Rose is the wild girl nobody really knows. Chase is haunted by his past. Both are self-proclaimed "disappointments," attracted to each other enough to let down their defenses. When Rose's strict adoptive parents forbid the relationship it only makes things more intense. But Chase can't hide from his own personal demons, and Rose has secrets of her own. After they're wrenched apart, a cryptic email arrives in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, beginning a desperate pursuit and a look back over their tumultuous romance. Will they find each other before the night is over, or will they be torn apart forever?
Rose doesn't have many memories of her biological mother other than that last moment when a very young Rose witnessed the woman being arrested and hauled off for something. She always figured she would see her mother again soon, but after a short stint in the foster care system Rose is taken in the Parsimmons, or Mr and Mrs P. as Rose calls them. Now years later, Rose is a teen testing their patience on a daily basis. The Parsimmons are an older couple, very strict and conservative in their beliefs and parenting methods. So much so that with each infraction of the rules Rose has more and more freedoms taken away from her until she is basically under extreme house arrest, only being allowed to attend school and an after-school job without Mrs. P's supervision. Rose finds ways around the restrictions though and it's not long before she's befriended & soon dating troubled teen boy Chase.
Chase has his own family struggles, what with his mother trying to rebuild her life with him and his younger sister after leaving an abusive marriage. But now said abusive father is trying to work his way back into Chase's life. Chase also struggles with his mother's questionable taste in equally disappointing new boyfriends. It takes all the teen's strength and mental focus to protect his baby sister while also keeping his own temper in check.
When Chase and Rose get together, it's not always smooth sailing between them but they do find comfort in sharing similar miseries. This budding relationship is put to the test though when Mrs. P discovers what's going on between them and puts Rose on an even stricter lockdown, one that silences Rose for 8 months straight, until Rose is finally compelled to send a cryptic message to Chase and her best friends that mysteriously reads, "I'm writing to say goodbye... please don't hate me for doing this..." Not knowing what to think, Rose's friends frantically search all over town trying to find her, scared to discover what she has in mind / what she meant exactly by that message.
I hate to say it, but this was one of those books where the back cover blurb seemed to contain more mystery than the whole rest of the book. This is the second of Scheerger's books I've read and I'm not sure what it is exactly, but something about her writing style is just not quite hitting the mark with me. I get pulled in by the plot synopses because they sound like they'll be a bit thriller-ish, but the execution just falls flat. Both of the novels that I read were under 300 pages but it just felt like I had to really push myself to finish them.
What irked me about this one in particular was the pointlessly heavy-handed profanity right from page one. It's constant and it's just crammed in there in awkward places in the dialogue. A trend I see in YA books that I just do not understand. Sure, teens like to curse, as do a lot of adults, but it's got to feel natural! Don't just shove it in there to try to spice up an otherwise slow, uneventful plot!
Also, what was with the persistent referencing to Chase's bulky size? Just say he's got a stocky build once when introducing him and I got it. But nope, instead I have to be reminded every other chapter or so of him being "a teddy bear on steroids", "his polar bear bulk", "he's not fat huge, just so totally solid". Ugh.
Can't say I was Team Rose either. I could understand some of her anger and emotional distress over feeling some abandonment from her birth mom, and yeah, maybe Mrs. P did go a little extreme with the discipline at times, but I didn't see where the Parsimmons' behavior would warrant Rose's extreme hate of them. Like Mrs P pointed out: they spent money they didn't always have to get her nice clothes and the best medical care, they tried to stock up on certain foods they'd noticed she liked... heck, even Mr P. goes out and buys her a laptop even after they ground her. She takes it as them trying to buy her off but doesn't really go out of her way to explain her viewpoint, maybe tell them something along the lines of "hey, maybe we could go out and do something as a family." Nope, she prefers to take whatever they give her in the way of food, shelter, and niceties but continue to seethe at them from afar. Even her friends at times try to tell her, "maybe it's a little bit you!"
I liked the character of Chase individually -- him trying to be a good brother to his sister, give her a good male example and such -- but him with Rose didn't do anything for me and it bugged me that she was always calling him "idiot", "moron", etc and he never called her out on it, instead swooning over his "exotic Indian princess".
I grew to like Mr. P. I wish there could have been more character growth written in for him before the story ended. Near the end of the story there he seemed like he really wanted to make things right with Rose.
I gave Scheerger two attempts close together and they both fell kinda flat for me. Not sure I'll be in any big rush to check out any more of her stuff for awhile.