Shy, awkward Adam is resigned to sit on the sidelines of life, overshadowed by his outgoing and popular twin brother, Aaron. Adam James’ life is far from perfect. A deeply internal person, Adam is silently confused about his lot in life, including life after high school. A talented drummer from a small suburb of Chicago, Adam keeps to himself, downplaying his abilities, thinking that he is less than all those around him. By living a life of moderate isolation coupled with his ambivalence toward most people, he is unable to gain new perspectives on himself. But when a free-spirited new girl with a troubled past moves in across the street, Adam’s eyes are opened to a new world of possibilities. Olivia Cartwright is a fun-loving, beautiful girl whose philosophies on life give her a deeper understanding of the world around her. Previously living a semi-nomadic life, Olivia is out of her element in the quiet, slow-moving suburb of Lakeside, Illinois. An instant connection between Adam and Olivia draws them closer, but why would anyone choose him when a better version exists? What will happen when Adam’s outgoing twin Aaron takes an interest in Olivia as well? Adam has a choice to make: Keep his relationship with Olivia merely friends or fight to take it further, keep safely within the dormant cocoon he’s lived in for years or find and cultivate all of his good qualities. Which will he choose?
Will the friendship with Olivia change him? Will he adopt her philosophies, or will he continue to close himself off in his own world? It seems Adam has a lot to learn about love….and life.
N.K. Smith stepped me into a machine and turned back the hand of time. High school. What is about those two words that make us cringe? Well, at least for me it does and it’s a time I’d rather not remember but this book brought me back to an awkward few years of my life. One word: UGH!!!! It’s a time when you become painfully aware of what your flaws are, who you aren’t, who you wish to become and it doesn’t matter if you are one of the cool kids or not. High school is like serving a sentence for a crime you didn’t commit, adolescence.
I was in Adam’s head so much that I felt his every emotion but I also wanted to be in Olivia’s head. It’s not too often an author can get that right, doing the whole “her POV” and “his POV” and I’m not usually a fan of it BUT in this case I would have wanted the author to risk it. There were moments in the first two chapters that I thought were a little slow but before I knew it, the story started to unfold and I was captivated.
As you enter the world that is everything Adam, you begin to realize how incredibly lonely he is. Not only is he living in the shadow of his popular and good-looking twin but he’s trying to figure out who his. You sense his insecurity every step of the way and he’s reminded of his inadequacies every time he sees his brother interacting with the opposite sex. The art of conversation and flirtation is completely lost on Adam when it comes to the ladies.
Enter Olivia. Olivia is the type of person you can only pray to meet in your lifetime. She’s the kind of person that inspires change, forgiveness, appreciation for all the little and beautiful things in life. This is the kind of impact she has on Adam. The deep friendship and love that blossom’s from this relationship is so beautiful and fragile that it’s heart breaking.
There is an element of mystery that keeps you intrigued and suddenly you realize that you can’t read fast enough. You want to discover the meaning behind the cryptic statements that are made by Olivia but you get the sense, whatever it is…it’s major!
The heartbreak that I experienced in this book is unlike any other I have felt before. It stayed with me, to the point I wanted to talk to anyone who would listen but it would be lost on those who didn’t read the book. I felt every emotion that Adam felt. His isolation, anger, happiness, heartbreak, sadness…I felt EVERYTHING. N.K. Smith brilliantly took me back to an awkward time in my life and then she had me experience Adam and Olivia’s heart wrenching story. I didn’t expect to cry as much as I did and I hated that I loved crying so much! The epilogue even moved me to tears!!!
“Stop looking at me like that,” she whispered.
“I can’t.” I could barely say it. I could barely breathe. I wanted to look at her for the rest of my life. Reaching a hand up, I ran just the tips of my fingers through her hair. Most of it was down, but just a few strands were pulled up away from her face. It was the perfect hair for the perfect dress, worn by the perfect girl.”
My final two cents: This book is beyond moving. It’s worth every penny and worth every tear I shed!