Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.
Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.
Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…
“She’s the only girl who’s ever broken my heart, and it’s a very weird, uncomfortable feeling for me. I like to be the one doing the heartbreaking. Well, not really. No one ever likes to break someone’s heart, but sometimes it has to be done.” ~ Jace
“I am freaked out, Jace. I’m freaked out because for some reason, I can’t stop thinking about you. I can’t stop thinking about how it feels to kiss you, about how happy I was when we were going to be together, about how even though I feel like I should hate you, my heart knows that I don’t.” ~ Peyton
Meet Peyton and Jace. Peyton lives in Connecticut. Jace lives in Florida. Peyton and Jace met each other in Florida over Christmas and fell hard and fast. It all fell apart when Jace learned Peyton lied to him about the fact her parents were going through a divorce. In May, they found out they would be attending the same wedding. In June, they came face-to-face with each other again.
We learn more about Peyton and Jace and their history through a series of alternating perspectives that, for the biggest portion of the book, also alternate between May and June. Jennifer Echols does this frequently in her books. While it sounds complicated and it can, at times, be hard to follow (if you, like me, tend to NOT read the chapter titles), I’ve grown to appreciate this style of storytelling. I like the “not knowing” the entire backstory. I love getting bits and pieces along the way. It definitely keeps my attention and makes me want to continue reading.
Both Peyton and Jace were flawed characters. Peyton was high-maintenance, though I don’t think it was entirely her fault. She was a product of her environment. Her mom was a real piece of work. A steal-your-daugther’s-identity-and-open-countless-credit-cards-in-her-name piece of work. She was pretty immature. She did grow throughout the book. Jace wasn’t your typical swoon-worthy book boyfriend. He was hot, of course, and intelligent and mostly sweet. He was also a bit of a jerk. I’m sorry, nice guys don’t abandon girls in a strange town. That really, really bothered me. Sure they had a fight and she told him to leave, but I’m relatively sure she didn’t think he’d leave her in a hotel room and take her only mode of transportation. Not cool.
I liked this book quite a bit. It was a little overly-dramatic to me though. I tend to forget, as it’s been quite a few years since I was a teenager, that everything that happens at that age does feel so huge and so damn dramatic. Of course, there was tons of miscommunication – or lack of communication, more specifically – and a fair amount of assumptions and jumping to conclusions, which even adults are guilty of. But, all in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable story. I liked the characters. I cared to see what happened with them in the past and what would happen next. I also liked the reappearance of Courtney and Jordan from Two-Way Street. I especially loved Jordan’s advice to Jace:
“If there’s one thing I’ve realized, it’s that you have to be honest. Even if you’re scared, even if you’re worried that you’re going to get your heart stomped on, even if you think that the truth is going to ruin everything, you have to put it out there. Because otherwise, you’re fucked.” ~ Jordan