Cross posted from Incandescent.
Jaden McEntyre lives a life that is about as perfectly organized as you can make it. She has everything planned out from her next fundraiser for the children of Bangladesh to the next ten years of her life as she goes from Harvard to med-school and beyond. Her boyfriend Blake is sweet and popular and sends her good morning text messages every day and even if her contractor father hasn't gotten around to fixing her bathroom sink for the past couple years, she still knows her family loves her. Everything is fine until she's late for class one day and is assigned a partner for a group project: Parker Whalen.
Parker moved to town a few months ago and the rumors about his past are as outrageous as the motorcycle he rides to school every day. Jaden isn't sure if she believes even half of them, but she isn't about to let something as ridiculous as rumors keep her from getting an A on this project. She's extremely frustrated when Parker avoids speaking to her at first, but she eventually wears him down. Then it's only everyone else she has to worry about. Her boyfriend is jealous of, her parents are worried about, and her best friend is mystified by the time Jaden is suddenly spending with Parker. But Jaden is finding that the more time she spends with him, the less he seems like the devil-may-care rebel everyone else has him pinned as. When Jaden's plans for her future suddenly fall apart, Parker is there to help her reassemble the pieces, but what will happen when she discovers the secret he's been hiding for the past six months? Will she ever be able to move past it and trust him again or has their love been shattered just like her plans?
This book seems like the normal girl-falls-for-a-boy-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks story, but don't let that fool you. It's not. Klein's characters are interesting and relatable and she knows how to keep your interest right from the start. Jaden has never had anyone question her plans or her need for control, so when Parker starts pushing buttons she didn't know she had everything changes. The dynamic of Jaden's family is an interesting subplot--she's the youngest of three kids with two older brothers and a soon-to-be sister in law still living at home--and it's amazing how something as simple as a broken bathroom sink takes on grand proportions as it pops up again and again through the story. On top of all this, when you get to the twist ending you'll immediately want to go back and reread the whole book looking for the clues Klein leaves along the way like bread crumbs. The building relationship between Parker and Jaden is well developed with just the right amount of tension as both of them fight the pull for their own reasons. I found myself just as curious about and captivated by Parker as Jaden was and I think it would be fascinating to see pieces of the story from his perspective.
Overall, I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a contemporary YA romance with a twist. And also, I plan on rereading it. Just FYI. :)
Sera's Rating: 10/10