When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her, she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate-someone who truly understands her and loves her for who she really is.
At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose - between her "true love" and herself.
The story is very honestly told from Alex's point-of-view as she experiences the overwhelmingly new feelings of falling in love. I was drawn into the story because I liked Alex's character-she's thoughtful, she's a poet, she's nice to her friends and a hard-worker and I felt terrible as she got pulled further into this destructive relationship, which ultimately alters her original redeeming qualities.
Even though I knew from the blurb that this was about an abusive relationship it still took me by surprise, which is how it happens in real life. (I know a little from personal experience-it is never pretty and they never get better. ) Alex is very excited when Cole notices her, asks to read her poetry and flirts with her. The middle of the story is filled with her anxiousness and I cheered when she started listening to others. Her family annoyed me, especially her dad, because they weren't paying attention. Her dad has had his head buried since mom took off years earlier. Georgia, Alex's boss at The Bread Bowl, is the one who seems to understand on a deeper level what Alex is experiencing. Her friends want to help, try to help but keep losing out in the conversation. It becomes an "us" or "him" game that has no good ending.
I'll admit it. I cried. I cried. I cried.
It's very well-written and the author's end note sums up just how she knows so much about abusive relationships...and it isn't how you think but it gave the book even more credence.
If you have the chance, take time to read Jennifer Brown's Bitter End, it is worth it!
Read Janssen's review of Hate List -makes me want to read it, even though it will be emotional as well.
I received my advanced reader's copy from the publisher, Little, Brown and Company, but this did not reflect in anyway on my review. I truly loved it and finished it in two days because I couldn't put it down. I look forward to other books by this new author.