Published May 2013
Received copy from Publisher for Itching for Reviews Blog Tour in exchange for honest review
Paperback 360 pages
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Family really is a pain…especially when your father is an addict.
For the last two years, high school senior Ruby has been her own rock and solace. She has learned to depend only on herself and hides her family's issues by keeping herself somewhat unnoticeable. Despite her isolation, Ruby has intrigued the affections of someone unexpected. Finding herself loving life once again as his persistence sparks a romance awakening a well-protected heart.
While Ruby’s relationship with her father is constantly teetering, her new-found affection continues to blossom into something more than she ever thought possible. Soon, Ruby comes to realize that opening up your heart means being susceptible to love and disappointment.
YA-M: This book contains mature content including profanity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual situations/language.
This novel starts out with Ruby and a fellow counselor, Lexi helping the campers find their parents and go home after a week of camping. Ruby is approached by Brent Cromwell. The Brent Cromwell. You know him. The one guy at school who has been unavailable that you don't even think about him. And he seems to be interested in Ruby. And that's where things get complicated.
This novel has some really interesting characters.
Ruby- Ruby is a senior in high school who has flown under the radar since she moved to Illinois from Colorado with her dad. She hasn't made any friends or dated because she plans to get the heck out of dodge as soon as she graduates. She is in every sense a loner. She has built a wall around herself, trying to prevent herself from feeling anything.
Ruby's Dad- He has not gotten over the death of his wife. He's an alcoholic and an addict. Worse than that, he's living next door to his brother who he used to party with when he was a kid. Not much has changed. They party hard all the time. He doesn't see Ruby much. He is definitely a hands off kind of parent.
Brent- Brent is a good guy. He lets things move at Ruby's pace. He's got a sensitive side. He is not the kind of guy that goes back and forth between his ex girlfriend who he dated for several years and Ruby. Once he and Frankie broke up, that was it. He's also protective and not afraid to tell Ruby how he feels. Oh and he likes to surprise Ruby. Like make the dates really different! I like a guy like that!
Lexi- Lexi is the kind of friend you want to have in your circle. She is "hilarious, infectious and ridiculously bubbly" (p.2), according to Ruby. Who doesn't want a friend like that? Plus, she encourages Ruby every step of the way with Brent, she forces Ruby to step out of her comfort zone and holds Ruby up when things get bad. She may be more of a secondary character, but she definitely has Ruby's back.
The setting- It's a small town, a lake community with houses ranging from lake front mansions to Ruby's rundown duplex and worse. It's typical contemporary Young Adult setting.
The story- The story is tough. Ruby's mother died a few years ago and her dad had a really hard time. But he was okay when they were in Colorado. But when he lost his job and couldn't find work, they moved to Illinois so he could work for his brother. That's when the drinking and partying began. Ruby feels like she's lost both parents. It isn't uncommon for her to have to go to the local bar to pick up her drunk father and drive him home. This is why Ruby has shut herself off from everyone. How does she bring anyone over to meet a man like him? How does she explain her home life? She's not sure she even understands it. Though the romance in the story is great, I think the bigger issue is between Ruby and her father. He asks to meet Brent after he and Ruby start dating and Ruby puts him off. She's been down that path too many times, of letting herself care, of thinking he'll change. She isn't willing to give him a chance to break her again.
What I thought- When I first got done with the book, I thought it was just so-so. But as I've thought about it more and more, I've come to realize what a tough topic it dealt with and just how much it was on my mind. I think it dealt with the issue of the child having to raise themselves (and) the parent because of alcohol or drug use in a realistic manner. I thought Ruby had every right to be angry at her father, to not trust him, but I did think maybe she was a little hard on him when he seemed to be trying. However, I have not been in that situation and I can only imagine what it must feel like to be constantly let down by a parent. The fact that this book has been on my mind a lot says to me that it affected me more than I thought it did and that's a sign of a good book in my opinion.
It does deal with mature themes and the rating of YA/M for 17 and up stands. I think lovers of contemporary YA, romance and issues books, relationships in families and friendships will all enjoy this book.
I received a copy of this book for review for the blog tour through Itching For Books Blog Tours. I was not compensated for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.
About the Author
Renee loves to wear hoodies, is fluent in Yoda speak, and likes to make videos with Lego figures. She is a long time insomniac, but doesn't have the energy to start an underground Fight Club so she settles for writing stories about the characters who plague her mind. She grew up in the Midwest and currently resides in the Boston area, but sounds nothing like Ben Affleck or Matt Damon.
Contact Renee Ericson