Published by Harlequin TEEN on June 27th 2017
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I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.
India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.
But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…
Wow. Just, wow. Every time I get the chance to read a Sam Young book I change. It might not be a dramatic, life altering change, but there’s change nonetheless. That is not something that I welcome often. I’m a Cancer, and Cancer’s like consistency, we don’t like surprises, but there’s something about Sam’s writing that my soul craves and TIVoU fed my soul like it was The Last Supper.
India Maxwell has not had an easy life, but she has worked hard creating the perfect life in California with her mother, Hayley. She is the ‘it’ girl at her high school, involved in a ton of extra curricular activities and has her sights set on law school. She just has to keep up her charade a little longer….
India is hiding in plain sight. It’s what she does best. No one really knows who the real India is, and that’s exactly how she likes it. So it’s not welcomed news when her flake of a mother decides to uproot her perfectly crafted world in California and transplant her in upper crust, elite society Boston. The girl that once was known as trailer trash, turned PROM queen is now wearing Jimmy Choos and Prada.
India is incredibly vulnerable. She is at the bottom of the social status ladder and at the top is her future step-sister and her entire posse. Initially, Eloise appears to be a stuck-up Daddy’s girl, but India is an observer and she starts to see a lot more than Eloise’s hard exterior. We start to learn a lot more about India’s past with her abusive father and how this has strained her and her mother’s relationship. Now thrown into this new family dynamic, India is confused and scared to let others in. Especially, Finn, Eloise’s broody boyfriend.
We soon learn that EVERYONE has a secret. These characters have so much depth and complexity! UGH! I hurt so bad for everyone. Each person had their own battles that they were fighting on their on, but once India showed up at the scene, they didn’t have to fight alone. They could fight together.
I’ll be honest. When I finished this book, I wasn’t sure how I felt. I needed a little downtime to let it mellow first. But as I went to bed that night, I just couldn’t stop thinking about how I hope that I can live my life like India. Fighting against fear because it’s for the greater good. She is definitely one of my top five favorite YA heroines of ALL TIME. To say that she is strong is an understatement. She is selfless. Incredibly selfless.
I didn’t even talk about the romance yet! AGH!!! Finn and India! Wow. These two had an incredibly deep connection, only one that heartbreak can create. Sam did such a wonderful spin on this threesome dynamic. But to make sure that you understand, THIS IS NOT A LOVE TRIANGLE!!! Intrigued? You should be, because I didn’t know how she was going to pull this off.
I’m a bit of a HEA whore. I like a nice and neatly wrapped bow to put on top of the perfectly wrapped present. Did I get that? Not exactly. I can see how the ending is frustrating and elusive, but the REAL message in this book is definitely loud and clear. Even if it doesn’t look like it from the outside, I think if you look closely enough you’ll see the right ending is the happy ending.
One of the things that I love most about Sam is that she is the queen of the novellas! Every novella that she has written has been amazing, therefore I really hope that she considers writing a novella for India, Finn and Eloise. What I REALLY would like to see is Bryce get her own book. I would love to see Sam do something amazing with this character!
I can’t recommend this book enough, but go in knowing that this is not your typical HEA, which I don’t mind for YA, but was still a little disappointed. Happy reading!
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“This is Jay,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest in defiance at the stern look on her face.
I hated when she acted like she gave a crap.
“I don’t care who he is.” Hayley tried to fry his ass with her eyes. “You can leave.”
Jay stared back at her with as much defiance as I did, making me like him more. He turned to me and pressed a slow, intimate kiss to the corner of my mouth. “See you at school, babe.”
He laughed at the mischief in my eyes.
I waited until he’d brushed by Hayley without a word and I heard the front door close behind him. “Nice. Thanks.”
Hayley’s dark eyes narrowed into slits. “Don’t talk to me like that. I’m tired, it’s been a long day and now I come home and find my daughter being mauled by some walking hormone. Am I supposed to be happy that you’re dating some guy who looks like he’s seen the inside of prison more than once?”
“We’re not dating. We’re just fooling around.”
“Oh, well, then, why am I so upset?” She threw her hands up in exasperation.
She flinched, like she always flinched when I called her by her name (so she flinched a lot). “Don’t ‘Hayley’ me. I have a right to be upset about this.”
“Don’t be. I’m not serious about him. And I’m not getting pregnant. Anyway, you’re home early.”
“They put me on a shorter flight.” She dumped her purse on the couch as she moved farther into the room. “We’ll discuss Jay later. I need to tell you something.”
I tensed. “Yeah?”
She stared pensively at me for a few seconds before finally taking a seat by my side. “I’ve met someone.”
Dread instantly filled me.
Scrutinizing me for a reaction and getting none, Hayley smiled reassuringly. “He’s wonderful. His name is Theo and he has a daughter who’s actually your age. He lives in Boston. We met on one of my flights out there.”
My stomach churned. “How long?”
“Several months ago.”
“I knew something was going on,” I muttered.
“I’m sorry I kept it from you for so long… I just wanted to make sure it was real between us.”
“And is it?”
“Very much so. We’ve fallen in love.”
“That’s some long-distance relationship.”
“I stay with him when I fly out there. I see him as often as possible.”
I snorted. “And you think he’s faithful all the times you’re not around?”
“Don’t.” She cut a hand through the air. “Those are your trust issues, India. Not mine.”
My blood boiled with indignation. She was completely naïve if she thought for one second this guy wasn’t’ a loser. She had chosen badly before, after all. I had a right to the dread that was making me feel sick.
“I just wanted to give you a heads-up that it’s serious.”
“What does that even mean?”
“It means that if this is going where I think it’s going, then that might mean a big life change for us.”
I stared at her in horror.
Hayley sighed wearily at the expression I wasn’t even trying to conceal. “I’m going to make a cup of tea. I’m tired so we’ll talk about Jay another time.” She turned but then stopped to stare at me sadly. “Thanks for being so happy for me, by the way.”
That didn’t even deserve a response.
There was a time Hayley couldn’t give a damn about my happiness. I felt it only fair that I feel apathetic now about hers.
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