Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: MIRA Ink (16th Jun 2016)
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.
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I picked this book up right around the time I finished It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (review here) and was really looking forward to this kinda story after reading the other book which I LOVED. So much. But sadly, as much as I wanted to, I didn’t like this book much and and instead felt really deflated given how many people love it and, not that it’s the most important factor, but also how gorgeous the cover is.
The reviews for this book were really gushy, and to me, after having finished it, I felt really mehhhh. It washed itself into the background of all other YA contemporary novels and there’s nothing in the writing, in the plot, or the characters, to make it memorable and stand out. The promise *pun intended* was there with the plot and the story it could have told - but as fine as the writing was to read, the story just didn’t do anything for me. It was bland, uneventful and lacking pull. The characters were flat and the connection between them though understandable, there was no fire, no chemistry, nada.
I found that it didn’t sit well with me that though Mallory and Rider share a real, deep seeded connection, when Mallory comes back into the picture, Rider blows off his girlfriend Paige so easily, so quickly, and she’s then made out to be the villain when in truth she had every right to be annoyed. Rider had his share of crap after the childhood he went through, and though Mallory’s outcome was different, Rider leaned on Paige for support. She had obviously been there for him for a lot, and to just forget that, drop that, when Mallory comes back, was not cool.
As for Rider and Mallory themselves, I feel like Rider is the kind of character that I really really would have liked. He has it going for him, with his name *which I am weirdly partial to* and the fact he protected Mallory when they were younger, he looked out for her and obviously still cares about her and wants to continue protecting her. But.. he sounds better as an idea than on the page. I didn’t like him that much, there was nothing wrong with him, I mean he ticked all the boxes in potential swoon-worthy-ness but in reality just reading him in the story, I felt nothing for his character.
Mallory was pretty much the same for me - I just really didn't connect with any of the characters at all - maybe except Mallory’s parents - who I did actually like. I understood them, everything they did and said was all for her, to benefit Mallory. I’m glad that Mallory started speaking, speaking up for herself and what she wanted - but for some reason she still seemed unsure of her choices and what she wanted - there was no conviction to her. I totally get her desire to want to pursue a career in social work and to help others - but I wanted that moment when she spoke up about following that path to be more empathetic, maybe even more emotional to really hammer home her past and the possibility of her future.
The scene where a certain someone gets *cough* my attempt at not being spoilery, but that scene out on the street just felt so random and weird and reminded me of Save The Last Dance. You’ll know which scene I’m on about if you’ve read the book and also seen that movie. I know it was used to move the story along, but it was just really random.
I really did want to like this book, and maybe it is a great book to others, but I just couldn’t find any ways to connect with the story and everything in it. It has a gorgeous cover, I will say that, but sadly nothing else going for it aside from that.