Ryan is expected to play ball and date Gwen. That's it.His father has put immense pressure on him to focus on baseball and date a "good girl" like Gwen. The pressure has gotten worse since Mark, Ryan's older brother came out of the closet.Ryan's family has all but abandoned Mark for something that he cannot control.
Then we have Beth. Hardcore Beth who we saw a bit of in Pushing The Limits. The Beth that a lot of us were convinced would end up with Isaiah. I think that was part of my initial issues with her and Ryan. I couldn't get the idea of her and Isaiah out of my head.Beth's had a hard life. She's had to play the adult to her mother since she was pretty young.She feels like it's her responsibility to do that because her mom didn't leave her.
It takes just about the entire book for her to realize that she is not responsible for her mother's behavior. Her mother chooses that life. Her mother would rather have a violent drug dealer as a boyfriend than get away and be safe with Beth. Watching Beth realize all of this was gut wrenching. Watching her lean on Ryan was amazing to watch. In the past, her self esteem was in the toilet. She never felt like she was good enough for anyone. Which is why, when rumor swirl around the school about her past, she goes back to believing that she's not good enough.
"I love how he can smooth away the roughness and make me feel like someone worth loving." -Beth
At the end of the book there is a particularly heartbreaking scene that had me in tears, actually more like violent sobs. It wrecked me in the best possible way. It's no secret that I like books that give me the feels and this book did that.
It took me awhile to warm up to Ryan but once I did, I really liked him. I also really liked that he called her by her name and NOT some stupid nickname. Beth remained my favorite character throughout this book.While I couldn't relate to her, I could empathize with her.
I wish we had seen more of Ryan's brother Mark, but what we did see of him, I liked. I really liked how Beth worked to get Ryan and Mark on speaking terms again.
"Grow a pair of balls, that's what I would have done. God, Ryan, you are an asshole.Your brother is gay and you toss him out of your life because you are too much of a pansy to stand up to your father." -Beth
Ryan's friends Chris, Lacy & Logan all seemed like a good crowd. They supported each other and they were always willing to help each other out. The dares that were part of the friendship took a backseat to true friendship which I loved.
This book was near perfect for me. I am giving it 4.5 stars. I am taking off a half a star mostly because it took me nearly half the book to warm up to Ryan. If you haven't read this series yet, then you need to and soon.