My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a strong book for teen fiction – the main characters are well drawn, the situations they find themselves in are believable and the ending, although a happily every after is a wanted ending none the less.
Mallory and Rider are two kids who have lived through hell. This hell is told in flash back apart from a short prologue. Rider takes the role of protector and Mallory learns that it was in being silent that her survival relied upon. After years of misery they are saved but in doing so are separated. Four years later they find themselves going to the same high school where they are able to rekindle their relationship, for the good and the bad.
Mallory’s selective mutism well portrayed. Each and every word is painfully drawn out as she attempts to learn to live life normally. Over the course of the story we watch as Mallory learns to “use her words” in greater social situations. Rider appears to have endured his abuse with little to no issues. It is only as the story develops that the emotional scars are revealed piece by piece.
This books gives insight to the damage and subsequent recovery journey of two teenagers who fate has seemingly brought back together. It was refreshing to have a male character speak of his own virginity, which is often lacking in most contemporary literature, although the virginity is only a technicality by the end of the novel.
There are good supporting characters to play around Mallory and Rider, who show the full range of reactions towards them, ranging from over protectiveness to the acknowledgement that they are on the brink of adulthood.
Well written and well paced, this is a great first introduction to the work of Jennifer L. Armentrout (also goes by the pen name J. Lynn) who proves herself an author to keep reading.