One of the things that can be the most devastating is being in, or having someone you know involved in a car accident. Having your friends die, or being burned so you're scarred for life must be a nightmare for anyone. Yet that is what happened to Jenna Reed on her fourteenth year.Laura Jarrett introduces us to a story that is about growth, of standing up for what you believe in, and of falling in love for the very first time. It's a story about being brave when you think the odds are against you. And a battle against stereotypes. I could rave on, but I think it's better if the book is read.
Just so you know - the story is told in two voices - Jenna's and Ryan's.There's so much Laura Jarrett brings to this in the way of her characters. Each are so strong in their own way. First off, there's Jenna.Jenna is a girl who used to believe that 'ugly' people had no feelings. She learned that so much of the way she and her friends thought was wrong. She fights to be considered normal when everyone stares at her as if she's not. She fights to experience what she feels she would have experienced if she hadn't been in the accident and become 'ugly'. She sounds like a 'feel sorry for me because I went through this' type of girl, but I didn't see her that way. I just saw her as extremely brave.If I keep on going about the word 'ugly',
it's because of this opening line in Chapter One and the theme is carried on through the book.'Ugly people don't have feelings. They're not like everyone else.'Everyone knows, well, I hope everyone knows, that's not true. Everyone has feelings, regardless of gender, age, looks etc.So much of Jenna's feeling like she's hideously ugly fades when she meets Ryan. And not because he's a boy.
Oh my, Ryan! Yes, as you can tell, I am a fan. Ryan is a sixteen-year-old boy, who supports a mother who has a mental health problem. He looks after her when she is sick and puts up with the constant living and travelling on a houseboat while living with the stereotype that kind of living is associated with. All he wants to do is settle down. He's a normal teenage boy, with typical raging hormones. But, before you start going 'ew', he's very sweet with Jenna. He's loyal and protective, but I don't think in that creepy way where he hovers all over her like some guys in books do. And he's the first person to treat her as normal.Jenna's and Ryan's relationship is lovely, with both fighting against what they know is happening. It's really hard to describe it to people who haven't read the book. I was fighting with the 'he's too old for her!" outrage, against what I knew when I was reading the book.
But, anyway, there's more to the book than that - both in characters and plot.Laura Jarrett also introduces the element of a murder mystery after the boy who was driving the car is found murdered. It's a race against time because the boy killed also had issues with Jenna and Ryan.Yes, Steven Carlisle, is no prize, that's for sure, but I will not discuss him further for my fear of revealing too much.
Nitpicks - I really don't have any apart from the slight point I made earlier about my internal battle with the ages between the main characters.
Anyway, my rating for this is 5 out of 5 stars.