Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: January 17, 2017 by: St. Martin's Griffin
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Ever since being attacked, Gretchen suffers from extreme panic attacks and PTSD. She sees her attacker everywhere, and it has taken a toll on her life. Phoenix has escaped from the brutal gangs of El Salvador and is focusing on becoming a citizen in the United States and protecting his little brother from the trouble that he got into when he was young. Both of these characters have harsh pasts, and when they are brought together, they will discover that they are very alike in many ways.
This is a very compelling book. A lot of issues are brought to the core here, such as trauma, mental illness, violence, gangs and even immigration. This book is very diverse in how it deals with issues and I think that anyone could find something to connect with from it. While I did have some issues with plot, the main root of the novel was very strong.
The characters were beautifully written. Each one had a story to tell, and a past to share. I loved how the author eloquently captured their inner demons, and why they are the way they are today. I especially loved Phoenix. I thought that he was so loyal and wanted the best for his brother, and I respected that about him. He was a class act.
This book deals heavily with traumatic pasts and I thought it did it in a way that was diverse. The characters have very unique pasts and the author focused on a variety of issues. I loved how there was POC representation and not just one side to the story.
I did find the book to be kind of slow however. I really liked the beginning, but once I got to the middle, the plot kind of dragged on for me and I wasn't as captivated as I was in the beginning. I really liked Phoenix's points of views but Gretchen's were a bit boring for me and harder to get into. I wished the book was consistently captivating throughout. To me, Phoenix's storyline was a lot more interesting to me to read.
Overall, I think this book would have gained 5 stars if I was fully engrossed into the middle, and especially with Gretchen. But still, this book brings a lot of important issues to light and it is very diverse in representation.
Emily @ Paperback Princess