An exciting debut contemporary young adult novel perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Mary H. K. Choi Grace Welles had resigned herself to the particular loneliness of being fifteen and stuck at a third-tier boarding school in the swamps of Florida, when she accidentally saves the new kid in her class from being beat up. With a single aim of a slingshot, the monotonous mathematics of her life are obliterated forever…because now there is this boy she never asked for. Wade Scholfield. With Wade, Grace discovers a new way to exist. School rules are optional, life is bizarrely perfect, and conversations about wormholes can lead to make-out sessions that disrupt any logical stream of thoughts. So why does Grace crush Wade’s heart into a million tiny pieces? And what are her options when she finally realizes that 1. The universe doesn’t revolve around her, and 2. Wade has been hiding a dark secret. Is Grace the only person unhinged enough to save him? Acidly funny and compulsively readable, Mercedes Helnwein’s debut novel Slingshot is a story about two people finding each other and then screwing it all up. See also: soulmate, friendship, stupidity, sex, bad poetry, and all the indignities of being in love for the first time.
This book has a fresh perspective and voice that readers are either going to love or hate. Gracie is tough. She’s terrible at apologizing, has a massive chip on her shoulder, and is generally mean. In fact, she’s probably her own worst enemy. That being said, her attitude is a means to cope with life and to protect herself from it. For some, this could make her difficult to read, but for me, it made her utterly human, even when her behavior was frustrating. I would’ve liked to see her undergo a bigger change in the end, but in real life, most of us don’t wake up one day monumentally different. It happens slowly, over time.
Besides that, the ending in general left a bit to be desired. Not a single plotline was tied up nicely with a bow, except for maybe the one with Mr. Sorrentino. At minimum, we do know the characters are going to be okay, and in a way, this outcome is poetic as it matches Gracie’s own journey and again, real life. However, I was so emotionally invested in the novel that I needed a bit more to feel fully satisfied. There seems to be so much story left to be told, and I want to know more about where all the characters land, particularly Wade, Derek, Gracie, and her mom. I’d love to read a sequel.
That being said, if you’re looking for a contemporary romance that will make you ache for days with surprising plot twists and complex characters, you should definitely read SLINGSHOT. I couldn’t put this book down, so much so that I stayed up all night reading it. I had to find out what was going to happen, and days later, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
Some of the content is mature, so I’d recommend it for an older YA group.
Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC.