Guys aren’t supposed to fall for their curvy best friend.
They’re also not supposed to walk away.
Eighteen months ago Cameron left. Left Twin Rivers. Left his friends. Left her, Peyton Callahan.
And she moved on. The accident that took her brother’s life ripped her world apart. The one person who could understand wasn’t there, and Peyton hated him for it.
When he shows up back in town, all she wants to do is prove how well she recovered without him, how little she thinks about the past.
But her past… well, he still thinks about her.
This was a heart-wrenching and heartwarming story of how two best friends suffered a loss, including each other, and learned to get to know one another again and deal with their grief. And it’s not just about Peyton and Cameron either, but their friend group that was torn apart after the accident that killed Cooper.
For the most part, I liked Peyton as a character. Not only was she dealing with the loss of one of her brothers, but also her best friend (who she’s in love with). In her grief, she gained a lot of weight and though she wasn’t exactly skinny before the accident, she finds herself ridiculed even more at school – even by some of her ex-friends. To help get her mind off of her grief, Peyton entered a STEM contest to create a social media app, and she came up with No Body Shame, based on the ridicule she gets for being overweight, and it becomes a hit with her school.
“They don’t see the things that make me the person I am. All they see is the imperfection I wear for the world to see every day of my life.”
Now the reason I say I liked Peyton for the most part is because there’s one moment where she storms into Cameron’s house to tell off his mother, which I felt was uncalled for in a way. Peyton just starts shouting at this woman in her own home, and I just found it to be disrespectful. I know Cameron’s parents needed an eye-opening to how they treated their son, but that wasn’t the way it should’ve been done. If anything, Cameron should’ve been the one to have the outburst at his parents because at least that’s more normal.
Cameron was a sweetie, and you can feel his grief more than any other character. He was in the accident that killed Cooper, and nearly died himself. He did lose a part of himself though, and is no longer able to be the Olympic champion that everyone thought he’d be. Not that Cameron is overly upset about that. He is however, dealing with the emotional baggage of losing a limb, a friend, plus blaming himself for the accident. When he discovers the app, he uses it and it helps him come to terms with his disability.
As for other characters, I adored Julian and Nari. Julian was very closed off at first, but there comes a point where you see how much he loves his sister and how the accident and losing his twin affected him. Nari was the sweet, little nerd who as able to give her friends a kick in the butt when she needed to in order to get them to quit with their self-pity parties. Avery and Addison are jerks, but I see their potential to redeem themselves with their old friends, which will hopefully happen in one of the other books.
“She was usually the quietest among them, the self-proclaimed nerd of the group. But maybe she saved her words for just when they needed to hear them.” (quote about Nari)
What I liked the most about this book was how the characters all learn to become friends again. Not all of them reconnected, but by the end of the novel you can feel their friendships starting to mend. I wanted to hug them all through the book, especially Peyton, Cameron, and Julian. The support they all give each other to overcome their emotional and body issues is truly heartwarming and makes this book a must-read!
I’m excited to read the two other books in this series to see the focus on the other characters who were also affected by the accident.
Rating: 4/5 stars