And since this is a review, I'll try my best not to put my feelings much into this but more of my unbiased opinion.
I actually won an ARC or an Advance Uncorrected Proof (as called by the publisher) in TheReadingRoom.com and my first impression is the cover of the book is beautiful! The cover of the ARC and the actual book is very different, so I'm pretty sure the actual book is way more beautiful. I also love the title page seen inside the book.
This book is actually narrated by one of the main characters, Eden Moore. And that's it. From reading the book description, I actually thought that both Eden and Ash will be the one to narrate this. I'm not sure if it was just me, but the book description just gives the feeling that it was a two-person narrative.
Now, let's get on with the book. This book has so much more to offer than Ash and Eden's love story and their battle in school. It also shares about family and the problems that comes with it, friendship and the beauty of it, racism and the unfairness of it, and also insecurities and the nightmares of it. And more that I haven't mentioned.
Family was such a huge factor in this story. It's something that defines Eden, which is unfair because she's way more than that. And it is also the reason why she's really closed and away from other people her age. Her family has some good points too! I truly loved Marnie, the only family member that Eden has that actually loves her. Her dad, Byron, in the mean time is a problem. And it was kind of disappointing that Boone wasn't much of anything in Eden's story. If anything, Boone is just a model to show the reader on what their father wants on how Eden should be. Aside from her family, she also found a family with the children that she babysits and with her friend, Mundy and her family.
Since I mentioned Mundy, the friendship that she and Eden share together is one of the best friendships that I've read in a book ever. You know how you have best friends that you can share secrets with but you cannot share the depths of your soul with. Or how you have best friends that even though you like them, you feel like you're still wearing a mask in front of them... That's definitely NOT Eden and Mundy. They are not fake with each other and even though they get on each others nerves they still love each other and. They don't do all the mushy friendship stuff and that's just how they are. I just truly love Mundy as a person but I love Mundy more because she's Eden's friend. And then there's Sawyer. Oh my gosh! Sawyer! He totally tugged my heart. He's not exactly friends with Eden. At first I really thought that Sawyer just takes pity on Eden, but it's not. They're not the type of friends that hang out all the time but they're the type of friends that have each others backs all the time and I love it.
Race is definitely one of the topics that are present in this story. And I have to admit I have a new respect with Indian culture. The culture is not deeply tackled here but I understand how they value education and their immigrant status.
Education plays such a huge part in this story. I love the fact that the author explains so much more onto their classes or their school or their future education. I mean, I just don't see a lot of involvement of schools and education in a lot of YA contemporary books lately. And that's the thing young adults are students too! Minus the fact that both Ash and Eden are smart kids, education is something that is strived for as much as striving for love.
I also mentioned above about insecurities. And Eden have so much of that even though she doesn't show it. Without giving away much, she has every reason why she stays away with people her age and why she chose to bury herself in her studies. And her being with Ash kind of adds more flames to her insecurities.
And now we've reached Ash and Eden's relationship. Wow! I said I'll try to keep my emotions away from this review but the feels though! And the things that they went through was just something else. Their relationship is something that I can definitely compare to a very realistic one. Their attraction for each other definitely started from what they see on the outside. And their relationship continued like that too. Sometimes I feel like it was all lust though. I guess that's understandable because Ash is still a seventeen year old boy. But you also see how their relationship progress to something deeper. There are times that Ash really sucked at being there for Eden, but I also realize that it's the sad reality. This is definitely the type of book that you, the reader, have no control of the story and it won't go the way you want it. This book is definitely not cliché.
All in all, the book is amazing! I'll definitely reread this if I have time again cause it's definitely worth it and I truly fell in love with the characters. You cannot stop rooting not just for Eden and Ash but to each and everyone of them.
I won an ARC copy of this book in TheReadingRoom.com and as a thank you to the author, publisher and the site I give them an honest review.
~emotional message about family, friends and relationships