Hmm, what to say.
Well first this feels like a bit of a rip off of the film A Walk to Remember (albeit that was based on the Nicholas Sparks novel and is a five-hanky weepy). Maybe it's just the bad boy and the preacher's daughter.
I find it hard to believe that Katie Ashley taught English when the book is peppered with misuse of that tiny preposition "a". All I can assume is that she is channelling a dialect? The characters say things like "you got cut over your eye" – OK, that's not a great example because in that case "cut" could be a verb. But in a lot of sentences the word "a" was missing and in others the word was inserted inappropriately. Such a small word but so crucial!
So, there was a lot of talk about man-whores and bad boys but actually the book was very PG (not an issue just an observation).
Noah's best friend, Jake, dies in a freak accident leaving a mystery – who is the girl he was in love with? Jake apparently slept with most of the girls in High School so Noah's quest to find her is difficult. Could it be Presley the town's party girl? Or her arch rival in the "popular girl at school" stakes? Or could it be Maddie the sweet, innocent daughter of the pastor who tutored Jake? Add in a sick child, a single mother and a dead-beat dad to spice the mix up.
So there are no real surprises, there is a lot going on which makes everything just a bit shallow – Maddie asks Noah how he feels a few times and charges him a quarter every time he curses [irrelevant question here why does Noah get pulled up for saying "shitty" but "crappy" is deemed a suitable alternative? They mean exactly the same (excrement)!]. Apparently that is enough for a teenage boy to fall in love with you.
There is also the requisite getting drunk at a party and stripping off/propositioning scene – it seemed completely out of character and random.
All in all, I think it was a pretty short book for Noah to deal with finding out the truth about his best friend change of heart, finding out who his best friend was in love with, reconciling himself to his grandfather's death, reconciling himself to his mother's marriage and pregnancy, reconciling himself to developing a relationship with his absentee father
and having feelings for Maddie. And everybody was just so nice, even the nasty girls were (relatively) nice.
Katie Ashley tells her story well, although I doubt many teenage boys are quite so articulate about their feelings, but she doesn't have enough depths, enough light and shade, or correct use of the word "a". I didn't really empathise with Noah and Maddie was an enigma – I had no feelings about her at all.