Jolene is a pawn in her parents' horrible divorce game. They hate each other, and since they each felt like the other wanted her, they are fighting over her visitation constantly. Her mother is emotionally and at times physically abusive, and her father is completely negligent, working the whole weekend when she is at the apartment- an apartment he got to show how poor he was, even though her mother is convinced that he is hiding money away (and he very well might be). Instead, Jolene spends the time with his girlfriend, Shelly, who is not much older than Jolene and was, in fact, the reason her parents divorced.
Jolene and Adam are on a collision course, and their friendship is the thing that makes their weekends at the terrible apartment complex worthwhile. The friendship is developing into love, but each are broken by their lives in ways that will need to be healed before they can forge forward.
What I loved: This book is really deep and thoughtful, not shying away from neglect, abuse (parental and relationship through a friend), and the mental/emotional toll these can have. The book also tackles grieving the death of a loved one and the challenges of healing. Towards the end, and this may be a spoiler (but it also deserves a warning), it also tackles sexual assault and the need to trust your gut.
It is hard to describe how deeply this book can resonate on so many levels. Because it takes on so many heavy topics, it is also a challenging read- but so very worthwhile. The characters are fully realized and Adam and Jolene leap off the page.
Final verdict: Heartfelt and soul-probing, this is a book that will leave readers with a heady book hangover- that is so very worth it.