By: Kate Hart
Published Year: 2017
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt…and his slacker brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt’s bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing. But Raychel doesn't want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family’s eviction, and the dream of college slipping quickly out of reach. Matt tries to help, but he doesn’t really get it… and he’d never understand why she’s fallen into a secret relationship with his brother. The friendships are a precarious balance, and when tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Raychel has to decide which pieces she can pick up – and which ones are worth putting back together.
This cover reminded me a bit of The Love that Split the World, so it caught my eye. The summary made me a bit iffy, but it would count towards the Debut Author’s Challenge, hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. So regardless of my apprehension, I decided to give this one a chance.
What I thought
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book!
Raychel and Matt are best friends and have been pretty much their whole lives. Andrew is Matthew’s tagalong younger brother, although he’s only younger by a year. During their senior year, Matt starts to realize that he has more than just friendship feelings for Raychel, while Raychel realizes that she has more than just friendship feelings for Andrew. In addition to the love triangle, Raychel deals with assault, slut shaming, and bullying. Then even more tragedy strikes and everyone’s world is turned upside down.
Even though I am not one for love triangles, I did enjoy the relationship between Matthew, Andrew, and Raychel. I think I liked that there were parts I didn’t like. Matt is pretty much everything I hate in male friends. He and Raychel have been best friends but now all of a sudden he realizes that he wants to be more. Of course this leads him to thinking that he deserves to be more than just friends because he has always been there for Raychel. This whole thought pattern is the basis of the friendzone which I don’t believe is anything more than an excuse males make for the fact that they can’t handle the idea that any woman out in the world wouldn’t want to sleep with them.
The other issue I had with the relationship between Raychel and Andrew is her feelings seemed to get very intense quickly. She didn’t show any interest prior to their first kiss and then it was like “I love you!” Although, I guess that’s how teenage hormones work?
In general, this book is nothing but heartbreak. It was difficult to get through because of all of the heavy subject matter. Before the book even begins, Raychel is sexually assaulted. In addition to that, she has already been labeled the school slut for years so she has to deal with slut shaming. Pile on top of that notes of discussion about women’s equality, racism, and classism, and you have a lot on your plate. I do think I would have appreciated if it had been toned back as it can get to be a bit much. While it was a bit packed with serious subject matter, I think that for the most part it was handled well and realistically.