Declan loves death metal—particularly from Finland. And video games—violent ones. And internet porn—any kind, really. He goes to school with Neilly Foster and spends most of his classroom time wondering what it might be like to know her, to talk to her, maybe even to graze against her sweater in the hallway.
Neilly is an accomplished gymnast, naturally beautiful, and a constant presence at all the best parties (to which Declan is never invited). She's the queen of cool, the princess of poker face, and her rule is uncontested—or it was until today, when she's dumped by her boyfriend, betrayed by her former BFF Lulu, and then informed she's getting a new brother—of the freaky fellow classmate variety.
Declan's dad is marrying Neilly's mom. Soon. Which means they'll be moving in together.
Cook (Overnight Sensation) and Halpin (Shutout) coauthor an amusing if slightly overstuffed story about two families that collide amid marriages and misunderstandings. Classmates Declan and Neilly are from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Declan is an angry yet sensitive loner, obsessed with death metal, video games, and sex (especially as it pertains to Neilly), who still blames himself for his mother's death in a car accident. Neilly is popular, but has just been dumped by her jock boyfriend and learned that her mother is pregnant and engaged to Declan's father. Throw in Neilly's father's impending commitment ceremony with another man and Declan's escalating feelings for his stepsister-to-be, and the authors offer ample opportunities for drama. Both Declan and Neilly provide sarcastic and often funny perspectives on their rapidly changing lives, and while Declan's persona can feel somewhat forced ("Oh, for the love of SuicideGirls. Neilly Foster just said 'three way,' "), the teens become allies and develop in ways they didn't expect. The swift plot and sympathetic characters result in a moving story about embracing change. Ages 14 up.