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. Blurb via Goodreads
Details: Harlequin Tee, Released July 31, 2012, Paperback, 293 Pages (I read an ARC)
In one sentence: Two people who've seen the worst try to get the best out of each other.
We meet two teens who have both had horrible things happen to them and they're each dealing in the only way they know how. Echo is trying so hard to be the girl she was before whatever it was happened to her, happened to her. The mystery of what happened to her was well crafted and revealed just enough at a time to keep me interested. Noah gave up trying to be who he was before but he's still trying so desperately to do the right thing, to make things right in the only way he thinks he can. He's the bad boy with the soft and gooey center.
Noah and Echo come from two different worlds but are thrown together and decide to work together to get the answers they need. They're perfect romantic partners but the baggage they carry guarantees a bumpy ride.
I thought McGarry did a good job of portraying their relationship, how brave they were to give each other a chance and to deal with the consequences of their choices. McGarry made me feel for them, care for them, while making me understand their choices and actions. I could think they made the wrong choice or did the wrong thing but McGarry made sure we understood, I never thought 'why the hell did they do that?'.
Control is a theme throughout the book, Echo and Noah struggle against the people who have control over them, Echo's father, their therapist, the foster care system, etc., it's a long list, and their struggles to assert themselves and control their own lives.
There isn't a happy ending in the traditional sense, but it has a satisfying ending, er beginning.
I enjoyed McGarry's writing style. The story is told in alternating perspectives, giving depth to the story and the characters.
The secondary characters were interesting and purposeful. They illuminate Echo and Noah and show how they interact with the world. I'm intrigued to read McGarry's next book, featuring Beth, and hopefully we'll get a peak at Noah and Echo again.