By Elana K. Arnold
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Source: PublisherGrowing up on Catalina Island, off the California coast, Scarlett Wenderoth has led a fairly isolated life. After her brother dies, her isolation deepens as she withdraws into herself, shutting out her friends and boyfriend. Her parents, shattered by their own sorrow, fail to notice Scarlett's pain and sudden alarming thinness. Scarlett finds pleasure only on her horse, escaping to the heart of the island on long, solitary rides. One day, as she races around a bend, Scarlett is startled by a boy who raises his hand in warning and says one word: "Stop."
The boy—intense, beautiful—is Will Cohen, a newcomer to the island. For reasons he can't or won't explain, he's drawn to Scarlett and feels compelled to keep her safe. To keep her from wasting away. His meddling irritates Scarlett, though she can't deny her attraction to him. As their relationship blossoms into love, Scarlett's body slowly awakens at Will's touch. But just when her grief begins to ebb, she makes a startling discovery about Will, a discovery he's been grappling with himself. A discovery that threatens to force them apart. And if it does, Scarlett fears she will unravel all over again.
Scarlett's brother just died and her family is in pieces; her mother never leaves her room while her dad tries to hold everyone together. As they try to move on, Scarlett finds herself wasting away, literally. She becomes obsessed with her eating habits and just can't seem to let anyone back in the way she used to. Until Will Cohen shows up. Will appears everywhere she goes, even when she agrees to get back together with her boyfriend Andy, who she was dating before her brother died. There's just something about Will that intrigues Scarlett and he just might be the key for putting Scarlett's life back together.
The idea behind this book held so much potential, but I just couldn't connect with Scarlett. There was one major thing that bothered me the most: her clothes. The author constantly mentioned how she wore dresses/skirts with jeans and flip-flops. And Scarlett was one of the most popular girls in school. I don't know where the author went to school, but no one I knew dressed like that. Jeans underneath a dress with flipflops is just not a good combination (sorry if any of you wear that, but I'm just not a fan....) and I couldn't get past how awful she must have looked in the scenes she wore those outfits. Then, there was the whole eating disorder/harming herself part of the story. I didn't really get why Scarlett did those things to herself and how that issue is resolved seems just too abrupt and clean cut. Then, there's her relationship with Andy. She isn't all that into him anymore, yet she still agrees to continue dating him and acting like she really liked him. That part just got really annoying and I couldn't find myself sympathizing with Scarlett like I knew the author wanted the reader to. Will was an okay character, but the whole Jewish religious stuff his dad made Scarlett question and read about was a little boring and I didn't care for it.
Maybe all of those details are just little things that would annoy only me, but they were big enough to distract me from actually enjoying the story. If you don't think the details I mentioned would bother you, then you should definitely check out this book. But if you're easily annoyed with the specifics and too much religious/philosophical talk, then I'd say you should take a pass at this one.