“When I said I loved you, I didn’t mean for a week, or maybe a year, I meant always, in the good times and the bad, through thick and thin. I’m playing for keeps here, Mags.“
Overall, I thought the story was good, and its under contract to be made into a movie now which I think is fabulous, but I wasn’t totally blown away by the book itself.
Seth is an undercover cops posing as a student at Port Fare High School in an effort to bring down a ring of heroine drug dealers that have been on the rise in the last few months and have been recently reaching out to dealing to kids with devastatingly results. Maggie is a student and visually, with her near-skeletal frame and dark circles under her eyes, could be the poster child for Heroin Chic. No one realizes that she comes from a dirt-poor home and barely has enough money to keep food on the table because her alcoholic, verbally abusive mother drinks away any money that they have. And yet despite this miserable home environment, Maggie maintains stellar performance at school, and is a wonderfully sweet girl that everyone likes.
When Maggie’s name comes up as one of the people who could potentially lead them to the drug lord (based on her outward appearance), Seth is assigned to “get close” to her. But his personal feelings are getting in the way. Aside from his job, he already has feelings for her and he struggles with the balance of doing his job and going for what his heart wants.
Maggie feels unlovable. Her mother constantly berates, abuses and rejects her, so wrapped up in her alcoholic world that she has no time, patience, or love left to give her child.
“Get out of my house! I regret ever giving birth to you, you unlovable nothing!” She picked up a glass from off the coffee table… I turned and left as it hit my shoulder.”
But still, Maggie cares deeply for her mother, wanting desperately to feel worthy of her love, and having seen, first hand, the destruction caused by alcohol, Maggie want nothing to do with it (or drugs).
With her lack of self-worth, Maggie can’t fathom what Seth sees in her. How could someone unloved by their own mother be worthy of any love at all? And so it takes her loooong time to come around to actually believing that Seth is truly interested in her. Their relationship is slow building as Maggie slowly learns to trust him.
“It felt nice to be in his arms, as if someone actually cared about me. He listened, never judging, nor criticizing, just listening as I told him what had happened with my mom.”
But Seth understands how wary and un-trusting she is and is willing to be patient with her. He goes far out of his way to make her feel safe with him, to protect her, to find subtle ways of caring for her when there are basic things that she can’t even afford, and to find a way to convince her of the depth of his feelings for her.
“Please don’t hurt me. When you’re tired of me, just let me know. I promise not to be a clinging vine”…
I was sick and tired of being alone. I was also very much in love with him. It frightened me beyond words.
“Maggie,” he said, stroking my hair. I’m not going to get tired of you, and I certainly don’t plan on hurting you, not on purpose, anyway. But I don’t just want to be here,” He kisses me softly on the lips. “I want to be in here too.” He brushed by head with his lips. “And in your heart. I’ve never loved anyone like this before.”
And while they are figuring out their feelings for each other, the drug dealers are stepping up their game, murdering people, students, hurting them, desperate to make a name for themselves and to get back at the cops for bringing down one of their brothers in a prior assignment.
The story is told from alternating POVs (including the drug dealers) so we get to understand all sides of what is going on.
But I did have a few issues with the story. I thought the plot was a little unbelievable at times (like for example how quickly they went from cautious flirting to absolute head-over-heels love literally overnight with very little build-up to that level of intensity), I found the dialogue a little stilted at times and it didn’t always flow very well (for example, from the guy’s POV, him saying “My face warped into a tortured expression…” hmmmmm, just doesn’t sound like something a guy would say. Or, her doctor asking her “How long were you unconscious?” … *squints skeptically* REALLY?????? O_o ), and there were definite moments of stupid decision making and childish reactions on the heroine’s part – just a lot of things that made me sigh to myself or roll my eyes.
I also wasn’t fully satisfied with the ending – yes, its a happy ending, and, yes, they end up “together” as a couple, and I guess we’ll see more of their relationship development in the sequel (although, it isn’t directly focused on them) but I didn’t like the decision they made at the end – it just didn’t make sense to me.
The steam factor was very, very low – definitely a tame YA read. The hero doesn’t believe in sex before marriage, and for a goodly chunk of the book, she’s 17 and he is 21 (and a cop) so they pretty much only kiss throughout the whole book.
It was still a good book, I just felt a little ‘meh’ about some aspects of it. It did keep me interested from start to finish though, but it didn’t make me laugh, didn’t make me cry and didn’t make my heart race. But it is under contract to be a movie and I can definitely see how it would make a much better movie than it did a book. Its one of those kinds of stories that you can totally visualize as a movie in your head with very few changes made to it.
The sequel, Unbelievable, will be released in December 2012 and follow the story of another of the main characters from this book.