“I’m so used to people only caring about my situation. I forgot what it was like to have someone care about me.”
What a sweet story!
This was a really touching YA romance with a unique set-up. The hero was homeless, having run away from his abusive foster home, and the heroine was a straight-A high school senior who fell in love with him. Two people from completely opposite worlds meeting by chance and finding true love.
Even from the first few pages of Dean’s story, my heart went out to him. Here he was at 17 years old alone, homeless, and at the end of his line. After ten years of failed foster homes, he finally was placed in one so brutal that striking out on his own, even without a roof over his head, was better than suffering through that pain. He was determined to make it on own though, without accepting help, and he had one thing that was keeping him going…
“My parents might be dead, but my sister isn’t. I promised myself the day the social worker ripped her from me I’d find her.”
In complete contrast to his life, Anna’s life was fueled by her Ivy League dream. As a straight-A student and a perfectionist, Harvard and Princeton were in her future. And in order to better her chances of getting in, she volunteered at various places, including a soup kitchen… which was where she met Dean.
“How long have you been…?” She stops, but I know what she was going to say.
“Homeless? You can say it. It’s just a word…and the truth? About two years.”
Something about him drew her in, made her want to know more about him, and despite her rule to never get attached, she couldn’t stay away from him… Even though they met by chance, they kept choosing to see more and more of each other until being together just felt like the most natural thing in the world.
“When will I see you again?”
“Soon.” He zips up his hoodie and puts a jacket over it. “We can’t seem to stay away from each other.”
This story is told in alternating POVs between Dean and Anna. I have to say that Dean’s side of the story especially really tugged my heartstrings. Gosh, what a sweet, kind, wonderful guy! My heart broke for him and for the shitty hand that life had dealt him, but he was so easy to fall in love with.
“Would a girl like Anna even think about me let alone want to be with me? … What can I give her? I literally have nothing to offer.”
In contrast though, I had a bit of a harder time connecting with Anna. Even though her heart was in the right place, I felt there were times when her lack of awareness/maturity really showed through — like in the way she said certain things in front of him that were casually careless, instead of being aware of how her life of privilege would naturally afford her a better life. But she learned quickly and she really was a good person, she really did care deeply for him, and I loved that she saw him, not just a homeless guy.
I know this doesn’t matters to everyone, but I also know some of you like to be aware of this so I’ll just let you that this is genuinely YA — there’s no sex at all, just some kissing. To be honest, I think I would have enjoyed this story even more if it had been set in college, rather than high school, but I still very much enjoyed it as it was. — Oh, also, I do wish there had been an epilogue. At the end, we’re left with the feeling that they’ve gotten through the worst of things and are on a path that will lead them to a future filled with happiness, but I would have loved to see some of that future in an additional chapter at the end.
I found this to be a really easy read, but one that kept my attention throughout. It’s very well-written and I read it in one sitting. There’s almost no angst and no unnecessary drama, but there are definitely some darker themes given his life on the street and the harsh realities of his situation. I’d honestly say this would be a great “recovery” read. If you’ve just come off either some really dark or intense reads, then this would be a great one to follow up with because there was nothing that made me sob or put my heart in my throat, but at the same time, it made me care for the characters and I really enjoyed reading their story.
Rating: 4 stars. Contemporary YA romance.