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Stacey Woods is not the popular girl. She has big dreams but doesn’t even have enough confidence to share them with anyone but her best friend Patrice. Her younger sister just had a baby and her mom is always on her side. Her dad just started dating and its getting serious. When Stacey has a really rough day and runs from her house, she tries her best friend first who is running around with another girl. A chance run in with a posh boy who actually seems interested in her turns into a nightmare…
I loved Stacey. This isn’t your typical hot girl with too much humility. No this is your regular, dime a dozen girl who has the same needs and desires as all other 17 year old girls. She wants to find a career she’s passionate about and meet a guy who treats her like a princess. She’s not very experienced beyond what peer pressure and availability has caused her to experiment in. And because she felt dissatisfied with that experience she was able to be terribly manipulated. I think many girls find themselves in this situation, perhaps not as naively as Stacey, but they tell themselves this is part of college life. I didn’t really want to sleep with that drunk creep but it was expected of me. Then when a true predator comes around they are one step closer to being taken advantage of. I liked that she had crazy huge dreams but was trying to look at them with realistic eyes. She looked into the school, the courses, and what she needed to do. She practiced some skills that would be useful in her chosen trade.
I also loved Stacey’s realistic life situation.* Most people don’t have an idealistic family. They aren’t always the ones with tons of friends. Their parents are divorced and their dads remarry. She felt insecure. She felt taken advantage of. She didn’t like being lied to. She was also dreamy and bold. She was sensible at times. She was rash. I just so related to Stacey. Sure not everyone feels the extent of her insecurities but we all understand those feelings. We all get into pressure filled situations that are bursting with emotions and we just want to lash out and react. We want anything to take us from these feelings…
“Harry just talked to me. He seemed interested in me, keen to see my sketches. He told me something very personal. I thought I was in love with this girl . . . I had to see her . . . No boy, not even Benji, had said anything that personal to me before.”
I also love British and London based stories so I loved the setting. Brits don’t go to school in the same way Americans do so it was neat reading about A levels and what you do for uni. I loved the subtle British lilt to her words like using posh and mad. It wasn’t overboard but made me feel like I walked with Stacey.
Harry was the perfect predator. I thought it would be very easy to be taken in by the situation and by the fact that he relates to your tough home life. I understand that this rape was a particular situation that not all girls will have to deal with, that’s why I really appreciated how it was used to show what the predator will say and do to try to convince you that what happened was either not as you imagined it was or worse, your fault. I really appreciated how Stacey handled the situation after… I thought she was smart and was trying to not be as rash as she was when she was having a bad day and feeling all sorry for herself. It made me feel like this was her first situation as an adult and that come what may in the future I could imagine she gets past this and goes on to work in the design field like she dreams.
“Why not? It’s raw now. I think about it a lot, but over time I will forget. This time next year it will just be a distant memory.”
I also really appreciated Patrice. She did genuinely like Stacey even though they were so different. She didn’t try to push Stacey but she did keep persisting in suggesting what she thought would help Stacey. As a future barrister this is exactly the tact she would have taken. She has no case to prosecute at this point so pressure isn’t needed, she would promote the steps she would tell any other victim in the future. I think though that Patrice also balanced this nicely with just plain being Stacey’s friend. She tried to do the things they did in the past, the things they both liked doing together.
BOTTOM LINE: Every girl needs to read this one!
*There are sex and rape scenes. It’s not gratuitous and is definitely necessary to the story so you understand why Stacey felt it was her fault.
Thanks to NetGalley and Hot Key Books for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.