Author: Amanda Grace
Pages: 245 (Paperback)
Release Date: May 8, 2011
Tonight was so much worse than anything before it. Tonight he didn't stop after the first slap.
At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved — and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything — and everyone — in its path.
This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.
Wow. I read this through in one sitting; I just could not put it down. I'm not really sure where to start this review. I could start at the beginning, which is really the end, since the book starts off with the night everything went to hell. Everything in the apartment is smashed and broken, including Ann's wrist. Connor has disappeared in a fit of rage. It's obvious there's been a fight, but it's not clear how they got to that point. That's what the rest of the book is dedicated to. It goes backwards through their year together leading up to that night.
I think choosing to set up the story this way was a wise choice. It was much more interesting seeing how things got started, rather than the typical how things end up. We see things go from worse to better for Ann and Connor, but somehow their relationship seems to get even more unhealthy the further back we go. That's probably because we know how it ends up and can see the warning signs from the beginning. First impressions are not everything. Things started out innocent enough: picnics, bowling, board games. But way too fast they entered their own little world and became everything to each other and things just went downhill.
Occasionally, the past events are interrupted by that climatic night, and we see more of the aftermath of what he has done to her. Ann went from bubbly, and excited about life, to completely and utterly broken. It was so sad seeing how her life drastically changed because of one boy. It was even sadder how she judged Conner's mom for staying with his abusive dad, even though she was doing the exact same thing: thinking he'll change and she can fix him, and hoping next time will be different. Well, next time will be different; it'll be worse.