Received from Publisher for review
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Hardcover 299 pages
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Max would follow Sadie anywhere, so when Sadie decides to ditch her problems and escape to Nebraska for the summer, it’s only natural for Max to go along. She is Sadie’s confidante, her protector, and her best friend. This summer will be all about them. This summer will be perfect.
But that’s before they meet Dylan.
Dylan is dangerous and intoxicating, and he awakens something in Max that she never knew existed. No matter how much she wants to, she can’t back away.
But Sadie has her own intensity, and has never allowed Max to become close with anyone else. And Max doesn’t know who she is without Sadie.
There are some problems you just can’t escape.
Huh. I'm not sure how to review this one. Oh, I have plenty of opinions. But I'm not sure I can put them into the right words. I guess I'll just start with Max. She's the adult at home despite having two parents. That's only been the case for a year or so since her mother had an accident that put her in a wheelchair. She is depressed and her father looks to Max to hold the family together. But Max has been holding Sadie together for years. All because Sadie's mother left her with her father instead of taking her with her when she left. (I'll get to Sadie) I think in many ways, Max has enabled Sadie and used Sadie's and to a lesser extent her parent's reliance on her to rescue in Sadie's case and hold things together in her parents case, in other words to be the strong one, the reliable one, the parent, as an excuse to keep from living her own life. She describes herself as a shadow of Sadie, the one behind her, but tells frightening stories of how she has had to rescue and worry over Sadie. Still, Max lets Sadie walk all over her feelings, talk for her, have everything first, even if Max wants it.
Lark- Sadie's mom. Sadie is a chip off the old block only Lark has learned to be a bit more bearable. She isn't controlling and doesn't have a Max following her around but she isn't faithful to Doff a bit self centered if you ask me.
Doff- Very kind, introduced as Lark's mate and sometimes he is. He tends the animals on the farm so he never gets a day off, even if the others do. A quiet man. He enjoys his work.
Dylan-He is not the love interest you're led to believe in the synopsis so just don't get your hopes up for a romance. First impressions are the best. I'll leave it at that.
Then there's Sadie. Can you say spoiled, narcissistic, drama queen? That's Sadie. She drinks too much. She has sex with just about anyone when she's in that state. She embarrasses Max talking about her sexuality. She says other things that are entirely inappropriate and Max spends all her time, apologizing, cleaning up, holding her hair while she vomits, or looking for her. I'm not sure Max has enjoyed a party ever because she is always designated to watch Sadie. Sadie also does drugs. She has a stepmother and stepbrother along with her father and lives in what they call a "McMansion" a term I'm seeing a lot in YA these days. Sadie is so big, as in personality and so demanding, there really isn't any room for Max to be anything in her presence.
The World- So drama queen gets sent to spend the summer with her mother, Lark, on a farm in Nebraska and Max gets to tag along. The bus drops them off in the middle of corn fields and leaves them. Someone was supposed to meet them, but no one comes. The finally hitch a ride with a farmer and find out Lark's husband/boyfriend? was supposed to get them, but they don't have a clock so he forgot. Culture shock is too small to say when the girls get their tour of the farm and find out there are no real toilets, they share showers and they will be living in a trailer. Max learns early to love the work on the farm, but Sadie is full of complaints. She is controlling and unfortunately finds a girl who worships the ground she walks on and hates Max.
The people on the farm are very friendly and welcoming. Max thinks she is finding something she has been missing.
The Story- Max tells it in the first part with excerpts from Greek mythology and then like she's writing a journal entry or telling Sadie all these things about herself because Max knows her better than Sadie knows herself. But it's more personal, because Max shares things about herself, how she was scared, how she was in love and didn't want to share it with Sadie, how she is hurt by some of the things Sadie does. The second part is told present tense. Something happens that allows Max to live Sadie free for awhile. She doesn't have to watch out for Sadie. No taking care of her at all. And Max experiences freedom. Part III is also told in present tense and Sadie is back but Max is resentful of her being back. Max has changed. But Sadie is the same. This part of the story is the most climactic of the novel and the most telling as it shows Sadie for who she truly is and Max finally reaches clarity.
What I thought- The narration is sort of odd. I liked the narration in the first part and kind of thought it would have been good to carry it through the whole story. Maybe had a different ending. The kind a train wreck like Sadie would eventually end up in without a friend like Max to watch out for her. I think there is an awful lot of blame put on the fact that Sadie didn't have her mother. Really? Maybe she was just spoiled little rich girl who got away with murder. Maybe Sadie needed a stint in rehab and a NEW therapist as the one she was seeing obviously hadn't cleared any issues up. Maybe some parental control needed to be enforced. Or maybe Sadie is just a narcissist for which there is no cure and you have to decide if you're going to tolerate that person or not. But Max, she was definitely an enabler. Why? Was she insecure? She wasn't unattractive. I don't know when they first started being friends what the dynamic was so I can't say. I felt like Dylan was an unnecessary evil in the story. Could have totally done without that part of the story. But, I'm happy with the ending, however, just because I really didn't like Sadie, I'd love an epilogue to hear how she takes the news her mother delivers to her. She's just precious, like a piranha in pink pigtails. I do love that Amy Reed tackles tough issues in her books. If you haven't read any of her books, I suggest you try some. I especially enjoyed Crazy.
You can reach Amy Reed here
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Thank you to the publisher for an e-arc through Edleweiss. My review is a reflection of my own opinions and thoughts and was not influenced by this.