I’m so glad I’m not a teenager anymore, when everything is so important, so raw, and more often than not feels like a matter of life and death. This book took me right back to that time, although in my real teenage years I didn’t have to deal with half of what Quinn has to deal with.
At 17, Quinn’s whole life is swimming. She hopes to qualify for the Olympics in Rio after failing to make it to London when she was 15 and is working her ass off to bring a medal or more from the World Championships in Russia. That should be enough to impress anyone but it doesn’t stop the high school mean girl from bullying her and no one seems to be able to stand up to her, least of all Quinn’s twin brother, Liam, who’s one of the cool kids. As if that wasn’t enough, Kennedy, Quinn’s former best friend and the first girl to ever kiss her, suddenly finds her way back into her life, after having ignored her for the better part of high school.
It’s probably the first time I read a second chance romance where the main characters are teenagers. And the way this one goes, Quinn and Kennedy might need a third chance later on.
What I like in YA novels is the rollercoaster of feelings: discovering oneself, not just one’s sexual orientation but who one is or will be, is a complex journey for most people. My favorite YA novels are the ones that make me cry one moment and feel that life is going to be good the next. This one definitely delivered on that front. I’m not a fan of the ending, but that’s on me. I always wish for the ending to be HEA or at least HFN but what I wish for is not always what fits best in a book. So while I was a bit disappointed here, this ending is completely realistic and logical.
I wish the author had gone deeper into the relationship between Quinn and Liam, but I really liked the friendship between Quinn and straight friend Gabriel and everything about Quinn’s swimming. I also like how the book deals with coming out, falling for someone who is not out, the various ways parents react to their kid coming out… I’m writing this a lot these days, but I’m so impressed with a lot of debut novels at the moment, and I’m really looking forward to what’s coming next.