Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Harlequin Teen
“For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.
Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.
It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.” -Goodreads
How do I begin? Brilliance, ABSOLUTE BRILLIANCE. I don’t even know what to say. The novel was amazing. Amazing hardly begins to describe it. Jennifer’s stories (at least the ones I have read) are so complex and are never the same but the same. They always feature some romance and some horrifying backstory (sorta). But this one was so interesting. I don’t think I have read any story like this before.
Mallory is just this sad character who has a terrible past and is a shut-in basically because of her traumatic experience. She decides to go to public school and by complete coincidence the boy, Rider, who lived trough that nightmare with her is at the school. The novel is so full of emotion and is a difficult story to tell. I read in the acknowledgments that Jennifer realized that she was going into a realm that people didn’t want to hear about or thought was total fantasy. I think not only did she show that this actually happened to people but how people can overcome these challenges.
I am a real big sucker for love stories and usually, they can sell me on a book right away if you know it will be juicy. Mallory and Rider are so dreamy and perfect together. She and he are like two pieces to a puzzle, they wouldn’t work without the other. But in this story, that isn’t even the best part. It is all the detail and thought put into it.
Mallory herself makes this book one of a kind. I love how Jennifer wrote Mallory and the details she wrote about her. She is so amazing and pure and lovely and I could go on forever. I would love for her to be my friend, I really would. The changes she goes through are so heartwarming. She learns so many things about herself and the world around them, in turn, teaching us readers these amazing lessons on life. One of my favorite quotes was “No one else. It was me who had to carry myself over the finish line, and all I needed to remember when I felt like not trying was that that feeling wouldn’t last forever. Forever. I used to believe it didn’t exist…Forever was simply a promise of more. Forever was a work in progress. And I couldn’t wait for forever.”
Rider is a dream boat. He seems so perfect and so chill he is really impressive in the beginning of the story. Throughout the story, he also goes through changes and realizations. Like Mallory, Rider has been built into a wondrous character with such detail. Even though we can’t see from his perspective I feel as though I could understand his views and his persona with the way Mallory described his actions and the way he said things.
The other characters in this book I have to give shoutouts to because they were all so marvelous. First up in Ainsley, who embodies exactly what you want in a best friend. She was kind, caring, and really cared for her friend’s feelings. Paige was a real mean person, for the sake of being clean, most of the times and I was gonna say that I think there was a lot of growth over the course of the story but after some reflection, she still is mean just a little less I believe. Jayden is one of my favorite minor characters because of his happiness and his laidback style even when bad things arise. He really helps Mallory and became a good friend to her. Hector like his brother was very talkative and mostly with the ladies. I think he is great and I think Hector and Ainsley should be a thing and there should be another book about it but he that is my preference.
The story without the characters would be nothing. Every single one of those characters makes this story perfect but I do believe this story is such a strong and expertly written story that even without them it still would be great. I mean first, you have this horrific yet compelling backstory that pulls you into the story first through the prologue and with the hints of the past that pull you in a suck you into the story. Secondly, you have the current events in the story where Mallory is going to school and then she sees Rider who was in the home with her and suffered with her and then all the events after. You see incredible growth through the characters by their interactions through the story.
I honestly thought this book was fantastic. the characters and plot line were so intense and amazing. The way it was written was honestly my favorite because of the rich detail and how it didn’t leave anything out. It was hard writing this review without any spoilers but I did it except I will say this one thing, this book will make you wanna cry. Anyways I think I shall wrap this up.I enjoyed this book and recommend it to everyone who loves YA and contemporary novels and basically everyone else. If you’ve read this book your welcome to leave your opinions down below and you’re welcome to leave a comment even if you haven’t read it. Thanks for reading!
Star Rating: 5