Summary (from Goodreads):
“In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.
Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.
Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.
While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.
As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.
In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.”
This book absolutely broke my heart.
The thing you should know about this book going in is that it’s a novel about perceptions. A lot of it is the way that other people see you and how that can affect your actions; but there’s also the way that you think about yourself and how that can ALSO affect your actions.
I find the idea of that completely interesting because we all think that we’re in charge of how we act, right? And we are, but a lot of our “free will” is determined subliminally by how we’re treated, the things that are said about us, and how we’ve internalized those things.
But that’s not really the point. The point is how Harper manages to overcome the voice in her head and become happy and healthy and how that sometimes takes a long time to do and requires multiple restarts and do-overs. (It’d be nice if we could get everything right the first or second time, wouldn’t it?)
This is a book to treasure and discuss. Recommended.