Expected publication: May 8th 2014
From: Net Galley
Rating: 4 out of 5
There's only one person I want to see when I return home. But I know he won't be waiting. It's the reason I feel safe enough to come back. I’m so wrong.
Ash Townsend isn't the same quiet boy from next door. He's tall, dark and demanding answers. He wants me, but he doesn't trust me. Why should he? When his own family tried to break him down, he still sheltered me in this town full of liars. And I repaid it by leaving him without a word.
But I'll do anything to protect him. I have the scars on my wrist to prove it.
To begin with, we learn that Katie left her small town after high school under a cloud. This is a classic case of small town syndrome with everyone gossiping about everyone else's life. Katie's back because her family home may be repossessed. Her mother ran out when she was young, her father was an almost non existent parent. Katie's family was her childhood friend, Ash, who lived close by.
As the story continues we are taken back through the lives of Katie and Ash and their friendship. Both have suffered trauma and neglect from their parents, whether intentionally or by ignorance. They looked out for each other when nobody else wanted or cared to. Soon it becomes apparent that Katie and Ash are more than best friends and have a friendship that defies the odds.
For some unapparent reason Ash's parents despise Katie. So much that Ash is even punished by association. A mystery begins to unfold as we go backward and forward and unravel their past and present. Only days back in the town Katie is once again being victimized by an unknown source. When Ash and Katie enter each other's lives again we see a distinct difference in Katie's feelings for Ash. She's avoiding him at all costs. We only learn later why.
Katie and Ash's story is touching. At times, I won't deny, I did want to throttle Katie for acting the way she did around Ash. At times she was cruel but acted mostly indifferent. It's only the climax of the story when we learn why she puts barriers between herself and her only true friend.
This is an angsty, emotional read. The writing is great, the steady pace well thought out, and the differing emotions for each new encounter were well emphasized. My only criticism would be that the ending, when the dirt comes out, could have been overcome so easily if they'd just talked openly instead of pushing and shoving each other with misdirection and anger. But then we wouldn't have the story, would we? And, the ending? Odd. Once the resolution happens we have no solid finish, but hey, do we really need it?
You can reach Sera Bright here: