Guillermo Lozano is getting a fresh start. New town, new school, and no more reckless behavior. He’s done his time, and now he needs to right his wrongs. But when his work at the local community center throws him into the path of the one girl who is off-limits, friendship sparks…and maybe more.
Regan London needs a fresh perspective. The pressure to stay in her “perfect” relationship and be the good girl all the time has worn her down. But when the walls start to cave in and she finds unexpected understanding from the boy her parents warned about, she can’t ignore her feelings anymore.
The disapproval is instant. Being together might just get Guillermo sent away. But when it comes to the heart, sometimes you have to break the rules and be a little bit reckless…
I can already tell you that this book will most likely be in my top favorites of 2022 – I completely enjoyed this book. It was sweet, character-driven, and a book that I didn’t want to rush through. I wanted to savor it as I read and really soak in these characters.
Guillermo is on probation (aka: his last chance) and is determined not to mess it up. His parents won’t even look him in the eye, as they’ve had to move for a fresh start for him now that he’s out of juvie, and his father especially will disown him if he screws it up. His plan is to go to school, do his community service, and whatever else he can to prove he’s changing. That means no girls.
What I liked about Guillermo is his sincerity about wanting to be better, and it wasn’t easy. He comes into a couple of situations where he has to fight down his anger, so it’s not like he just, *poof*, is better and able to control himself. Knowing what’s at stake if he messes up again is a big motivator for him to keep his cool. In his change, he befriends two students at school – Avery and Jenaya – both of whom are loners for different reasons, and his friendship with these two was so precious. Later he adds the outgoing Raviv to his friend circle and becomes somewhat of a mentor to Raviv. Overall, Guillermo’s change throughout the story is what I enjoyed, and if I rated the book just on him, it would be 10 out of 5 stars.
Regan I liked as well because she went through changes too. Despite being forbidden by her mother to have even so much as a friendship with Guillermo, she does anyway. Not on purpose, though. She and Guillermo find themselves thrown into situations where they need to work together and they can’t help but like each other. The problem is that Regan has a boyfriend, even if she does want to end things with him. Regan’s character arc focuses on her learning what it is she wants for herself and learning to speak up about it – to her parents, her teachers, and her boyfriend.
I found that I related to Regan because she was a people pleaser, which is how I have been a lot in my life. I’ve learned to speak up for myself in situations, and honestly, I’m still learning it in some areas. I felt Regan’s struggle though to want to make her parents proud but also felt like there was some pressure because she didn’t really enjoy what she was doing.
As cute as Guillermo and Regan were when they were together, I found that I enjoyed other aspects of the book more and didn’t care if they ended up together or not. It was the friendships that Guillermo formed, the way he truly realized how badly he screwed up and was sincerely sorry for it, and Regan’s character growth that made me love this book. However, I had to dock half a star because of a certain member of Regan’s family that doesn’t return and that really hurt me (if you read it, you know who I’m talking about).
It goes without saying that I’d recommend this book to any and all YA lovers, especially if you love character-driven stories.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars