The last Kody Keplinger book I read was The Duff and since then I’ve been wanting to read more of her books so when I heard she was releasing a new book, I was very intrigued to read it despite the mixed reviews that were surrounding it. And despite all the mixed reviews, I actually ended up really enjoying this book. I really enjoyed the dual narrative in this book and the way it mixes timelines to create a more interesting storyline. This could have easily become confusing and muddled, but it didn’t, and definitely enhanced the story. I really liked the fact that the book tackled disability, especially since the author has the disability herself and therefore knew what she was talking about. The characters definitely weren’t the most complex and developed that I’ve ever read about and some of the relationships did feel quite forced but overall, I really enjoyed the story and flew through this book in a matter of days.
Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and an alcoholic mom. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Agnes Atwood has never stayed out past ten p.m., never gone on a date and never broken any of her parents’ overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally-blind daughter, but Agnes isn’t quite sure what they are protecting her from. Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it’s the sort of friendship that runs more deeply than anything else. But when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, police sirens wailing in the distance, Agnes is faced with the biggest choice she’s ever had to make. Run, or stay?
The two main characters of this book Bo and Agnes where very enjoyable characters to read about were certainly not the most creative or imaginative characters that I’ve ever come across. And while the story was original, I felt as though I’d read about these characters somewhere before. I actually really liked Bo’s character and I would have liked to have seen her character develop more and possibly even see her without Agnes and see more of her tough, strong-willed yet loyal character. And while I give Kody Keplinger kudos for featuring a main character with a disability, I just couldn’t get on board with her character fully. I didn’t feel connected to her and I didn’t really care about what happened to her. And as for the rest of the characters, I felt like they all could have used some developing and further fleshing out – they all felt rather 2-dimensional and bland.
However, something I heartily enjoyed was this story’s format. I know that some people might have a problem with the jumping between characters and timelines but I thought that it enhanced the story and made it more exciting and it also increased the pace of the book. I managed to fly through this book in a matter of days and I think this was largely down to the format of the book. And this book certainly isn’t short – it’s over 300 pages. And in these 300 pages, not a lot seemed to happen in terms of plot. It was a very simple, but enjoyable, storyline and I think that maybe some extra pages could have gone into fleshing out some of the side characters and developing some of the major characters. I know that the author conducted a lot of research, she lives with the disability Agnes deals with and lived a similar setting to where the book takes place, but I just think this book needed to be fleshed out a little more.
Overall, I’d give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars, but I’d round it up to a 4. I really enjoyed the story and the pace of the book, and the way that this book tackled disability. I would have liked to see some more developed characters and interesting backstories but it still made a very enjoyable read.