By Robin Constantine
Source Received from the publisher via Edelweiss
Published by Balzer & Bray
on December 31, 2013
Received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Cover image and summary from Goodreads:
Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.
Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.
One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.
This was a pretty cute, fast read about two people who are both trying to be grow. Wren is quiet, and concerned that being labelled as such by her teachers is holding her back from achieving some of her goals. Grayson has been kicked out of school and ditched by his friends, and trying to sort out what to do next.
They meet while Wren is working at a wedding Grayson is attending, and when she saves his life while he chokes on his food, they share a moment, and from then on, can’t stop thinking about each other.
Their attempts to get to know each other and see what happens is complicated by Grayson’s past, particularly by his old friend Luke, who wants Grayson to help carry out a plan they set in motion that would see them end up taking a trip to Amsterdam. To earn the money to finance the trip, Grayson and his friends engaged in some unpleasant behaviour (I don’t want to get into details since it’s all slowly revealed over the course of the novel). Luke is persistent, soon becoming threatening, and Grayon needs to decide what to tell Wren and when.
This was a cute book, but while I really liked Wren (she was funny, quiet, sarcastic – all things that endear a character to me), I had a tougher time liking Grayson. I mean, based on his past and the things he’s done, I knew he hadn’t really been a good guy. I kept wanting to cut him a break – he had some family drama going on, he had felt abandoned by his friends after he was kicked out of school – but he had a lot of chances to come clean about things and be honest with Wren, which I feel like would have saved them all a lot of trouble and pain later, but he didn’t tell her the truth about things until much, much later when things had really escalated.
I did like the dual narration, with Grayson and Wren alternating chapters. I often feel like the narrators don’t come across as distinct characters with more than one narrating, but it totally worked for me here. While I basically thought Grayson was an ass, I could also tell that he didn’t like who he had been, looking back, and wanted to be better for, and worthy of, Wren.
If you’re in the mood for something light, fun, and not too complicated, and you’re a fan of YA contemporary, this might be the book for you.