Genre: YA Romance/Thriller
Sometimes the one you love isn’t the one you’re meant to be with.
The summer before senior year, Chloe starts an internship as a reporter at a local newspaper. While on assignment, she meets Kieran, a quirky aspiring actor. Chloe becomes smitten with Kieran’s charisma and his ability to soothe her soul, torn over her parents’ impending divorce. But as their bond deepens, Kieran becomes smothering and flies into terrifying rages. He confides in Chloe that he suffered a traumatic childhood, and Chloe is moved to help him. If only he could be healed, she thinks, their relationship would be perfect. But her efforts backfire, and Kieran turns violent. Chloe breaks up with him, but Kieran pursues her relentlessly to make up. Chloe must make the heartrending choice between saving herself or saving Kieran, until Kieran’s mission of remorse turns into a quest for revenge.
Chloe & Kieran: “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire. They sing this song together as they’re driving into New York, when their relationship is full of “golden dreams” and their “souls are singing.” It’s a song from the seventies, which Kieran listens to because it reminds him of his dad.
Chloe: “Firework” by Katy Perry. This is totally Chloe’s song. After her relationship, she feels ashamed, humiliated, as if she’ll never get over this setback. But she slowly learns she is a “firework” with “colors to burst” and she emerges stronger than ever, ready for college and her future.
Kieran: “Bittersweet Symphony” by the Clocks. As this haunting song goes, “I can’t stop my violence, no no no.” Kieran can’t control his impulses. And of course, he is bittersweet – sweet at first, then the bitter emerges.
Clarissa, Morgan and Jade: “With a Little Help from my Friends” by the Beatles. Friends and friendship are a key theme in the book. Romances are a key test of any friendship and friends often get pushed to the side when a new romantic interest crops up. Chloe discovers that she needs support from her friends to help recover from Kieran and they come through for her.
Bonnie (Mom): “19th Nervous Breakdown” by the Rolling Stones. What can I say? The title says it all. Mom’s a little strung out by her imploding marriage and has several breakdowns in the book.
Doug (Dad) – “Father & Daughter” by Paul Simon. Coming to terms with her dad leaving her mom and betraying the family by having an affair is an important step for Chloe. Chloe’s predicament wakes up her father to his own selfishness and he realizes he occupies a special role on his daughter’s life.
Christina Hoag is the author of Girl on the Brink, a romantic thriller for young adults (Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books, August 2016) and Skin of Tattoos, a literary thriller set in L.A.’s gang underworld (Martin Brown Publishing, September 2016). She is a former reporter for the Associated Press and Miami Herald and worked as a correspondent in Latin America writing for major media outlets including Time, Business Week, Financial Times, the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times. She is the co-author of Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence, a groundbreaking book on gang intervention (Turner Publishing, 2014). She resides in Los Angeles. For more information, see .
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