Atty is the daughter of a Haitian immigrant-turned-policeman and Native American woman who is a nurse or some kind of caregiver. They both work long hours, and she’s left to herself a lot. She is a smart girl and a science nerd who feels great pressure to make good for the family’s image. The mother is a religious fanatic.
She falls in love with Cole, who is, of course, also brilliant as well as sensitive and gorgeous to boot. His single mother is a heroin addict. He sometimes peddles drugs to support them, as she is a totally worthless parent. Atty’s father strongly disapproves of Atty and Cole’s relationship.
Cole severely beats up the pastor of Atty’s mother’s church because he sexually molested Atty (she did not tell her parents). He is arrested for battery but released on bail. A strong older woman friend of his is killed in a traffic accident in front of him. He and Atty run away, so he is listed as kidnapping her. They drive from their homes in Minneapolis to California, where they attend a famous electronic dance music festival and then commit suicide together on the beach. Only, she lives and he doesn’t.
This story is just too precious for words. It is told BACKWARDS, for no good reason I can discern, so that at the end you have to go back and read the first part to figure out what happened. Despite their troubles with their parents, I frankly didn’t get the picture that they were helpless and thus driven into suicide by hopelessness. Neither Atty nor Cole grew at all during the course of the book. The writer failed to develop any of the plot elements thoroughly enough to convey the enormity of what she was hinting at. There is some language, mostly of the shit variety, some violence, and some non-graphic sex. Also a minor homosexual relationship.