FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Albert Whitman Teen (via NetGalley).
Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen on March 1, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (YA)
All they have in common is that they're less than perfect. And all they're looking for is the perfect distraction.
Kate's dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she's still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he's a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life. When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all?
On the surface, Kate’s just an ordinary high school girl, broken-hearted after being dumped by her boyfriend, annoyed with her overprotective parents, and wishing she could get the keys to the car again. But she’s also struggling with diabetes, a recent diagnosis that has her taking shots, monitoring every bite she eats, and wishing she could just be normal again. And then she meets Aidan.
He’s not your typical nineteen-year-old, that’s for sure. He’s her best friend’s cousin, recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan – minus his right arm. But she’s not walking on eggshells around him, and he’s not treating her like she might break at any moment, and that small bit of normalcy is just what each one needs from the other.
As serious as their situations are, Kate and Aidan handle things with the type of avoidance typical of teenagers facing life’s grim challenges. Tired of being treated differently, Kate finds distraction in Aidan, and she takes his mind off everything he’s been through. While on the one hand it’s annoying as hell, it’s also terribly realistic and exactly what I would expect from kids their age. Whether or not Perry was going for that sort of realism, I can’t say, but it’s one of the things I loved most about the story.
The editing left much to be desired, but since I’m reading this book months before publication, I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that the editor just isn’t finished with that part yet.
Their relationship is a slow build, filled with the simplicity, awkwardness, and immaturity that only two somewhat troubled teenagers can pull off, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed their story. Having lived for several years with a type one diabetic, I’ve seen the frustration, the scary moments, the way that condition changes so many everyday things. So Kate’s reaction, the way she all but denied what she was dealing with, struck me as very true to life. And while I can’t relate at all to Aidan’s situation, I could easily see how devastating his experience could be, especially at an age where one hasn’t quite developed the maturity to handle even life’s smaller obstacles.
Something about the characters, the way they were dealing with things in that way that only those verging on adulthood can, really grabbed me. It was a simple tale of two teenagers dealing with more than they should have to, who could be themselves around each other and found something beautiful in that. I’ve already read it twice now, and I’m quite sure that won’t be the last time!