Stella Gordon is living under an assumed name in an inconspicuous small town and she’s not happy. She witnessed a crime and was put in Thunder Basin for her protection until she can testify against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer. She’s missing out on her senior year with her friends, torn away from her boyfriend, and if she’s forced to leave it all behind, no one said she had to be happy or make things easy on the people protecting her. Then she meets Chet and actually starts making some friends. She hates lying to everyone but she can’t tell them the truth.
This was a book that I was nervous going into because, from the description, Stella sounded like a character who would get on my nerves enough to possibly hinder my enjoyment of the book. She was hard to like at the beginning but I’m glad that I pushed through because she became a character I did end up liking and she introduced me to a lot of other great characters.
Stella started off as pretty self-centered and unappreciative of the people who were putting their lives in danger for her. Yes, her testimony was helping them and they were trained for it but that didn’t mean she had to go out of her way to make things difficult for them. She home life with her drug-addicted mother left her cynical and I could understand her unwillingness to believe rehab would work this time when it never had before. The more she began to open up and try to accept her new life, making connections with the people who were trying to make her feel welcome, the more I liked her. When she turned all that attitude toward something good, like standing up to douchebags, it was great.
Carmina, the former cop Stella was placed with for protection, was my favourite character. She was strong and didn’t just roll over and give in to Stella’s bad attitude. She could have let her hide away in her bedroom the whole time but instead she forced Stella to get a job and interact with people. She was stern and they definitely rubbed each other the wrong way at first but it was nice to see their relationship develop into something so caring and sweet.
The plot was a bit slow at first. It didn’t start to pick up until Stella started to accept her new life and the last quarter of the book was very action packed and tension filled. There was a lot of mysteries surrounding the plot: Would the bad guys find Stella? What was the past relationship of Carmina and Chet and why were things so weird between them now? Did Trigger actually know Stella from her previous life? So many questions. Some were twists but some were predictable. There were times when I got an old-time Hollywood murder mystery movie vibe from the book and that was something I really enjoyed.
Overall, I’m glad I stuck with it no matter how much Stella annoyed me at first because I did end up enjoying it.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.