This book is YA at it’s best, I totally and utterly loved it. This story is about a girl named Tate and a boy called Jared. From the moment that Tate moved in next door, these two were inseparable. Tate was being brought up by her father. They had a brilliant relationship, he truly was an awesome dad.
“He had a few simple rules: respect your elders, take care of your body, finish what you start and solve your own problems. If I maintained good grades and followed those four rules, he trusted me. That’s a military parent. Simple.”
Jared and Tate were best friends as children, they did everything together. Where one was you would find the other. They lived in each others houses, played together, went to school together and comforted each other. They were truly soul mates. One summer Jared goes away to stay with his father who he had been estranged from for a long time. When Jared came back he was a different person. He also didn’t like Tate and from that day on, made her life a living hell. What could possibly have happened to cause this sudden turn around? What on earth could Tate have done? Jared turned into an awful bully, but he was not content with just doing the bullying himself, but he got the whole school involved. He spread malicious lies and rumours, prevented her from getting any boyfriends and making friends, he was wearing her down, bringing her to her knees, but Tate was confused and hurt, WHY?
“Jared indulged in my misery like it was candy. He had fed me to the wolves time and again, reveling in the unhappiness he caused. Jared, my friend, was completely gone, leaving a cold monster in his place.”
Tate goes away to study for a year, when she comes back, she has to go back to school. The Tate that returns is more determined, no longer will she be bullied, she is going to stand up for herself. Is it too late for her and Jared’s friendship? Has the love that she had for him been completely eroded away? Does Jared want to go back to the way things were before that summer or is he going to pick up where he left off?
“You were never clingy or a nuisance, Tate. The day you moved in next door I thought you were the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I fucking loved you.”
Having been bullied myself throughout most of my secondary education, I could totally relate to this book. It did make it hard to read at times and did bring back some god awful memories but I related to Tate, I empathised. For the life of me though I could not understand Jared. Even knowing what I know now, if I am completely honest I still cannot relate to what he did. Maybe if I was not so emotionally invested I could have looked at it from a neutral perspective, but I couldn’t, he was just a total arse. It was obvious that something bad had happened during that summer but you never knew what in the beginning. Jared had erected some mammoth walls that seemed impenetrable but slowly but surely the “new” Tate started to break them down, brick, by brick. Once the “real” Jared began to emerge, you could sense the depth of his feelings and you could see why he did what he did to some extent. I do believe that this could have been aided by having some chapters in Jared’s POV, it maybe could have helped you build that connection to him rather than just think of him as the selfish arse and bully he was portrayed to be.
“Yesterday kept following me. And tomorrow, the new day, never seemed to come.”
Fantastic book that I thoroughly enjoyed and I cannot wait to read more of this series. A lot of the side characters were entertaining in their own right and I am sure that these can be expanded upon with their own book (hint hint). Definitely a must read.