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BookSparks/SparkPress. Aug. 2021. 380p. pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781684630875.
Gr 10 Up–Originally a therapeutic breakup exercise when the author was 17 and based on her life, this is a romance about teens who make bad decisions and grapple with the burdens of a tragic death and insufferable family responsibility. Kendra, a 17-year-old surfer and rule-follower, hasn’t told those closest to her about the death of her brother from a drug overdose 10 years ago. Brock, a drug dealer and rule-breaker, secretly nurtures a love of music as he lives the fast lifestyle the family drug trafficking business has built up for him. The two meet by happenstance and almost immediately there’s a spark. While the swearing, drug use, and on-page sex will draw some readers in, Brock’s casual sexism and objectification of women may turn some readers off. He’s a flawed character, and Kendra starts making unsafe decisions as well; they ignore their problems and careen toward predictable calamity. The dual narrative is too long, but, ultimately, readers will find redemption in the lesson of just breathing in guided meditation and going with the flow to cope with the stressors of life.
VERDICT : Purchase where books about dangerous romance or teens making sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll mistakes like Ellen Hopkins’s Crank are popular.

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