Upon finishing <i>From the Wreckage</i>, I waited about three long seconds before grabbing book two. The love story before was sweet, but I wanted more of it. I wanted to know why present day Jules was recording the story of events from high school, and even more why she kept touching a ring finger that held no ring.
School is starting again for Jules's senior class, but they've all been split up among neighboring districts, since their own school is no more. Jules and Katie, along with West and a few of their other friends, have been assigned to the nearby high school that was once their school's biggest rival, and they don't expect a warm welcome. To make matters unbearably worse, they're without Tanya since the storm, and it casts a sad pall over everything.
The students at Jules's new high school are downright cruel. It's obvious that West has some history with some of them, and the girls are especially mean. While I can certainly understand school rivalries, and I get that high school girls can be a jealous and sometimes hateful bunch, this part of the story really bothered me. Real life tragedies among high schools have been shown to bring out the best in rivals, from the UT marching band playing <i>Amazing Grace</i> at their rival game against the Aggies back when the bonfire structure collapsed and killed so many to more recently when Marysville Pilchuck's rival forfeited the championship game in a show of support for the students who'd experienced a horrific school shooting. Obviously, there will always be those who are too hateful to show compassion when others go through devastating loss, but I just can't see an entire school being so spiteful in the aftermath of tragedy. A few mean girls and campus hot shots trying to assert their dominance? Sure. The whole class? Not really something I can believe.
The romance between Jules and West was alive and well, though, and while it's clear his past is around every corner, assumptions about previous relationships or hook-ups isn't enough to tear them apart. In some ways, it seems he is more comfortable in their new school and life after the tornado, but he doesn't let that hide anything Jules is feeling, and he's not about to let anything come between them. Their chemistry and their bond is exactly what I was hoping to see more of after the previous book, and Out of Ruins certainly delivered.
Unfortunately, happily ever after didn't really play a part in this piece of their story. Juvenile pride and recklessness led to a terrible accident, and the book ends at the pinnacle of unresolved abandonment. While I still enjoyed their story very much, I really can't stand it when books end mid-conflict, so that sucked quite a bit of my enjoyment out. So now I suppose it's off to the third book for me.