Synopsis: No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again. (Source: Goodreads)
I have never, ever been more conflicted about a book. I hated it, I didn't hate it...my emotions were all over the place. I think the only one I didn't experience was love. I didn't love this book at any point. I'm going to try to tell you why.
First of all, I'll be honest and say that I didn't enjoy it. I didn't, not at all. There were a couple of things that I really did like (Noah and his brothers), but more that I honestly hated (Echo; the demonization of Echo's mother without many relevant facts until it was too late - I'd have liked to see her characterized as something other than 'crazy' because of her illness).
First of all, let's talk about Noah. He's your consummate bad boy, meaning that he skips school, sleeps with anything with a skirt, does drugs, gets into trouble. He's in foster care after his parents died in a house fire. He's rough (very rough), but also vulnerable. He spends a lot of time trying to convince the reader that he is NOT vulnerable and is really that tough, but he was pretty transparent. Odd, since I feel like I wasn't supposed to like him for at least half of the book. It was really easy for me to see past the bad-boy exterior to the hurting boy inside. I didn't appreciate the constant barrage of f-words though, and that does make a difference in my overall feelings about the book. Can't lie about that.
I liked how passionate he was about being a family with his brothers and how he was willing to do just about anything to make that happen. He was everything a big brother should be...everything minus all the trouble part, which keeps him from actually being more than a vague presence in their lives.
On to Echo: our heroine, whom we're supposed to immediately love and sympathize with. I didn't. Not ever. I found her to be flat, one-dimensional, and annoying. I felt nothing positive for her. Sure, I felt bad that she experienced that horrible trauma, but other than that? No insight on who she was before, no growth, nothing. I couldn't wait to get through her sections and back to Noah, f-words aside.
I also felt like we saw a very one-sided view of Echo's mother. I understand why, but was it necessary to deem her 'crazy' rather than point out all along that she was mentally ill? There's a difference. Being bipolar doesn't make one a homicidal maniac, which it seemed like was happening here. Now, to be fair, we are reading about her from Echo and her dad's points of view, which are going to be understandably skewed. But still. I didn't feel like it was a very fair overall treatment of an illness. There has to be a way to honor Echo's perspective (and her dad's, even though he was a complete DB) without demonizing a sick woman.
But it made me feel things and I can't be too harsh about it for that. I was completely sobbing when I finished it, and it's been a long time since a book made me cry that hard.
All in all, I don't feel like I can fairly assign this book any sort of rating. It definitely wasn't for me, so it's one that you're going to have to read for yourself and decide if it's for you.