SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL:
Arizona teen Emma Lorde has a complicated home life. Her parents have divorced, and she’s furious with her mother, whose infidelity was a factor in the marriage’s dissolution. Emma moved across the state to live with her dad, whose binge drinking has become a big liability. But she believes she has found salvation in her boyfriend, Dillon, who provides her with a safe place and shared friends at school and has made a commitment to be with her forever. Dillon’s life is also difficult, though, and when Emma receives a dream opportunity for a study abroad program, his surprising negative reaction begins the downward spiral of their relationship. As he starts to question Emma’s devotion to him, love turns into manipulation and abuse. With a fresh voice, Dominy adeptly depicts how love can grow dark and that abuse isn’t always physical. Never gratuitous, the strong language and sexual situations add to the authenticity of the narrative. VERDICT Teens looking for stories of romance gone wrong will enjoy this quick read. A good purchase for most YA collections.
Emma Lorde knows she’s a lucky girl because her hunky boyfriend, popular Dillon Hobbs, loves her without question. That’s the only thing that is right in her life after her parents’ messy divorce and her
subsequent move halfway across Arizona with her father. But big problems face Emma as her senior year slides into its second semester and life at home grows more complicated. When Emma is tapped for an amazing opportunity to apply for an archaeological internship in Rome—the profession and city of her dreams—Dillon slowly reveals just how needy and possessive of her he is. As Emma grapples with having to choose between the internship and her boyfriend, she finds herself in a dangerous place where she and Dillon could lose their lives. Emma proves a likable protagonist, and her unhealthy relationship with Dillon easily lends itself to further discussion. This taut thriller unrolls hidden messages of abusive relationships with a sharp edge and well-drawn gray areas, leaving readers on the edge of their seats.
Teenage relationships are intense to begin with—but what happens when your boyfriend becomes too intense?
Emma Lorde’s future is all set: in a few months, she’ll start at Arizona State University, studying archaeology and living in the same dorm as her boyfriend, Dillon. Finding Dillon saved Emma when her parents’ marriage broke up due to her mother’s infidelity. Then she’s given an opportunity to apply for a yearlong internship in Rome. Instead of being happy and excited for her, Dillon freaks out: it must mean she’s leaving him. Emma doesn’t understand Dillon’s reaction—or the way his behavior slowly, menacingly escalates. While where Dillon eventually goes is fairly predictable, the steps he takes to get there, as described in Emma’s first-person narration, are increasingly terrifying, ratcheting up the tension. Emma keeps thinking, “how could it be bad—it’s love and love is good.” When Dillon snaps, however, Emma will be forced to choose: herself or Dillon. In this delicate, tense exploration of teenage relationship abuse, both the slow progression of Dillon’s illness and Emma’s refusal to see the signs until it is nearly too late ring true. The violence is handled sensitively, and readers are left hopeful for Emma’s recovery. A perceptive portrait of relationship abuse.
“I work for a domestic violence non-profit (domesticshelters.org), and rarely have time to read books. I could not put this book down! Amy Fellner Dominy does an excellent job of portraying that not all domestic violence is physical; that it can be (and more often is) emotional too. It’s all about the abuser’s control over their victim. A gripping fictional story that is a great read for teens and adults alike!” —Anita Hildreth, Executive Director, Theresa’s Fund, Domesticshelters.org
“Was lucky to read an early version of this book and I LOVED IT! Dominy shows the deceptively innocent way one can find themselves in a bad situation.” —Terry Lynn Johnson, author of ICE DOGS
“I can’t recommend it enough and, IMHO, it has one of the best very endings I’ve read in recent years. The last sentences took my breath away….” —Gae Polisner, author of The Memory of Things
Though this is a gut-wrenching, important topic, the story is gripping. Brava, Amy! I highly recommend this novel!” —Liza Wiemer, author of HELLO?