Published by Random House LLC Source: Netgalley
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.
When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellayla. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.
As I am sure most of the readers of my reviews know, I am not a huge fan of YA, occasionally one really catches my attention, but in general its hard for me to get super excited about a YA book. That being said, I definitely thought the premise for this book had promise, I liked the whole sisters aspect of it.
So from the synopsis we know that Nell and Layla are sisters, and for reasons I don’t agree with their parents held Nell back in school in order to give the two sisters some separation and more independent identities (personally it feels like Nell ends up being punished because they had kids close in age, but whatever I have no say). So the girls are two years apart in high school, and in spite of their closeness when they were young, they have clearly grown apart once they reach high school. Nell doesn’t really feel like she even knows Layla anymore, and Layla is hiding one whopper of a secret. The story is told from Nell’s POV so it’s easy to get to know her. I can certainly see aspects of her and her life that I could identify with, having come from a divorced family as well as being a high school girl at one time. I think she was a pretty good character, I liked that she was mature and thoughtful, and I liked that I could have easily seen a person like her at my school when I was in HS.
Again I wasn’t so much a fan of the parents in this story, it seems like they loved their children, but after the divorce it was like they couldn’t seem to make any of the right decisions about being good parents. But then again, lots of people give their kids way to my latitude in high school, so they certainly aren’t the only parents in the history of the world to make some mistakes, so it’s easy to overlook their, especially cause it’s pretty clear they do love/care about them.
As for Layla, I found her seriously unlikable. Maybe it’s because we never got a chance to experience things from her POV, but she really was quite unlikable in my opinion. Also I find teacher student relationships hard to handle at that age. It’s one thing when you are in college and you get involved with a teacher (yes its ethically wrong, and can be skeezy, but it’s not like it’s an underage person being involved with an adult). I think because the relationship was just creepy it made me angry that Nell didn’t tell, and that Layla was so blissfully naive about it, she was so annoying to me. She thinks her relationship is totally okay but at the same time knows she has to keep it a secret because its wrong, kinda contradictory.
All that being said, the reason why I ended up in the middle of the road about this book is because of the ending. I can honestly say that I am giving nothing away about the ending, because the ending almost gives you no conclusion to the story. It’s almost as if you get a little glimpse into these girls life and that’s it. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it.