Simon Pulse; April 2011
I purchased this book after reading some great reviews on it, reading an interview with the author, and because of the story line. I can say that it surpassed my expectations.
Clara meets Christian at a basketball game and its immediate attraction for both. Only as the story moves forward does that attraction turn into obsessiveness. It alternates with us meeting Christian and how the love between him and Clara unfolds. In the beginning, Christian is all that a teenage girl could want, he's attractive, he's sweet, he knows just what to say and when to say it... then slowly he changes. The alternating chapters are those of which Clara and her dad have left town to escape the past and try to move forward.
Clara was a character that I could totally relate to. She was a normal teenage girl looking forward to her senior year of high school, hanging out with friends, moving off to college etc. She was realistic, strong, and had determination.
Christian was easy to fall for in the beginning. But soon the truth unfolded slowly and he became controlling, manipulative, dark and bitter. He has secrets that he hides and hides them well.
Caletti does a wonderful job in bringing the abusive relationship in slowly, the writing was amazing, and all of the characters come to life as you are anticipating what is going to happen next... will we run, is there really someone watching, why do we have to lie to protect others, to protect ourselves?
If you have never been in an abusive relationship it's easy to say "just leave" or "I wouldn't put up with that". The story shows how easy it is to become sucked into a relationship and fall for someone who is abusive and not want to leave even though you know you have to. You have to leave for your own protection and your own sanity.
I recommend this book to teens who are just beginning to date, to adults who are dating and have that little voice telling them something may not be just right, and to parents of those same people so that they can have an open and honest discussion about how love is not supposed to hurt, be abusive, controlling or manipulative.