Honestly, if you put a pile of books in front of me, this one included, I probably wouldn't pick it up. Even if it were displayed among dreaded medical textbooks or math books. I'm really just not that into contemporary. But I was offered an eARC of this book and I thought, why not? I liked the author's previous book well enough.
Aspen is suffering from PTSD after her involvement in an accident that took away the life of one of her classmates. She just wants to get through her senior year, figure out why Katelyn's ghost is stalking her and try to keep her mother in line. It doesn't help that Ben, Katelyn's boyfriend, sits next to her in class and looks at her with eyes that seem to know just exactly what she's going through.
Aspen feels genuine. A normal girl trying to find her way, trying to move on from the accident that changed her life in an instant. She's struggling to deal with the people in school, her family and Katelyn's ghost. The ghost isn't particularly malicious but that doesn't mean it's not creepy. Aspen is also lucky in that she's got a mother who, despite being irresponsible, truly loves her and friends who care about her. She's stubborn and all she wants to do is forget.
Then there's Ben. He's sweet and nice and charming and good for Aspen. He's making her remember things from the night that she'd rather forget. And he's making her feel things she's not sure she should. But hey, he needs her and she needs him and they're perfect for each other.
The pacing for this book was just right, showing readers Aspen's snarky side and her humor. Her interactions with all the different characters and the final moment where Katelyn's side of the story is revealed and Aspen learns to let it go. (Cue the Frozen song, just because)
This book is heartfelt. A story of letting go, acceptance and the fact that life goes on whether you want it to or not. I may not have bothered to pick this up if it were dangled in front of me but I'm glad I did. Maybe next time I'll try not to judge a book by it's cover.