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KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website, katielmcgarry.com, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.
Tattooed, pierced "skater girl" Beth and high school baseball star Ryan narrate alternating chapters of this coming-of-age love story that begins with a dare and escalates into a gritty and erotic trust-building exercise. The staid suburbs of Louisville, Ky., and the city's perilous underbelly provide divergent backdrops to the story's emotional and physical dangers. Raised on opposite sides of the tracks, both teens contend with selfish, manipulative parents who use their children to satisfy their own desires; both also have mentors and family members offering guidance and support. While threats to undermine the couple's growing affection come in multiple forms (Ryan's appearance-obsessed community, Beth's compulsive efforts to rescue her drug-addicted mother) McGarry (Pushing the Limits) captures their greatest obstacle: the aching vulnerability underlying Beth's tough exterior: "Fairy-tales happen, just not to me. Time to tell the prince he rescued the wrong girl." Sex, drugs, profanity, and violence, as well as subplots about loved ones who escaped town for emotional survival, heighten the dramatic tension but don't disguise the wholesome, girl-next-door quality of this well-paced, satisfying romance. Ages 14-up. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 10 Up-Narrated from alternating viewpoints, this contemporary novel tells the story of 17-year-old Beth, a troubled "skater girl" with a hard past, and Ryan, a high school jock with a seemingly perfect life. It all starts at a Taco Bell in Louisville, Kentucky, when Ryan's friends dare him to get Beth's phone number, and she turns him down. Their lives become intertwined after she is uprooted from her abusive home by her uncle and is forced to move to a small town and transfer to Ryan's school. At first he sees it as an opportunity to win the dare, but she resists his offers of friendship. Nonetheless, the two gradually fall in love and learn to trust each other with their secrets, which is equally difficult for both of them. The characters are well developed. The use of drugs, profanity, and violence make this title edgier than a typical teen romance. The plot often feels drawn out, and Beth's constant attempts to run away throughout the book will likely frustrate readers. However, young romantics should find the story engaging.-Candyce Pruitt-Goddard, Hartford Public Library, CT (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
'The love story of the year' Teen Now 'A real page-turner' Mizz