Andy. I found myself enjoying her. She has grown onto me throughout the book, even more than Andy, and I really wished I could have read her story and only hers.
Unfortunately, after Andy leaves a group home, plot starts to go downfall. So many events happen in a short amount of time, we have a love interest that doesn't make much sense, surplus events and an ending I didn't like at all.
Let me get to the love interest. There is not development going on in the area at all. A guy almost hits Andy with a car and soon after, they are dating. What? Seriously, it all left me so damn confused. He gives her a ride home the day he almost hit her and soon they are hanging out, talking and kissing. It is almost described that way. They love each other two chapters (of a present) after and moving together also two chapters after.
This story could have gone easy without a romance. It had a good plot, good idea and it would have been so much better if the love interest wasn't involved in the story at all. It only made me more annoyed and make this book more unbearable.
Luckily, the next part saved it.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
The past is so, so much better than the present part of this story. It has the emotions the other part was lacking of, Andy is much more developed as a character (though that I can transcribe to the course of the years this was happening) and it deals with a lot of heavy subjects. It is more slow-paced than the present and I have found myself waiting for the past to kick off again.
First off, I enjoyed the narration more. It is not much different but I guess the emotions and the naiveness of a main character gave something special to it. We follow Andy through the course of the years she has spent before coming to Haywood House. This part deals heavily with abuse, alcoholism, cutting and rape. It is hard to get through sometimes and there is a lot of to take in, in a small amount of time. Although some parts weren't near perfect, it was better than the present.
Andy, or Beatrice, is this small, naive but happy child that suffers from abuse from her mother. Her mother is a drunk and she is never satisfied with her. Andy's only escape is school where she gets to spend time with her favourite teacher she soon starts to think of as a mother. Soon though, her teacher notices there is something wrong with her and a social worker is called. Andy confesses everything and she is taken away from her abusive mother.
She is put in a foster home with people that literally give her everything she wants and needs. They were going to adopt her but something happens and she is put in another foster home. There are two other kids already who introduce her with alcohol and drugs.
There, she also meets a guy named Marcus. He is a lot older than her and soon, she replaces a simple crush with love. She becomes naive and believes him blindly. She doesn't trust anyone who tells her he is not right for her, even if something weird is definitely happening.
You don't find this in YA literature often. More times than not, this kind of situation would be a main love story. No matter that a guy is creepy. No matter that a girl clearly doesn't want to have sex. No matter that there surely is some funny business going on. It is all fine if he is hot. Finally, we have a realistic situation. We have rape that is taken as rape, not as something that the main character 'wanted' after awhile. Instead, we have her leaving everything and being homeless. We have her finding release in cutting and making herself worse. It is realistic. It is something that meeds to be handled in YA literature more. Because young girls need to know that it's not okay if a guy pushes you onto the couch and you don't have any way to escape so it is okay because he is hot and you are fragile. Only for this alone, I could easily give this book 5 stars and trust me, if only past was in this book, with just a little more development, it could have easily ended up being that way.
Don't let me fool you, the writing isn't anything special. But some parts of the plot and characters made me look past it. It isn't bad, it isn't perfect, grammar still needs work but I enjoyed this book. I would be lying if I said differently.
All in all, I liked the past more. It would work better if we only had it involved, along with some parts of a present. Love interest was unnecessary and some parts were too rushed. But it was still better than the most YA books these days so there is that too.