Simon Pulse, 2013
"The road to happiness is paved with good deeds for others." That's what Rae's grandmother used to tell her, and Rae understands the truth of this. Her life though, is another road paved with pain, heartache, and secrets.
Rae lives with her mother who doesn't pay her much attention, and her step-father Dean, who is a controlling, angry person. Every day she comes home to this, and Rae only wishes she could live the happy teen life she sees in her friends. And then along comes Nathan....
The first time he saw Rae, he knew she was the one. Rae couldn't believe that this hot new guy at school would single her out, but he did, and their relationship begins to bloom. It doesn't matter that he sometimes is forgetful. It also doesn't matter if he gets first choice, regardless of what Rae thinks or says. He's her first boyfriend, and Rae loves the feeling of someone else loving her back. But then again, she also knows something isn't quite right about Nathan...
So, in a balance between light and dark, Rae continues to live her life. The bright side of her life is that her poetry is published anonymously and she loves her job at the florist shop. The dark side? Her having to give her paychecks to Dean, who lost his job, and how obsessive Nathan is becoming. She fears the dark.
Rae's life couldn't get any worse. But there is still hope in the world, which she sees through the anonymous person buying flowers for the hurt and hurting, the flourishing poetry in the school newspaper, her friends, and Leo...wonderful, caring Leo... But the dark is always lingering, ready to capture her and make her stay.
Lisa Schroeder is best known for her novels-in-verse, and this book truly showcases her talent as a novelist. Her poetry still has its own voice in this novel as well; her verse can be found scattered throughout the book. Schroeder also creates an interesting timeline, starting with the present and going back six months. The reader gets to be involved in Rae's life through her memories as she lays in a hospital bed hovering between that light and dark, which Schroeder offers to the readers through poems, relationships, and emotions. All of these elements combine to make a great connective story with Rae at the hub. Job well done!
book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00VFQKaaQUY