My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is my second book by Becca Fitzpatrick so I had a rough idea what to expect as far as writing goes and was looking forward to reading this new story. Unfortunately, while I found it an enjoyable enough story and an easy read, it wasn’t anything particularly special.
17 year old girl, Stella, witnesses a crime and is forced to leave her home, family and her boyfriend to go into witness protection. She moves from a big city to a small town in Nebraska where she has to try to adjust to a new way of life. As her mother had money and a drug habit Stella is used to doing her own thing so it’s safe to say she rebels a bit at the start even though it’s for her own safety.
It’s not long though before she meets boy next door Chet and starts to realise life in Nebraska might not be too bad. However someone in town starts stirring up trouble and there is a chance the secrets from her past will catch up to her putting her life and the lives of those around her in danger.
Overall I had nothing against this book I just seem to be struggling to find reasons to love it.
The writing is pretty good and the story ticks along at a nice pace. I liked the idea of the whole witness protection thing and it definitely had the potential to be a real page turner. Added to that there is a bit of mystery around the events Stella claims to have witnessed which makes you wonder what really happened that night. There are a few twists and surprises in the story which do keep you guessing (and reading) but I felt like there could have been a little more tension. I was never really on the edge of my seat.
In terms of main character Stella, I’ve read a few reviews talking about how much they disliked her but I actually kind of admired her attitude. Yes, for a girl in hiding she does some remarkably stupid things which are guaranteed to get her noticed but I liked how she stood up for herself and others even when it led trouble her way. Like a lot of YA heroines she is a little bit boy crazy which kind of annoys me but it seems to be standard in these types of books. I also found it quite strange how quickly she developed feelings for someone other than her boyfriend (who she apparently couldn’t live without at the start).
Boy next door Chet is nice enough and I did enjoy the banter between the two of them but I felt it lacked that little bit of spark that would have made their attraction a bit more believable.
The remaining characters could also have done with a bit more depth as I felt they were a little stereotyped. There was the bullying high school jock with the massive ego, the underage pregnancy, younger teen going off the rails due to lack of parental role model etc. I’m not sure what else the author could have done but I think I’m getting a bit fed up of the same types of character in every YA book. Although I have to admit that I did like that there were a lot of strong women.
As far as the ending to the story, I have to say that I found it a little unsatisfying. It seemed like there was a lot of build up to not a lot of action. What action there was seemed to be over in a few pages with minimal fuss or emotion. It wasn’t bad it just wasn’t as good as I hoped and I would have liked a slightly different ending for Stella.
Overall therefore I would recommend it if you’re looking for an easy read with some action for a lazy afternoon but I don’t think it’s a stand out book.