BLURB from Goodreads
Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He's her soul mate. He's more uptight every day, but it's not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she's adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he'll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long.
Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He's the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she's playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.
Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both.
The girl on the front cover of the book represents Ronnie at the end of the book to me.
she looks to have a contentment and as though her worries have been somewhat lifted from her.
The book tells of Ronnie's passion and innocent love for Shawn a guy she met when they were very young. Together they pledged to stay together even when Shawn had to move away for a year, they wrote faithfully to each other. Sure there's been an odd glitch but that's all forgiven when Shawn moves back near Ronnie. Ronnie truly believes she is meant to be with Shawn forever and if ever they split up there is no one else out there for her. Ronnie has friends Mindy and Luke who try and warn her about being so intense but she swears everything is perfect in her life with Shawn.....except its not Shawn's changed...and not for the better. Ronnie can't bring herself to admit it to anyone, her family, or close friends.
Ronnie auditions for the play Romeo and Juliet, and one thing leads to another and she ends up being Juliet opposite best friend who happens to be a boy Luke. The problems with Shawn get even worse though Ronnie continues to make excuses for him, covering up the bruises he leaves on her wrists. Ronnie also start enjoying playing Juliet, but is the tingly feeling she is having as Juliet for romeo or Luke who plays him?
This book deals with a very sensitive issue of domestic violence, Shawn's mum and dad have a marriage problem caused by it. then Shawn seems to see the behaviour he is displaying as okay and that Ronnie is always wrong, he plays on her good softer nature....but everyone has limits...
I think the subject is dealt with brilliantly as you don't often think of domestic violence issue in connection with teens, you think of it as a "between adults" issue. The book did make me wonder how/if Jolene Perry researched the subject of domestic violence for this book as she presents it so well, without overstepping a being realistic line. I have to admit as a domestic abuse survivor that if I had seen the signs of the violence earlier (and looking back especially after reading this book they were there for me to see) then I wouldn't have ended up in a marriage with domestic violence being an issue. (then again fate has these things planned for us , and if I had not married I wouldn't have my beautiful daughter).
I truthfully cannot praise the book enough for how the whole situation is handled. I love the character of Luke who seems to be quite literally being caught between a rock and a hard place. In that he has to remain friends with Shawn to try and protect Ronnie until her eyes truly open to what Shawn is doing to her. He demoralizes her, tells her what to wear, what to do etc all things an abuser does to remain in control of their victim.
I also like the laid back attitude of Ronnie's parents, they help her get over her hurt without being smug in anyway. They kind of hang back yet say they are there if she wants to speak. I'd like to think I could/would be like that with my own daughter.
So did I enjoy this book? YES! Would I read a BK 2 or more by Karen Ann Hopkins? Yes.
Would I recommend? Yes, especially as a conversation starter between teens and parents.
I won't give away spoilers, though I have to say I love the ending too.
Available at Amazon.co.uk