Amanda Kelly and Carter Shaw, who have been The Couple in their high school for the past 3-1/2 years, are now approaching graduation and the beginning of their college careers. Their future lives together are planned, as far as the Kellys, the Shaws and the social elite of Logansville are concerned. Carter’s family owns Shaw Realty, a dominating force in the area real estate market. Amanda’s family is trying to maintain its social position in the community as her father begins a new (and less prestigious) position with an investment firm. They are deeply in debt, juggling bills and credit cards to sustain an illusion of wealth. Amanda’s expected eventual marriage to Carter certifies their status in their social group but puts pressure on Amanda to maintain the relationship even while Carter plays around on her with other girls.
Amanda starts receiving texts from an anonymous number (“Private”) telling her that Carter isn’t good enough for her and that she needs to dump him. As the texts continue and as Amanda refuses to do what Private tells her to do, the messages get more threatening and involve Carter’s secret girlfriend Rosalie (who is gay with secrets of her own). As the deadline for Amanda to break off her relationship with Carter approaches with his eighteenth birthday, she and Rosalie work together to solve the mystery before their lives are turned upside down by revelations that may destroy their families and their futures.
This story has an interesting plot but the resolution is totally implausible. That being said, themes that will appeal to YA readers involve the permanence of high school relationships, the problems of religious acceptance of LGBTQIA persons, the demands of maintaining social status in a school or community, bullying, alcoholism, parental neglect, white-collar crime, and even financing college expenses for students. Language is the usual YA repetition of fuck, damn, ass, hell, etc., with occasional religious profanity thrown in for good measure. There are only two scenes (not graphic) of sexual activity. There are instances of violence involving a hit-and-run, kidnapping, and assaults with a gun.
Categories: Art, Bullying, Crime, Dysfunctional Relationships, LGBTQIA, Mental Health, Navigating through High School, Offensive Language in YA Literature, Parent Conflict, Peer Relationships, Social Media, Violence