(Blog, Twitter, Goodreads)Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on April 7th 2015
Genres: Friendship, Social Issues, Young Adult
A powerful and gripping contemporary YA from the author of I'm Not Her that's "Just right for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jodi Picoult."-Booklist The truth is that Jess knows she screwed up. She's made mistakes, betrayed her best friend, and now she's paying for it. Her dad is making her spend the whole summer volunteering at the local soup kitchen. The truth is she wishes she was the care-free party-girl everyone thinks she is.She pretends it's all fine. That her "perfect" family is fine. But it's not. And no one notices the lie...until she meets Flynn. He's the only one who really sees her. The only one who listens.The truth is that Jess is falling apart and no one seems to care. But Flynn is the definition of "the wrong side of the tracks." When Jess's parents look at him they only see the differences-not how much they need each other. They don't get that the person who shouldn't fit in your world... might just be the one to make you feel like you belong.
Jess is the girl who appears to have everything going for her. She comes from a wealthy family and to everyone else, her family appears to be just fine. Because of something that happened though, Jess has been doing some things she isn’t necessarily proud of. When she gets caught, her father decides that Jess needs to see how good she really has it and makes her volunteer at a local soup kitchen to give her some perspective.
As Jess dives into her role, she comes face to face with a boy she had a run in with earlier in the week and is immediately drawn to him even though he doesn’t really return her feelings. She also meets Wilf, the old guy who runs the greenhouse. I loved the banter between Jess and Wilf and thought Gurtler did a wonderful job of developing the relationship between these two characters.
Flynn is one of those characters that is tough to pin down. He definitely hasn’t had an easy life and taking a handout isn’t something that is part of his nature. Because of that, he does odd jobs around the facility and when he first sees Jess, he writes her off as the “rich girl” but he quickly learns there is more to Jess and what is really going on with her than a little rebellion. As Flynn and Jess start to become friends, they realize that despite the fact that they care about each other and want to be more than friends, there are other people involved that don’t necessarily feel the same way.
Jess and Flynn definitely hit some bumps and I have to tell you – there was a part with Flynn that made me want to crawl into the book and kick him in the junk…seriously. This image is not a stretch…at all.
One of the things I thought Gurtler did well was showing how Jess’s reactions and interactions with the people that used the soup kitchen changed over time. She grew throughout this story and realized a few things about herself and her family – it was an important piece that had to happen otherwise I think the book would have fallen flat. Jess needed to grow up a bit to see that it is more than just her that was hurting in her family.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and it was a quick read. The characters were well developed and the background stories tied back to who these two were. I thought the backstories added a layer to the book that made it more than just a right side/wrong side of the tracks romance. I am glad I came across this book and if you’re looking for a Contemporary, consider checking this one out!
Thank you to Sourcebooks and Netgalley for the review copy!