Skylar Evans is getting out of her crappy small town if it kills her. She’s escaped the typical life of teen mother working at the fast food joint, in part thanks to the pact with one of her best friends – that neither of them can be distracted by romance. Now she has a full scholarship to art school waiting for her, she just has to make it through one more summer. But then her mother loses her job and shacks up with a shady dude and Skylar sees her dreams slipping away.
Josh got out of town too. He joined the marines out of high school but now he’s back living at home and he’s minus one leg. He’s not quite the loud mouth, confident boy he used to be, and Skylar is drawn to him, even in the midst of her own woes. They work together at the Paradise motel, their friendship slowly growing into something more, though neither of them is quite in the right state of mind for a relationship. Will Skylar let Josh and her mother keep her from her dreams?
This is a very sweet, compelling story. Mostly told from Skylar’s perspective, it also gives us Josh’s view as he talks to one of his buddies he lost in Afghanistan. He’s having a hard time adjusting to life back home, after losing his leg, and coping with everything he has seen during his time in the war. He has some survivor’s guilt and depression, but his friendship with Skylar helps him work through some of that. It’s not your typical teen romance story, it goes pretty deep into what it’s like for a young man returning from war, and the author has clearly done her research. But it also has plenty of humour and light-heartedness. I also appreciated that the things that keep Skylar and Josh apart are not trivial. It’s more the circumstances, and the things they’re having to deal with in their young lives, that means they don’t throw themselves head first into romance and love. Even if they’d like to.
I’ll definitely be checking out more of Demetrios’ work after this.