As I said 23% through this book, it hits most of my previously mentioned NA/YA themes:
1 Written in the first person POV - check
2 Obsession with describing clothes, hair and make-up of all protagonists – a bit
3 Angst – check, check, check
4 Arts - one of them is a dancer or a musician or a singer and/or a tattoo artist - check
5 Tattoos and/or piercings generally - check
6 Both protagonists being, quite frankly, as thick as pig shit. – No!!
7 Usually explicit sex scenes and/or obsession with the heroine's V-Card – Not really
8 Having stupid names – Cam and Avery – the Jury is still out on these two
9 The guy giving the girl a stupid nickname – sweetheart (low on the annoyance factor)
10 Someone has oodles of money – enough for a teenager to buy a house/car/ring - check
11 Some sort of stupid bet – Not so much
12 Ridiculous eye colours/descriptions – check
But, I kind of liked it. It felt a bit Mean Girls at the start with the gay friend and the friend (who is a girl) with the heavy make-up (or I could just be channelling Mean Girls), but that wore off. Some of the peripheral characters felt a bit two-dimensional – Cam's roommate was so unmemorable that I can't recall his name! Similarly the bitchy hook-up girl (Serena?). Cam was also for the most part a little too good to be true.
Other characters, like Avery's parents, seemed more like cartoon villains than realistic portrayals of humans – I mean seriously we need to understand why Avery's parents did what they did. I understand not wanting the photo of their 14 year old daughter, drunk, wearing a 'slutty' Halloween costume and sitting on a boy's lap – that would be a defendant's dream! But seriously, once Blaine started spreading nasty rumours around about Avery, and after her suicide attempt, what parent wouldn't have confronted Blaine's parents. Also (sorry it's the investigator in me) didn't they obtain legal advice on the non-disclosure agreement before signing? Didn't they think it was a good idea to gag both parties? It's not as if they didn't have enough money to hire a lawyer, they weren't poor country bumpkins being railroaded by a rich and powerful family. Finally, I am hazy about to what extent anyone can be bound by a legal agreement that they sign as a 14 year old minor. isn't that why we have things like legal age of consent? Because we believe that 14 year old children aren't capable of making rational decisions?
Similarly, I found Molly's behaviour unrealistic. If I were in her position I would feel the same, undoubtedly, but I believe I could also empathise with what Avery did (without knowing why she did it) and I certainly don't believe that any girl in that situation would do what Molly did send offensive texts and emails to Avery just because she retracted her rape charge.
Despite all of the above, I actually rather enjoyed the book – it was well-written (although there were a few typos) and the relationship appeared to develop slowly and naturally over a long period of time. The inevitable failure to communicate so beloved of NA/YA writers was totally understandable in the light of the issue Avery was trying to hide.
I may well give one of her other books a try.