Mikayla had everything. A fun best friend, the perfect boyfriend, and an amazing family filled out her life leading up to graduation. But on what should have been a blissfully romantic prom night, everything is taken from her in just a few short hours. Now she’s starting over from nothing with the help of a boy she’s just met and a future that’s no longer clearly mapped out.
The Verdict: With the hilarious introduction of Kayla’s family in the first few pages, I was immediately hooked. And as the drama of prom night played out, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The discovery at the restaurant was a romance novel cliche, but Jake added a fresh dimension things with his efforts to distract, and his friends were impossible not to love. However, as the story moved past that night, I began to get a little frustrated with a few things. Instalove, lack of some development, and endless overreactions didn’t stop me from wanting to read it, but they were enough to dim my enjoyment a bit.
Jake is a great guy, no doubt. But within just a few days, he was internally declaring his love for Kayla, and she was way too fast with the “he’s my home now,” statement. Sure, teenagers tend to fall hard and fast, but they barely knew each other, and she was still reeling from tragedy. Call it rebounding or forming a dependency or whatever, but it didn’t feel as genuine as it would have if they’d established a better friendship before diving in. And then there were the knee-jerk reactions…
It seemed that every time something completely innocent could be misinterpreted, it was. When Jake saw Kayla laughing with one of his best friends? Jealous rage. When Kayla saw any female over the age of 13 talking to Jake? Hissy fit. Over and over again. I suppose this could have been the product of their having rushed into a relationship without a solid foundation first, or perhaps it’s simply because they were both high school seniors who can’t be expected to act with reason and logic all the time, but whatever it was, it got kind of old. There was a serious lack of trust between these two for way too long.
And finally, there’s Kayla’s reaction to the deaths on prom night. Yes, she immediately freaked out, as anyone with even one cardiac cell would do. But after that, there was almost no reaction. Why wasn’t she asking why? Why didn’t she wonder who was behind it, what they were after, why they had to take things so far? Where were the wonderings about their final moments or if she had anything to worry about? While it was made clear that she was devastated, the focus swiftly changed to her budding relationship, with little realistic continuing grief. It’s not that she was necessarily two-dimensional; it just felt like all the turmoil she should have voiced or at least kept in her thoughts was edited out.
Despite those issues, the characters and story were interesting enough that I can honestly say I liked it. The initial drama was incredibly heavy, and watching Kayla navigate back to solid ground was pretty rewarding. Jake was just incredible most of the time, and even when I wanted to slap them both silly, I was rooting for them. I might have been a little irritated with the characters, but I’ve read some of Jay McLean’s more recent work, and it’s nothing short of brilliant. And I have to admit that I really want to see Logan fall in love, and I might have a fit if I don’t get his story, so I think I just might continue with this series.