My motivation to buy this was the Reblog Book Club on Tumblr is reading it. I haven't participated by way of making posts on my thoughts of this book on Tumblr, but I might eventually. I read through it all even though the schedule for reading it is 30 chapters each week, and right now the Reblog Book Club is on chapters 62-94. If you're on Tumblr, I recommend that blog! :@)
I don't know exactly where to start, so I'll start with stuff I liked. I like Hayley, she reminds me of myself as a freshman in high school, in that cynical angry teenage way. The book has a lot of great one-liners, many of my favorites being things I can imagine myself thinking or saying. At the beginning, I wanted to dislike her because she was so sour and cynical, but I couldn't deny that I never had high school related cynicism.
The love story was realistic, and sweet. If there was ever a point in the book that didn't seem realistic, I didn't mind. Maybe I'm a sucker for high school love stories, with their first kisses and sneaking around to see each other and the dynamic between two helpless young love birds.
I love her friend Gracie, I had her pictured in my head perfectly from the beginning based on things she said and did. I had her pictured better in my head than Hayley or Finn. She was well defined and definitely my favorite character of the entire story.
Hayley's dad scared me to bits. When he embarrassed Hayley, I felt embarrassment by proxy. I enjoyed that feeling even though it caused a few interesting scary dreams. I haven't read many books with a PTSD theme, so a lot of his actions and dialogue were new to me. If and when I read another PTSD related story, I imagine it'll be like reopening the wounds of reading about PTSD from Hayley's shoes. It's hard to not think about.
This book was easy to get into, and difficult to pull away from, which is an awesome feeling I haven't felt with a book in some time. I know this is crazy, but this if the first book I've read by Laurie Halse Anderson. I am very very pleased and want to read more by her. I closed the book (actually more like exited my book reading app because I read it in e-book) with feelings of curiosity, but the good kind.
While I enjoyed this book very much, it isn't necessarily a super favorite or anything. I loved reading about PTSD for the first time, the family issues, and the psychology of it all, but they're not my personal favorite things to read about. My rating of a 4 out of 5 is based on my own personal preferences of what I like to take out of a book, and not because this book isn't worthy of a 5 star, because it most certainly is.