I met Melissa in the rubber room, a.k.a. in-school suspension. And that’s not her real name.
She had secrets, I had enemies.
“People are either useful or dangerous,” she said. “One or the other.”
“Which one am I?” I said.
Meili was right. (That’s her real name.)
You can solve a lot of problems if you don’t mind getting hurt.
Jason Wilder is in permanent in-school suspension for fighting. Meili Wen gets there by breaking a girl’s finger. Jason and Meili don’t just connect; they collide. Two people who would never cross paths—outsiders from radically different backgrounds—they form an exhiliarating, unpredictable bond. When circumstances push, they push back. There’s no plan. And there’s no stopping.
"I am so crap. How can you stand being with me? Don’t answer that or I will crash this thing with both of us on it, swear to god, are you ready?”
Yes. No. Didn’t matter.
I reached both arms around Meili’s waist as we zoomed down the hill.
In this dark romance set in the rural American community of Unionville, high school senior Jason Wilder recounts his version of what happened with a brash student from Hong Kong at his school. Jason first meets Meili Wen (known to others as Melissa) in the "Rubber Room," an old science lab where in-school suspension is held. He's being punished for starting a fire; she's there for breaking a girl's finger. Despite or perhaps because of Meili's sharp tongue and unexpected requests for favors, Jason finds himself attracted to her and soon learns that they have more in common than being reputed juvenile delinquents. Both have family secrets that could prove disastrous if uncovered by the wrong people. Following his heart rather than common sense, Jason is determined to protect Meili, even if it means putting himself in danger, and when he takes risks he'd normally avoid, he pays a high price. Instead of delivering a clear-cut moral and tidy resolution, debut author Simonet leaves readers to decide whether Jason's actions are justified and whether he is a criminal, a hero, or a victim. Ages 12 up.