Anton Robinson is a black high school senior six weeks shy of graduation. Six weeks shy of freedom. And six weeks shy of never seeing the girl of his dreams again. He’s resigned himself to this, albeit reluctantly and with a heavy heart, because he knows he has no legitimate reason to initiate a friendship with her. His love interest, Emma Chapman, moves in different circles, is clearly from a world of economic advantage, and just happens to be white. He cannot imagine she would ever be interested in a black boy from the ghetto. But his luck changes when he is paired with her for an end-of-term English assignment, and he hopes to flirt his way into her heart.
Emma never noticed Anton before the start of their project but quickly develops an attraction to him that is undeniable. Spending nearly every day together, they discover surprising similarities and sharp differences between each other that excite them and draw them closer until they embark on a secret romance. They are too afraid of how their friends and family will react, but they recognize the impracticality of keeping their love secret. When they finally go public with their relationship, the consequences are shocking, swift, and life-changing.
(This is a Mature YA novel that contains explicit language and some sexual situations.)
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Raw, real heartbreak
I was warned. So, only fair to pass the warning along. This novel does not end with a HEA. It ends up breaking your heart for Emma and Anton. Their start is rocky. Two very different people purposely thrown together for a final senior project. In the process of writing a group paper, each character has to learn about each other culturally. What wasn't in the project outline was for them to fall in love.
"You're a senior. Know what I mean? It's time to grow up and deal with it. And when I say 'it' I mean, well, everything."
Emma and Anton go through everything. I mean everything. A rich white girl befriending a poor black boy is already tough enough. They have partial support of family and friends. And then there are others who feel that their relationship should never be. I loved both Emma and Anton. They tried so hard to strong. To want what they wanted no matter the odds were against them. They both fumble, yet learn how to be with the other. But it's not enough. The writing is done in third person POV that is often hard to get right in flow. I felt that Ms. Walden nailed the pace and dialogue of the characters. You really could feel and know where they were coming from. I gave the novel a .5 star deduction as I have to agree with a few other reviewers. The concluding chapters left me with a lot of questions unanswered and felt a bit rushed. However, the epilogue does attempt to give you closure - not the closure you want - but some closure.
This was a first time novel read from this author. I was very impressed with the storyline and writing. I really look forward to reading more from her. If you are looking for something different. Maybe a bit raw and real, this story is for you. You've been warned- be prepared for tissues.
4.5 out of 5 stars