A powerful YA debut, told with astonishing insight and wit, about the depths and boundaries of true friendship and obsessive teenage love—perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, E. Lockhart, and Sara Zarr.
When Betts meets Aiden at the candy store where she works, their connection is like a sugar rush to the heart. Betts already knows the two of them are infinite. Inevitable. Destined to become an us.
Betts has only ever kept one secret from her best friend, Jo, but suddenly there’s a long list of things she won’t tell her, things Jo wouldn’t understand. Because Jo doesn’t see how good Aiden is for Betts. She finds him needy. Possessive. Controlling.
She’s wrong. With a love like this, nothing else matters.
In western New York, high school senior Betts is tired of her parents' micromanaging and of always playing it safe. At the candy store where Betts works, she meets Aiden, a boy with a difficult past and endearing qualities (a motorcycle named after Ralph S. Mouse, for example), and an earth-shaking attraction strikes: "I felt like whatever he wanted me to be, I'd be it." When Aiden's affection turns toxic, Betts gives him the benefit of the doubt, trying to demonstrate selfless love as his behavior becomes jealous and controlling, reveals an undercurrent of simmering anger, and turns physically abusive. Betts's best friend, Jo, and her twin, Eric, show kindness and concern, playing an effective foil to obsessive love even as an explosive public incident shows everyone, including Betts, the truth. This emotionally resonant YA debut by Rissi (The Teacher's Pet) meaningfully highlights known patterns of intimate-partner abuse and speaks to the joy and importance of enduring friendship. Further elevating the story are romance rendered alongside a Bechdel-Wallace Test reference, female sexuality written without shame, and a group of funny, authentically written teens. Ages 13 up.
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A Powerful and Thought Provoking Read
It isn't always easy to love a book that talks about a dark subject, but Rissi captivated me with her story and characters, particularly her ability to illustrate the slippery slope of abuse. We often hear people talk about how they would never allow IT to happen to them, but in ALWAYS FOREVER MAYBE we see how hazy and grey the dance between healthy and unhealthy love can be. A powerful and thought provoking read. I can't wait to see what Rissi brings to the table next.