By Jennifer Brown
Little, Brown and Company, 2011. 359 pgs. Young Adult
Alex and her two best friends, Zack and Bethany, are planning a trip to Colorado after graduation--a trip they've been planning for years because Alex's mother died in a car accident en route to Colorado, and Alex, desperate to figure out what her mother was going toward, thinks if she goes to Colorado, she'll finally understand her past. However, Alex starts dating Cole, a new boy, who initially seems wonderful, and with his own messed up family life, he understands Alex's inner demons in a way Zack and Bethany don't. However, he doesn't like Zack, and although he tells Alex he loves her, she soon finds that he is physically abusive, and while she knows that's not okay, she also doesn't know how to leave him.
I had mixed feelings about this book; on the one hand, I didn't quite feel like Alex and Cole's relationship was built up enough to justify her not just leaving him the first time he's abusive. On the other hand, I also felt like maybe that's because I'm an adult, and a teen reader might find it to be realistic. Overall, I enjoyed it, even if I didn't wholeheartedly believe Alex's need to stay with him.