If you are looking for a light read, this isn’t it. We meet Jenna after a terrible accident when she is being questioned by the police. She is sixteen-years-old and this isn’t even the first time she has been involved with the police. Years ago she almost died in a fire. The same policeman is with her in the hospital now, but can’t get her to talk. Instead of pushing, he gives her a tape recorder and tells her to explain everything at her own pace.
Jenna begins to tell her story. The story of her alcoholic mother and her psycho father. She used to be able to depend on her older brother, but he was shipped to Iraq. Now she only has his emails to keep her company.
Moving to a new school was supposed to be good for her. This school knows how to deal with troubled kids. She tries her best to keep things under control. She knows she shouldn’t cut, but sometimes that is the only thing that makes it better.
At school she meets Mitch Anderson. He is super nice and totally hot, but he is also a teacher at school. Mr. Anderson takes an interest in Jenna – seeing she needs some TLC. Soon they find they have a common interest in running and begin training together. She even agrees to join the Track team at school. Jenna’s feelings for Mitch intensify as they spend more time together and the fact that he’s a teacher isn’t the only thing causing problems. He’s also married, but it doesn’t stop their attraction from building.
Ilsa Bick weaves together a complex story of love and loss. There are many threads that all come together at the end. Bick gives the reader plenty of room to piece together what is going to happen. She makes you work for it and the reveal at the end is amazing and totally worth it. The only reason this book didn’t get 5 Glasses is because I thought the ending was a little abrupt.
I loved ASHES and as soon as I saw that Ilsa Bick wrote this one I immediately requested it from Netgalley. If you are a fan of edgy young adult literature then this is one you will definitely enjoy. If a story about a student-teacher relationship offends you – skip it!