Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 2010. Review copy provided by publisher.
Ames has everything she's ever wanted; private school, huge mansion, perfect, loving family. Until the day her father betrays her. He loses everything that matters and takes the family far away from their safe, comfortable home in Boulder, Colorado.
Now this once privileged family lives in a slum in Texas. Ames hates all of them for what they've done to her. All she wants is Marc. Marc, who just wants to protect her. Who tells her she's beautiful, who is dark, violent, and dangerous.
This is the type of book that sucks a reader in from the first pages. Giles prose is tightly woven, no wasted words here. Ames is introduced to the reader as a sweet, innocent fifteen year old girl who loves her family with all her heart. She's kind and gentle, but prone to fits of self destruction, that even she isn't aware of. She views herself as just an innocent girl, completely ignoring the deeper darkness within herself. Readers will pick up on clues that Ames is not quite what she seems from the first chapters of the novel.
I was never certain what I felt for Ames's parents. They seems so wonderful, but it turns out to be all on the surface. Once they're put under strain, the cracks start to show and their perfect world shatters. The two people in her family who I loved were her grandmother and younger sister. These two characters serve as the voices of reason for Ames and, frequently, her parents. Her grandmother's voice is full of wisdom and life experience, while her sister's is the pure, innocent voice of a child.
This is a dark and twisty story that will pull readers in and leave them breathless. I found myself uncertain where Ames would end up and never knowing what she'd choose to do next. Even in the last pages of the book, I was still wondering what would happen. This is a book for those who want something to think about and will generate a lot of discussion among readers.