Benjamin Nefer seems to have it all. He’s the most popular guy in school, the star quarterback with college scouts looking at him, his grades are near the top of his class, he can get any girl he wants . . . but he hides behind his dream life to mask the nightmare of his reality.
Charlie Austin is the new girl. Forced to move in with a bitter aunt, she only wants to protect her fragile mom from the world’s cruelty. When Benjamin sets his sights on Charlie, she’s armored against his charm—friends warned her about Benjamin’s game of pursuing and then dumping a long line of girls, not caring about the broken hearts he leaves behind. She doesn’t count on how single-minded he can be when she refuses him, or how charismatic, easing into her life through what he claims is just friendship.
Benjamin thought he could keep Charlie in the same place he keeps all girls—something to be used and then discarded. But Charlie has as many secrets as he does, secrets he’s determined to discover while keeping his own hidden. He realizes she’s the perfect girlfriend candidate . . . someone he can use to keep up the façade of a perfect life. Now he just has to keep his frozen heart from softening toward this unique girl, because if he doesn’t, his carefully constructed lies might just come thundering down around him, crushing him beneath the burden of feeling.
A story of finding love, compassion, and understanding in the most seemingly hopeless of situations. Charlie has a somber and complicated home life. She has a chronic disease and is responsible for more than just herself. Benjamin has a deplorable home life. He puts on a façade that many, easily believe. But in actuality he is more or less a shell.
We are introduced fairly quickly to the struggles of both main characters, Charlie and Benjamin. Told in dual points of view as well as first person. It gives us the best perspective to appreciate everything the characters are going through. Being set in high school just gives another layer of feeling woven into the thick tapestry of emotions this story reveals. The first half, more or less, deals with Charlie’s home life and the second half is Benjamin’s.
I love hard to get romances! I love how the guy is completely flabbergasted that the girl isn’t falling over herself to get his attention 😉 I adored the fact that they started out as friends first. Instead of the regular, him really chasing after her and her just playing hard to get. Such a refreshing change of pace. There was no insta-love or anything like that, everything just unfolded naturally. Usually when I read books I’m always looking for that romance in the story. And most of the time gripe if there isn’t any in the book, but with this one…I was so enraptured with the Charlie and Benjamin’s story that I didn’t mind that there wasn’t anything more than a few kisses here and there.
I like that Benjamin was not a typical playboy. He didn’t “date” girls just to get in their panties but actually to appear normal. He didn’t think it was fair to make girls think that they stood a chance when he couldn’t give more. Knowing he couldn’t provide a regular relationship, since he would have to lie a lot about his personal life, he made sure to serial date.
What Charlie went through I can’t even contemplate…this story is definitely more than just a simple, boy likes girl and boy gets with girl young adult tale. This talks about real issues and the raw emotions no matter how hard and harsh they are. Charlie living through what she did would be hard for anyone but especially so much more for a teenage girl. These situations make you contemplate being in their shoes and make you tear up quite a bit too.
This whole story just pulls at your heartstrings. It makes you ache, root for, and love the characters. Benjamin definitely makes the best book boyfriend list. Even in the beginning when he wasn’t dating her yet, he still did this amazingly cute little things that just made you melt. ☺
The blurb gives you just a tiny itty bitty piece of the whole heart wrenching tale. I kind of thought it would be more on the light side of things instead heavy and a tad morose. I want to say so much more about this book! But I can’t without giving major spoilers away. But the last ending chapters man…just opened up the floodgates. Pretty much nonstop tears 😛
In this end this book was amazing! A fantastic young adult tale, really. The only thing I will say I was upset about was the epilogue. I really, really liked this book but there was no epilogue!!!! *cries* That really bugged me out…this isn’t a series so it isn’t like I get to have more of the characters later on!
I couldn't have said that better myself! Reading is huge passion of mine. And I'm glad that books not only expand my world view but that they bring the wonderful people who created them into my life. You can always find me with a book and an eclectic mix of music on. I am a HEA junkie extraordinaire! I am a Beta reader, who loves helping authors bring their characters to life. As well as an avid romance reader (every and anything ;D) turned aspiring author.