Hardcover, 208 pages
Expected publication: May 27th 2014 by Wendy Lamb Books
ISBN 0385742576 (ISBN13: 9780385742573)
other editions (5)
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Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.
When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.
A story told from Nell’s POV written as basically an ongoing internal dialogue to her older sister Layla interspersed with real dialogue with teachers, friends, her parents and at times with Layla.
As an only child it is not hard for me to imagine the feelings that Nell had for her sister, I would have given anything when young to have one of my own to worship and be friends with.
Layla is the older Golden child, having been conceived thanks to the intervention of medical science when nature needed a helping hand she was long awaited and much loved as soon as she came into the world. Nell was conceived 8 months later, a “surprise” child who being little under 2 years younger than her sister bonded closely and became her shadow.
Having daughters so close in age their parents decided they needed time to grow into their own identities so allowed Layla to start school but when it was time for Nell to follow they held her back for a year.
This never became a real issue until Nell became a Freshmen to her sister Layla’s Junior in High School and she felt like they had grown apart to the point the girls were almost strangers to one another.
This is a story about growing up with parents who have divorced and would rather live their own lives than provide proper guidance to their children, not that they did not show love or affection to Layla and Nell but they were too busy making up for splitting up the family to really pay attention to making sure the girls made the right decisions as they grew older.
Layla especially was given way too much latitude, it seemed at times simply because she was 17 she was treated as a responsible adult who was left in charge of Nell who actually was more mature about following the rules their parents had set for them both.
These two sisters story is interspersed with bits and pieces of what normal teens go through during their high school years along with memories of how things were when they were younger and closer to each other, it makes for a solid look at just how much each one changes as the story progresses.
Like others who have read the book one of my favorite characters was Nell’s friend Felix, he was a breath of fresh air when the intensity became too much and she needed a bit of comic relief to lighten up with. The fact that he and Nell were so close helped her over and over as she struggled to come to grips with how to handle what was going on with her older sister.
Neither loved or hated, more like feeling a bit letdown as no real resolution to story at the end.
[EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]