Emily and Lucas both could have helped Belinda that night. They saw what was happening, they were in position to help, but they both froze. That’s something they’ll have to live with but Belinda also has to live with the cost of their inaction. As punishment, Emily and Lucas have to do community service at a center for the disabled, to learn to help people like Belinda and after a few sessions, they start to think maybe they are helping. When Belinda returns to school. Emily and Lucas have to try to make things right, even that’s even possible.
I enjoyed Cammie McGovern’s other book, Say What You Will, so I was excited to see what would come of this one. It sounded interesting, like a book that could make its reader think about how they treat people and what they think they would have done in the same situation. I was excited to read it.
Maybe my expectations were a little too high because I found I had a hard time really getting into the book. There were many times I found myself wondering why the focus seemed so narrow or why so many characters were making assumptions. Why, exactly, did people assume that being more educated about interacting with people who have disabilities would help Emily and Lucas react instead of freeze? How do we know that they wouldn’t have frozen no matter who it was that needed help? Why was the focus of the education solely on one subject instead of including them being educated in preventing assaults or the effects it has on victims?
The character growth of both Emily and Lucas was great and I liked seeing the classes they were helping with and the discussions that happened. The growth seemed a little lopsided in Emily and Lucas’ favour even though the book was told in the dual POV’s of both Emily and Belinda. Both POV’s provided a lot of great character interactions that I really enjoyed reading. Besides the main ones of Emily, Lucas, and Belinda, I also really enjoyed Emily and her best friend Richard and Belinda and Anthony.
I also really liked that the romance was kept in the background. It was always present but it never took focus off the main story. There was a lot of discussion about dating, romance, and boundaries and it managed to bring to light some important issues and bring up good points without the actual romances overshadowing them. Pride and Prejudice had a big influence on the plot. It was brought up a lot, to the extent that it got a little annoying. It was something that was really beloved by Belinda so it made sense that she would talk about it a lot but it felt like every few pages, there was another mention of it.
Overall, there were aspects I enjoyed and there were some I didn’t but I can appreciate the book’s intention.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.