When Holly loses her virginity to Paul, a guy she barely knows, she assumes their encounter is a one-night stand. After all, Paul is too popular to even be speaking to Holly...and he happens to have a long-term girlfriend, Saskia. But ever since Holly's mom died six months ago, Holly has been numb to the world, and she's getting desperate to feel something, anything—so when Paul keeps pursuing her, Holly relents. Paul's kisses are a welcome diversion...and it's nice to feel like the kind of girl that a guy like Paul would choose.
But things aren't so simple with Saskia around. Paul's real girlfriend is willowy and perfect... and nothing like Holly. To make matters worse, she and Holly are becoming friends. Suddenly the consequences of Holly's choices are all too real, and Holly stands to lose more than she ever realized she had. (from goodreads)
- Her best friend Nils who hangs out in their childhood cubby house together, listening to records. They have a great chemistry together from years of familiarity but also mixed up with a kind of suddenly unsure relationship that is changing as they are getting older.
- Paul ~ who is not a stereo-typical popular guy, but enigmatic and complicated
- Saskia ~ Paul's girlfriend who becomes Holly's friend ~ in a new friendship that makes you ache and feel hopeful and also anxious
- Her dad, her teachers and even her mum (as shown in memories) are all characters in their own right ~ behaving with their own motivations and not just there to move the plot forward.
I also appreciated the subtle tenderness in which Lauren Strasnick handles many aspects of this story ~ never once making a drama out of themes that so often become melodramatic in YA (such as sex and relationship entanglements between best friends/boyfriends and the death of a parent).
It's honest, ache-y, hopeful and mesmerising.